Why I Ask My Team to Be a Little Disingenuous
WHAT??? Disgusting. Didn’t Jesus rail against hypocrites…actors…the disingenuous religious leaders of His day? Yes He did and, yet, I’ve sat across from my team as they’ve looked at me uncertainly and said, “What you’re asking…I’d feel like I was being disingenuous.” But I keep on asking because I believe we’ve lost sight of what it means to do our job.
For years, the worship community has fought against anything that reeks of performance. We’re not to perform, we’re to worship. We want team members who are the real article: who they are on the stage matches who they are off the stage. Nice sentiment! And I whole-heartedly agree when it comes to the heart of the individual. However, this has carried over to the way worship is expressed on-stage versus off-stage. And I don’t whole-heartedly agree with that.
I imagine we all have worship team members who feel that expressing worship differently on-stage than they do off-stage would be fake, phony, even hypocritical. Maybe you feel that way, too, and you’ve been rather uncomfortable with this blog post ever since the title. Well, some will call this being disingenuous. I call it doing our job.
And what is our job? Certainly to worship God and genuinely, at that. But it’s more because everyone in the church has that job. Our unique task is to lead others to worship God with us. There are, perhaps, a handful of people in this world who can effectively lead a crowd just by being their everyday-selves. They just ooze charisma in their casual existence. The rest of us have to behave differently than we normally would in order to move, motivate, and lead people.
We don’t question this in other arenas of life. Football players don’t run around smashing people in the streets and we never call them fakers for it. Motivational speakers aren’t that revved up around the dinner table at home but we wouldn’t label them phonies. Drill sergeants are unlikely to scream and berate their date the way they would their soldiers. Even in the church, we want our preachers to express themselves more artfully on stage than they would in everyday conversation. They’re just doing their jobs.
Our worship teams have a job to do, too, and it’s time we ask them to do it well.
I realize we all come from different contexts. On my worship team, there are many individuals who are uncomfortable expressing their worship outwardly. Period. Over time I gently ask them, coax them, to try and get past that because here’s the deal: Maybe they’re worshipping God in their hearts more intensely than anyone in the room but the church will have no idea unless they express some of that outwardly. And if the church can’t see us worshipping, how are we effectively doing our part to lead them to worship God in their hearts?
Maybe your context is completely different. Maybe you have team members who are a little “too comfortable” expressing their worship outwardly. Genuine or not, that can create a distraction for some people in the seats. Good intentions are no substitute for the bottom line. And in worship ministry, the bottom line is always about pointing people to God. How can we do that to the best of our ability if we’re inadvertently (or intentionally, for that matter) pulling some of the attention to ourselves?
So maybe you need to ask your team to be a little “disingenuous” too. Does this make you uncomfortable? Do you get where I’m coming from with this?