The Idol of Perfection in Worship Arts

Worship-Leading-630x419Every Artist and Creative must struggle with the tension between perfection and process!

Perfection,

  • the creative moments in worship where music and text fit together and connect with the worshippers;
  • the times when playing music flows from the heart and its more than notes and verse;
  • when everything falls into place.

Process,

  • when you realize that you have just sung through an entire set of music,
  • including readings and prayers to find that you have been thinking about something else entirely;
  • those times where frustration over the people you work with sours the whole experience of music;
  • that time when that worship service you plan gets pushed aside for another idea that you really think is void of all creativity.

I don’t know about you but I’ve been realizing that most of my time as a worship leader is process.  I have been thinking about the times when I pursue a different goal than Jesus. My commitment isn’t to the team of people God has given me to work with but rather I pursue ways to get my own needs met!   When I consider how often I struggle for approval from others, looking for value in my work, or seeking security and safety through doing a great job I see how often I try to get these needs met in my job and thru people rather than learning that my needs are ultimately met by Christ.  I have acceptance, value and security because of what He thinks of me and what he has done for me.

Developing a Team approach to Worship Arts is important for the worship leader as it directly addresses our tendency to hold all the responsibility for worship on our shoulders.  When I realize that I am better when I have a team, I am then able to see the process of creating and producing worship services as the result of what we do together.  I no longer take criticism as a personal affront but approach feedback as a way to help us work better together.

Perfection is something I see as an idol connected to my need for acceptance. Instead of seeking acceptance from my performance, I see that Jesus and He alone is the perfection I need.  In his perfect life and obedience to His heavenly father, he gained merit that I can’t attain.  For perfection is needed to be able to live in harmony with God.  I also can’t make up for my mistakes before God.  Just as a note played can never be recovered, my sinful worship, my love of self, my obsession with approval with others shows me my heart loves those things more than I love God.  That is sin.

So by realizing that Jesus lived a life of perfection and is perfectly accepted by His Father, never sinning and perfectly doing everything right I see the answer.

When I become a Christian by embracing the message of the gospel, I find that Jesus Himself died so I would not be punished for my sin.  He also lived perfectly so I would not have to do everything perfectly to have credit and acceptance before God.  The gospel not only frees me from punishment of sin, but I also am freely given all of Jesus goodness.  So as I am “In Christ” I am not only forgiven I am blessed! The father looks at me now and sees my work, and sees it as a father looks toward his son.  He can say “good job, lets work on that, and maybe you can try it like this.”

By believing these two things and living by faith each moment, I can stay in the process! I can leave perfection to Jesus.  To allow myself and others room to fail.  To offer forgiveness to myself and to others by the same grace I get from Jesus and my Father!

Maybe this will help you as you continue on the journey!

Buddy