We’re instructed to call out false theology and ministerial practice all throughout the New Testament. But while there is undoubtedly biblical support to hold church leaders accountable, sometimes we’re quicker to jump the gun of criticism than we are to be charitable to the hipster worship team.
"This band is too flashy."
"This feels more like a concert than a worship service."
"Are they really singing for God or simply performing?"
At some point or another we've all asked these questions. We see the leather shoes, skinny jeans so tight it's no wonder the dudes sing in such high keys, and of course man buns.
But is such criticism necessary? Appropriate? Biblical?
Perhaps. I’ll admit there are some common trends that I don't understand, like the fog machine. Can we lose the fog machine? Also, the man bun. Although said bun is more a personal rivalry than a genuine conviction.
We’re instructed to call out false theology and ministerial practice all throughout the New Testament. But while there is undoubtedly biblical support to hold church leaders accountable, sometimes we’re quicker to jump the gun of criticism than we are to be charitable to the hipster worship team. Sometimes we find ourselves making heavy accusations of their character or heart based on trivial things like their attire. If you’re in a circumstance where you know a leader and you know they’re living in unrepentant sin while serving in leadership then you have a biblical responsibility to hold them accountable. But this blog isn’t for you. This blog is for the other people that make up the large majority of haters towards worship bands.
“The trendy attire takes away from their heart of worship,” says the fundamentalist. But if the band appeases the fundamentalist and throws on a suit then the contemporary will complain that they’re being legalistic. And if they appease the contemporary by dressing down to a moderate t-shirt and jeans then the legalist will say they’re being irreverent!
There will always be something.
So before casting stones at trendy worship bands, consider the following:
1. They’ve been vigorously vetted for biblical qualification.
The church of whom’s authority the band members have submitted themselves to has prayed earnestly about their decision to hire them. The church has investigated them, interviewed them, talked with them, walked with them and thoroughly analyzed their spiritual development to ensure they are first biblically qualified and then skillfully qualified to hold a worship leader position in the Church. They’re not just trendy musicians who wear the right clothes. Oh, and on that note, the purpose for the blacks and browns is to deter from flashy colors that distract us. I understand that not all churches do this, but most do and ALL should.
2. Being a worship leader doesn’t isolate you from everyday vulnerabilities.
They’re people too. They're battling the enemy like crazy on that stage. They're questioning their intentions.
"I hope I'm making this about God...”
“there is someone in the audience who thinks I'm a hypocrite...”
“I hope this act of worship is consistent with the rest of my life...”
They may be feeling the same burdens that the audience is feeling. “Fake” would be putting a peaceful face on when you just found out a loved one passed away or when you have personal anxiety. When we elevate worship leaders above ourselves, we feel the need to be extra picky, and it is then that we start down a slippery slope of false judgements. Remember their humanness. If you think they’re being fake, confront them. But do so in a manner of concern, being charitable to the fact that their may be more to the picture than you assume.
3. They're doing this for you.
Now before you cry blaspheme, you should understand that they are doing it for you and that is okay. They're doing it for you out of obedience to God's calling in their life to lead in worship. This doesn’t mean they’re only doing it for you. But while they’re worshipping on stage, they’re also worshipping in their obedience to God. They’ve put in hours of practicing so that worship can be conducted in a diligent, orderly, and genuine manner. They want to see God move in His people and so your worship leaders do what they can to ensure the environment is conducive and reverent.
4) Every criticism you have, they’ve had to.
Therefore they are going to do everything they can do ensure their worship is genuine, intimate, and biblical. Remember that it is every worship leader’s desire to usher God’s people into sweet communion with Him. Before each service, your worship leaders pray for a pure and righteous posture before God in their worship because they know the inclination to be distracted or to make it about them.
Pray with them. Intercede on their behalf. Before pointing a finger, extend a hand.
For the gospel //