Thursday, September 30, 2010

For lack of better words....

Carlos Whittaker runs Ragamuffin Soul. It's a well-known blog for worship leaders, musicians and creatives of all types. In short, this little blog has evolved into quite a one-stop shop for Christian culture and has been influential in Whittaker's rising career as both a minister and a musician.

Carlos is nothing if not authentic, which is one of the greatest qualities of the blog. There's no pretense. It's sincere and honest and a great source for conversation.

A few weeks ago, he posted an article called "Ten Things Not To Say To The Worship Leader After A Service." (You can read it here.) It's a funny article with a nice mix of truth and just a little tongue-in-cheek. I've love anything that flies in the face of convention and challenges semantics, but I gotta' say this article didn't sit well with me.

None of this will make sense if you haven't read the article, so click the link before continuing. I'll refine the list down to just the "things" you're not supposed to say.

1.“Worship was great this morning!”
2. “You took me to the throne and back!”
3. “The way the songs fit the message was powerful”.
4. “What kind of guitar are you playing?"
5. “You know what. You look a lot like Hootie. Do you ever get that?”
6. “Were you only wearing socks on stage?”
7. “The second song of the set…Where can I find that song?”
8. “Is the girl singing BGV’s on your left single?”
9. “I noticed your rosary. Are you catholic?”
10. “Can you teach my 5th grader guitar lessons?”

Carlos' responses were funny, but there are two issues at hand that I think are worth acknowledging.

  • They don't know what to say. Wise and watchful worship leaders know that 90% of the random people who find you afterward and say something to you don't know what they want to say. Those common phrases like "That was great," or "God was moving in you guys" are more often an attempt to express something deeper. People seek out a worship leader because they want that pastor to know something...common desire, appreciation, support, need...but a lot of people don't know how to get that all out in the ten minutes in between service changes. "Your voice is awesome" usually means something way more than that and knowing it allows me to better care and pastor for my people.

  • They don't all say that. There are thousands of worship leaders all across the world who are greeted with silence each and every Sunday. They're leading at churches in transition or churches in turmoil or churches that don't like what they're doing. I realize that Carlos is speaking about the humor in church culture, but we can't forget that there are worship leaders (maybe next door) who are starved for even the most typical of compliments.
Life in ministry is about balance - appreciating the lighter moments without forgetting that others walk much harder roads. In the next few days, I'll share 10 things you should say to your worship leader.


Liz said...

Looking forward to your list.
Gotta be honest...that guy's article just ticked me off. His smart-aleck comments really bug me.

Artie said...

I seldom get any comments other than the drummer is too loud or the e-guitar is too loud. We're a healthy church community but if things are done well people just leave.. every once in a while I'll get a positive comment. No one goes up and tells the organ player or the choir director anything either. We're just doing what we do. I think I operate in a different mindset and dimension than most worship pastors/leaders. Or maybe I should say different than the young/post modern/full time/a lot of time on their hands/folks that are visable to the rest of the christian subculture. I can't deal with Carlos.. I don't understand him nor do I understand all that value his "resource". I can't follow him on twitter.. too much twittereah and blogs like his exhaust me.
I guess I don't have the luxury of all the time.