Dialing Down Your Volume
It’s hard for me to sit still and be quiet. I’m not that good at it. In fact, my whole life has been a bouquet of pushed envelopes and talk-first-think-later situations.
I describe myself as a recovering moron…
I’m an extrovert. There I said it. And I’m a worship leader. So the temptation when I get around people is to be the center of attention. To bask a little in the limelight. To talk too much and listen too little. Where’s the balance?
Are you like me? Are you an extroverted worship leader too? If you are, and you’re honest, you like the attention your personality brings. People tell you, “You’re the life of the party.” Or maybe, “I just love the passion in your leadership.”
Both of those are good things – but also pitfalls that trap us into thinking our specific gifting or personality trait somehow makes our ministries better. Wrong.
I’ve been fortunate to be around some amazing leaders – men that lead tens of thousands of people and recognize their rightful place in the overall spectrum of creation. These men lead with confidence and passion. They seek to take chances and get up in people’s grills for the sake of the gospel. These “extroverts”, though, have proven there’s more value in leading boldly coupled with love and humility than leading boldly and using the excuse, “Well that’s just how God made me.”
So follow along with me as I speak to myself by speaking to you, the extroverted worship leader.
A Bull in a China Shop
In my first years of ministry I’d refer to myself as a bull in a china shop. Picture that – a massive, stomping bull in the middle of a store filled with fragile items.
I wasn’t mad at anyone, but I wasn’t aware of how my team perceived my actions. I was focusing on “distraction free worship experiences”. But I neglected to make room for the body of Christ to use their gifts in an environment that was both focused on the task but also fun.
Success as an extroverted worship leader looks like this:
You recognize your gift set and work well. But you lead in such a way that draws both personalities (extroverts and introverts) into the journey, rather than excluding or scaring the other into following and keeping quiet.
The day your church leadership handed over volunteers and a congregation to your care, you moved from a singer to a pastor. It took me a long time to accept that – I didn’t want the extra responsibility. But accepting that responsibility has made so much difference in my ability to lead.
One of the most helpful things for me in balancing my personality is looking at who I am in Christ. If our meter is gauged on what the Bible says we are (extroverted or not), it will give direction on how we should function. No Christian extrovert can honestly say, “I’m loud, annoying, and proud of it. That’s just how God made me!”
Sure, you may be all of those things. But when God saved you, God changed you and wants to use your outgoing, in-your-face qualities to help stir up and edify fellow believers – other extroverts and introverts. God’s will for your extrovertedness is never to tear down, belittle, or walk over those who aren’t made like you.
If you aren’t sure how your team perceives you, ask them. It’s going to be revealing and even painful. But if you’re seeking to grow as a new creation and not lean on your natural tendencies, I believe the growth opportunity is worth the pain.
The Take Away
Your goal as a worship leader is to present Christ to your church and assist them in singing, praying, and meditating on the truths of God. Simple enough.
But have you thought about that statement outside the 70-minute weekend service? You may lead the songs without a hitch, hit all the notes, and never get off the click track. But outside those things, how would you rate yourself?
You see, most people in your church will never see how you interact with your sound guy. They will never hear you tell the string section how frustrating their intonation is. They will never see how you hangout with people because of what they can do for you rather than to serve them. (You don’t have to be an extrovert to make these mistakes, but we do tend to be more prone to these things.)
I don’t mean to make you feel guilty. Rather, I want to encourage you to take your personality and harness it for effectiveness. I struggle all the time with my flesh and how it wants to respond in high stress, crunch time scenarios. But my flesh doesn’t run the show. The spirit that’s in me is waiting for me to wise up and let it do what God put it there to do.
Decide today. Stop telling yourself you’re pretty great because you get things done or speak well from the front. Look to the Holy Spirit for wisdom and humility to lead with the gifts God’s given you. You’re extroverted. Use that natural ability to lead, speak, and grow ministries with a meek, gentle, and humble spirit.