Category Archives: worship

Conference Season = Worship Hustling

If you’ve been to any worship conferences in the past 10 years, you’ve seen this scenario: Paul Baloche teaching a packed-out workshop. Workshop is over and…he has a long line of 20+ people waiting to talk to him. Half of them have a CD in their hand.

What is that CD? It’s probably a demo of their music that they want “discovered”. Many worship leaders seem to attend worship conferences with a box of their demo CD’s, with hopes that they will hand one to a well-known worship artist, like Paul, and be contacted by a record label the next week with an offer of a record deal.

Conference Season Worship Hustling.jpg

Is it a sin to take demos to worship conferences? No.

Is it strange to wait in line for 20 minutes so that you can hand your demo to Paul Baloche? Well…maybe.

In the world of “Christian celebrities” that we live in, it is no surprise that many worship leaders these days have the secret (and oftentimes not-so-secret) desire to become a “celebrity worship artist”. They see the itinerant worship leader lifestyle as glamorous. In their church office, after reading an email from a church member complaining about how loud the drums were on Sunday, the worship leader might daydream about being in a professional studio, working on their worship album, with producer, Ed Cash.

Many worship leaders have become hustlers at these worship conferences, so I have a new term for them: worship hustlers. The workshops are great, but these worship hustlers are distracted because they are anxious to get their demo into the hands of the workshop speaker.

Having many friends who are worship artists and music industry leaders that speak at these conferences, I know how often they get approached by worship leaders asking them to check out their music. I personally don’t know anyone who got a record deal (or even a song cut) from doing such a thing. I’m sure there are a few folks out there, but they are few and far between.

So, if you are reading this and you are a worship hustler, I want to challenge you with a few things as you attend a worship conference this Summer/Fall:

1. Make it your primary objective to learn and grow as a worship leader. Make it worth your church’s money (if they are paying for you to attend) and your time. Attend as many sessions and workshops as possible. Take TONS of notes. Glean from those who have been doing it a lot longer than you have.

2. Meet other attendees. I am often shocked when I talk to a worship leader who just attended a worship conference with a thousand people in attendance and they came back not having made one connection with another attendee. Don’t be anti-social (or a social media addict glued to your phone every time you’re waiting for a session to start). Get off your phone and introduce yourself to the people next to you.

3. Die to whatever dream you have of becoming the next big worship artist or getting a record deal with Integrity Music, etc. Don’t let your personal dreams distract you from giving your 110% to the ministry God has called you to at your local church. When you’re at the conference, look for ways to serve others, ways to take what you’ve learned back to your church, and ways to become more effective as a worship leader at your church.

4. Leave your demos at home. I believe in networking. I do a ton of that myself. However, if your secret desire to become the next Chris Tomlin is causing you to just use people as stepping stones to achieve your dream, you need to stop it. Don’t take your demo to the conference. Don’t wait in line to give your demo to Paul. Instead, wait in line to tell him how much you appreciate what he shared in his workshop and how his ministry is making an impact in your local church.

Now, I am not saying it is wrong to hand your demo to people at a conference. My point is: don’t let that become your false idol. Pray about it and if you really sense God telling you to go hand Paul your demo, do it.

But, in the meantime, be content and satisfied serving in the local church that God has put you in. When your life is over, God is not going to ask you, “How many people heard your songs on the radio?” “How many people knew your music?”

God has a purpose and a calling on your life. It is possible that your calling is being an itinerant worship artist, but don’t try to force it to happen. Be patient. Wait on The Lord. God wants to use you where you’re planted.

As you attend a worship conference this year, enjoy it. Meet fellow worship leaders who are in the trenches just like you. Keep your phone in your pocket in between sessions and focus on the people that are right there next to you.

-Wisdom Moon
A special thanks to Wisdom Moon, our guest blogger. Wisdom is the Founder of AllAboutWorship.com – a resource that exists to equip, encourage, and inspire worship leaders and songwriters

What Came First – The Worship or the Heart of Worship?

wooden heart

We have likely all seen many short quips on the web relating to how our attitude or view of God impacts the way we worship.  We have also likely seen other sayings that suggest that how we worship actually builds up and impacts how we view God.  These two viewpoints are both innocent enough in their desire to encourage believers in worship.

