You have nothing to prove, no one to impress, only Jesus to please.
Last summer, I had the opportunity to intern with Josh Via, the Worship Pastor at Seven Marks Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. As you walk onto the Seven Marks stage, there is a sign that says, “Nothing to prove, No one to impress, Only Jesus to Please.” Every Sunday morning, when I step up to the microphone, I remember those words.
I often find myself stressing about all the meaningless details of the service and trying to make everything perfect. Then I remember that I am not there to prove myself as a musician or capable worship leader. Rather, I am there to worship Jesus and lead others in worshiping him.
3 Reminders for Worship Pastors
Here are three reminders for you to remember as you seek to faithfully lead your people in worship each week:
1. There is nothing to prove.
Worship Pastor, you have nothing to prove about yourself. The world constantly pressures people to prove themselves regardless of their endeavors. I often struggle with this as a 22-year-old. Members of my team have twice as much life experience as I do. Many of the members of my church have walked with Jesus longer than my parents have been alive. These thoughts have often caused much anxiety, provoking doubtful questions within myself like, “How can I lead them when they are older than me?” and “Will they even take me seriously?” However, none of the answers to these questions—whether good or bad—matter because it is not about them taking me seriously. Instead, it is about taking Jesus Christ seriously and boldly singing the story of who he is, what he’s done, and what he has promised.
If your heart is in a posture of worship toward Christ, it will affect everything.
But what about Paul’s words in 1 Timothy 3:1-13, where he addresses the qualifications of leaders in the church saying, “let them be tested first; then let them serve…if they prove themselves to be blameless”? This testing is not proof of ability. Though Paul is directly referring to the qualification of deacons, this is a good reminder for all leaders to demonstrate integrity and godly character before they step in front of the congregation to lead. If Paul instructs deacons in this way, how much more ought pastors seek to live out this type of proving themselves? We are not called to look holy and worshipful; we are called to live holy and worshipful lives before we attempt to lead others in the same. Paul calls us to prove ourselves in this way.
2. There is no one to impress.
In the modern era of the Christian church with all the lights, technology, and musicians, the worship leader who leads out of the desire to impress others or to glorify himself will turn God-glorifying songs into a self-glorifying show. This approach can create an impressive performance-based “worship experience,” but it cannot foster true worship. Cultivating a culture of worship rather than performance begins with your heart. If your heart is in a posture of worship toward Christ, it will affect everything. It will change the songs you sing, the things you say in between songs, the way you lead your team, and even how you plan your sets. As the worship leader, you must remember that there is no one to impress. So, when you do not have a volunteer to play the drums or the keys, it doesn’t matter. You are there to worship.
My pastor always asks the question, “If the power goes out, can worship still happen?” Let’s put it another way: if the power goes out and worship stops, then we were never worshipping the one true God. There is no one to impress, not even God. He does not want us to impress him. He wants our life-long faithfulness.
3. There is only Jesus to please.
Each week in rehearsal, I open in prayer over myself and my band with this statement: “In the things that go right may you, Lord, be glorified, and in the things that go wrong, may you be glorified.” This mindset is crucial for us as worship leaders. We are not there to sing songs, create an emotional experience, have fun, or show off our abilities. Our job is to lead people to the throne of the matchless King of kings, the gracious Lord of lords, the merciful and just God who created all things. We show up each week to sing songs of praise to King Jesus because of who he is, what he has done, and what he has promised. We pray, “Holy Spirit, fill our hearts with praise when we do not know how to praise.”
Remember that no matter what you do, seek the glory of Christ! As is the call to all believers, you must study the word, be a person of prayer, seek to live in a God-glorifying manner and walk worthy of your calling in Christ Jesus. You have nothing to prove, no one to impress, only Jesus to please. All the glory be to him.
“For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” (Hosea 6:6)