No Place for Entitled Worship Leaders

Humility should be a prerequisite of authentic worship. True worship isn’t supposed to lift us up; it is supposed to bring us facedown.

In Revelation 4, the Apostle John saw a vision of heaven in which the twenty-four elders were seated on their own personal thrones arrayed in heavenly attire.

Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads.

Revelation 4:4

Who are these 24 elders? While there are plenty of theories concerning their identity, I believe they are meant to show the unity between Old Testament and New Testament believers. Quite possibly, these thrones are reserved for representing the twelve sons of Israel (Rev 21:12) and the twelve apostles of the Lamb (Rev 21:14).  

Whoever these people are, they possess an unthinkable privilege of having a significant throne and a shiny crown in none other than the heavenlies (Rev 4:4). If you have the opportunity to sit upon a throne in heaven of all places, it’s fair to say that someone has esteemed you rather highly. It would also be difficult for me to imagine that you could have that status and not be tempted to wrestle with pride. Out of all the nations and throughout all of history, these twenty-four elders are favored enough to sit on a throne in the middle of the heavenly congregation.

When you get your own throne in the grand throne room of heaven, you have officially arrived.

In fact, it does appear that these people are of great significance until someone of greater significance arrives. These elders of high positions lose their esteemed status in the presence of God. 

And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”

Revelation 4:9-11

Only One Worthy

In worship leadership, there is a sense of dignity associated with the role. Right or wrong, people can put those on an elevated stage upon imaginary thrones. They expect more out of the worship leaders, but if we are not careful, we will let our God-given mantle of leadership turn us into prideful people.

We may feel like we are somebody, but that premonition should flee the moment when Jesus walks into the room. At that moment, we shouldn’t feel compelled for anything other than falling facedown. In those moments, let us remember that the only one worthy is Jesus!  

Even though we have the privilege to lead others in worship, we bear it with responsibility and therefore lead with perspective. We lead with humility. We are in the presence of the King of all kings (Rev 1:5; 17:14; 19:16). We shouldn’t envision that he is honored we came into his presence.  We should be honored that we could even be allowed into his presence.

True worship should humble you rather than esteem you.  

It is an easy trap for gifted people to turn into entitled people. Looking upon our status in the worship gathering, we can begin to believe that we deserve our seats and our crowns. If not careful, we can believe the lie that we made our gifts rather than received our gifts (1 Cor 4:7). The assassin of pride is so dangerous because God proactively opposes prideful worship teams (James 4:6). If we honestly grasp our condition in light of the holiness of God, pride should be found killed than it is found killing us.

Do you tremble in the presence of God anymore? Are you amazed that he even allows you to worship? The greatest way to combat your pride is to draw near to the Lord.  

As we’ve discussed the dangers of pride and the glories of humility, your mind has probably drifted towards someone on your team that you hope has read this article by now. You might even be praying that it knocks some sense into their prideful, stubborn hearts.

If you are hoping that somebody else got the gist of this article, you have already missed the entire point.  

In fact, you might be in danger of the worst kind of pride – the version of it that goes unnoticed. Be careful. Pride brings down the mighty (Prov 16:18). Let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall (1 Cor 10:12).


No Place for Entitled Worship Leaders

Stages can lend way to entitled attitudes, and worship leaders aren’t immune from it. If we keep our focus on Jesus, we will maintain a proper perspective.

How Pride Shows Up on a Worship Team

Pride can show up within a worship team in many different ways. If unchecked, its presence can ruin the potential ministry of the whole church.