It is a good thing to encourage believers in worship.  And, it’s good to come up with new ways of doing this, including witty quips via Twitter (or any other social media platform or communication method.).  However, It’s worth noting that these two thoughts do, in fact, offer conflicting views as to the relationship of the nature of our worship and our view of God.  So, which is it?  Which came first?  The chicken or the egg?  Or, in this case, the worship, or the heart of worship?

Short answer:  Both!  Not the answer you were expecting?  Well, it’s all I’ve got for ya.  But allow me to explain why I have come to this conclusion . . .

To worship God is to recognize, honor and proclaim who He is.  First of all, let’s acknowledge that “worship” means a whole bunch of things, not just singing corporate worship songs in church.  However, for the purposes of this article, when I refer to “worship” I am referring to singing songs in a corporate worship setting.  Cool?  Cool.

Ok, so worship is about God.  That is the first and most important key.  It isn’t about us.  It isn’t about the church.  It isn’t about the worship band or the worship leader.  Worship, at its core, is always about God.  So, how do we worship if we don’t know God?  My theory is that you can’t.  Not abundantly and passionately, at least.

Another way to put this is this:  Do you believe the words you are singing?  If so, then does your worship show that?  It’s hard for me to sing about how great our God is with any real meaning if I think my God is small and weak.  But knowing how great He truly is – that changes everything.  I can’t simply mumble the words to these songs.  I have to proclaim them!

In this way, how I view God absolutely impacts how I worship.  I fully believe that I was a lost sinner, doomed to destruction apart from Christ.  I believe I was saved, not by any works that I had done or any merit I had earned, by purely by the grace of God through Jesus Christ.  I know this in my core.  I believe this with everything within me.  And I am grateful.  I am swimming in oceans of grace and mercy, and because of this, I can’t help but praise my God with all I have.  Think of it this way:  If your mom or dad gave you an awesome present as a kid, did you just mumble “thanks” and act as though nothing ever happened?  No!  You were likely excited!  You were likely thrilled!  And you were likely grateful, perhaps even running and throwing your arms around your mom or dad.

Well, was that gift any more potent or cool or awesome than what God has done for us?  Isn’t His gift of salvation way, way, way more incredible than a bike, doll or video game?  Then why do we so often approach worship with such indifference?  It’s not about false flair and hyped up fake enthusiasm.  It’s about believing the words we’re singing, and letting that impact how we worship.

On the flip side, the songs we sing absolutely can and do influence how we view our Lord.  It has been said by many that worship leaders and worship songwriters are some of the primary theologians of today, and I cannot disagree.  Nothing sticks in the heart and mind quite like music, and through that medium we are communicating truths about who God is.

This is why we, as worship leaders and songwriters, need to be so careful in the songs we write and the songs we choose to bring before our churches.  We need to ensure that what we’re singing in our churches are communicating Biblical truth as to who God is.  And when we do this prayerfully, led by the Spirit, we can see people’s views of Jesus change in dramatic ways.  Is someone in your church going through a hard time and perhaps doubting who God is in their life?  Singing a song about God’s faithfulness and goodness can boost their faith.

Sure, it may not hit the first time, but singing Biblical songs about and to God on a regular basis can and will encourage those who need it.  It’s not about the guitar riff or the drum beat, and it’s not even about how good the lead vocalist is (or isn’t).  It’s about the truth we’re proclaiming.  If it is indeed Biblical truth, then the Spirit can and will use it to build up His church.

So, we’ve now seen the “circle of life,” so to speak, that is the relationship of worship and our heart of worship – our view of God.  Let’s keep the short Twitter buzzwords and catchphrases coming, but let’s not exclusively limit how worship impacts us and our view of God, and how our view of God is reflected in our worship.  Instead, recognize the relationship, be thankful for it, and proceed with prayerful consideration as we continue to lead God’s people to the throne.

-Mark Logan

Skip ahead with these bookmarks: