I'm not sure what the age is, but eventually in everyone's life there are moments when you say to yourself "if only I knew then what I know now". I'm currently in the middle of one of those times. It's like a light bulb has flipped on in my head.
I've spent most of my professional ministerial career planning, practicing, and preparing. There is always more to do, so it never stops. And that nonstop pace includes Sunday and Wednesdays. So, up until service time I am always working on some last minute detail. And then once the music is done, I head to the sound desk where there is more to do. It never stops. For most of my career it has been like this. I'm a worker at heart, so this feels very natural to me.
But recently, it dawned on me how much I have been missing and neglecting in my role as Worship Pastor. I want our church to be a church that worships. I want our Worship Team to be the best that they can be musically and spiritually. But the thing that I've been missing out on is the importance of building relationships. Not only with the worship team and tech team (I try to do that), but with the congregation. Too many times I'm running to or from the stage trying to get something done right before a service begins and I'm just flying right by people that I need to reach out to. Our people want more from me and our Worship Team than to just hear us sing or play. They want and need us to lead them. But we make that difficult when we don't take the time to get to know them.
So, now when the music is done I walk slowly around the edge of the congregation and shake hands, hug necks, give high fives to kids, and smile and say to hello to as many people as I can. Before services I try not to rush around quite so much. I try to talk to as many people as I can. My hope is that if they know me better, they'll be more open to me leading them in worship.
If you are a worship leader, then let me encourage you to do the same. Let's break down the walls between our people and our stages and let the people really get to know us.