Obviously, the larger a program gets, the more elements we have to complicate the worship experience: congregation, pastor, tech, singers, choir, band, banners, dancers, etc., etc. On top of all this, we still have to be sensitive to God and the movement of the Holy Spirit or we'll miss the point altogether. With all of these things going on, the natural tendency is to let our focus shift each time something happens that requires our attention: a singer or player is out of tune, the drummer is rushing, or the graphics person is on the wrong slide. A former pastor of mine once said, "No matter how hard we try to keep him out, Murphy always finds a way show up."
Not all complications are bad, however. There can be some exceptional musical, visual, or even technical moments that, if we're not careful, can also distract our focus from the sublime worship experience we desire.
In my experience, there is no way to avoid being distracted by elements that vie for our attention. After all, we are human beings entrusted with divine responsibility. In order to stay "centered", however, we must:
- Understand that leading worship is a service unto the Lord. The needs of the corporate body are more important than our own worship experience. Worship leadership is a priestly (ministry to God), pastoral (caring and shepherding people), and prophetic role (communicating God's truths to people). We, as worship leaders, sometimes have to set aside our own notions and desires in order to serve our pastor and our local congregation.
- Understand that the weekly service should not be our first and last encounter with God for the week. Our daily time in personal worship should be the map we use to lead the people of God to the throne of God. When that personal time is lacking, we can easily find ourselves groping around in the dark, looking for the door to the throne room, all the while tripping over the trappings of worship, but not really worshiping.