Worship Leader Magazine does a fantastic job of putting on a worship conference that will expose the attendees to a wide variety of resources, techniques, workshops, songs, new artists, approaches, teachings, and perspectives. I thought of Mark Twain’s famous quote “If you don’t like the weather in New England, just wait 5 minutes.”
The same could be said of this conference. It’s an intentionally eclectic mix of different speakers, teachers, worship leaders, and performers from different traditions, theological convictions, and worship leading philosophies. You’ll hear and see some stuff you like and agree with, and then 5 minutes later you’ll hear and see some stuff you don’t agree with at all.
It’s good for worship leaders to experience this kind of wide-exposure from time to time, and the National Worship Leader Conference certainly provides it.
Yet throughout the conference, at different sessions, with different worship leaders, from different circles, using different approaches, and leading with different bands, I picked up on a common theme. It’s been growing over the last few decades. And to be honest, it’s a troubling theme. And if this current generation of worship leaders doesn’t change this theme, then corporate worship in evangelicalism really is headed for a major crash.
It’s the theme of performancism. The worship leader as the performer. The congregation as the audience. The sanctuary as the concert hall.
It really is a problem. It really is a thing. And we really can’t allow it to become the norm. Worship leaders, we must identify and kill performancism while we can.
Read it all here. And be sure to read the comments to the article - they are a must-read as well.
I know I've been there. ...at a performance under the guise of "special music." All the focus was on the performer who was applauded wildly when finished. If I'd wanted to see/hear a performance I would have gotten tickets to one. It was unsettling. I struggled to find the reason we were there and then I remembered, "oh, yes, it's Sunday, we are here to glorify God, not His creature."
And the Truro family retreat at Canaan Valley was a great example of what not to do! (no one knew the songs, etc.)
I am so glad that the church I am a member of now doesn't have a "worship leader." A great choir director and a choir that LEADS us all in the music rather than perform FOR us. But I can see how this is something that other churches need to be aware of.
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