And the Winning Worship Leader or Pastor Is…

Ryan Egan —  March 24, 2011 — 8 Comments
spiderman vs. scorpion

Spiderman's my favorite! No, Scorpion's my favorite!

I was recently taken aback by a post on Twitter that I happen to glance at and wanted to get some discussion going. The tweet basically went like this (I’m paraphrasing from what I remember):

I can’t wait until [so-and-so]‘s worship set.  Then I’ll really be energized!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand that God has consistently used personalities to do His work (Moses and Aaron, Joshua, Sampson, the prophets, Peter, Paul, etc.), but I wonder if there’s a danger in the above statement.  Do we, as Christians declare that without a certain “persona” we:

  • Aren’t able to be energized?
  • Aren’t able to be taught?
  • Aren’t able to worship?
  • Aren’t able to really feel fed?
  • Aren’t able to….whatever?

Did God use some personalities doing some crazy things to get His people’s attention? Yes (Specifically thinking of Ezekiel laying on his side and other prophets doing odd things).  But the danger remains in the fact that if we don’t get the worship leader or pastor that “we want” we might tune out, assume that we can’t learn, and potentially harden our hearts to the working of the Holy Spirit.

I have my own “favorite” teachers, pastors, and worship leaders, but I try to be as open as I can to letting God work through anyone (as long as they’re proclaiming Biblical truth of course).

So what do you think? Is it dangerous to have a favorite teacher, pastor or worship leader? Is it bad that certain “personalities” can stir us up more easily than others?

Photo by Ricardo Bandiera

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Ryan Egan

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Ryan is a follower of Christ, husband, father, worship leader, & creative. He is heavily involved in the Association of Free Lutheran Churches and desires to teach others to live a life of worship in everything they do.
  • Amy O.

    I don’t think it’s bad to have ‘favorite’ teachers or worship leaders….as long as your preference isn’t thwarted by biblical corrected-ness. :) Lets face it, some people ARE more gifted to teach in a way that helps people understand and live out God’s Word better and some people ARE more gifted in leading worship in a way that helps people to focus more on God than on themselves (or the worship leader for that matter!).

    What is bad is to declare someone your ‘favorite’ but their teaching is way off….that your preference has been clouded by sheer charisma of the teacher or something like that.

    Does that make any sense??

    Thanks for your faithfulness!!

  • iamanoffering

    Very true. I do wonder though, if you are in a situation with two solid teachers, and you say “Well, teacher A isn’t here today – I guess I’ll settle for teacher B, but I probably won’t learn as much” if that’s a dangerous attitude. Even if someone is more gifted or skilled is it an attitude problem if we don’t learn from teacher B? Your thoughts are great – I’m just wrestling with it. :-)

  • Hans T

    Run into this all the time at Bible School (Association Free Lutheran Bible School – Everyone claims the same particular pastor as their “favorite”. I have witnessed firsthand how destructive an attitude of favoritism can be. Several students make choices to skip out/sleep in during the classes taught by those teachers which are not their favorites, and by doing so, they have missed a God-given opportunity to be taught more concerning His Word and the Christian life.

    I think there is a fine line between “appreciation” and “favoritism”. I’ve found that I can greatly appreciate certain teachers because of a particular aspect of their teaching that connects well with my style of learning. However, by having a mindset that leans more towards “appreciation,” it is easier for me to look for things in ALL of my teachers that I can appreciate. For example, I can appreciate that every single one of my teachers opens up the Word of God everyday, they daily approach their responsibilities with prayer, and they are eager to learn along with the students more about our Almighty God.

    There also enters in the aspect of the believer being called to exhort and encourage their brothers and sisters in Christ. Included in that is the call for believing students to encourage/exhort their believing teachers. We should daily hold before our teachers the very word which they themselves proclaim. The person who is going to be most effective at molding and shaping our teachers/worship leaders to be more effective in their ministry is God Himself.

    Also, perhaps the best way to answer this question is to look at the nature of God. He certainly chooses people for different purposes, but I think this is distinctly different from showing favoritism.

    Your thoughts?

  • iamanoffering

    All I can say is, “Well-said!” That’s exactly the direction I was thinking but you said it much more eloquently than I would have. Thanks, Hans!

  • Katie Ax

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having a preference in terms of teachers but the situation you pointed on in the comment is definitely a problematic and dangerous attitude. Going into the lesson saying you aren’t going to learn as much because of the teacher isn’t right. It’s like you’re stifling the Holy Spirit because you’re mind has already concluded not to be well-engaged rather than letting the Holy Spirit speak to you in a different way.

    But, let’s face it: we play favorites. I know that I get disappointed when we have a guest speaker at our student worship service because I love our campus minister. If Neal’s preaching, I’m going. If Neal’s not preaching, I consider skipping. But often times, I go with the mindset of, “I may not like the speaker, but I like the One using the speaker.” If I walk away with one new thought or lesson learned, the time was worthwhile.


  • iamanoffering

    Thanks for stopping by Katie. “I may not like the speaker, but I like the One using the speaker.” That is a “it’s-not-about-me” attitude if I’ve ever seen one!

  • Christian Andrews

    I’m not sure if it’s a So Cal thing or if the phenomenon is national, but I think you hit on what I think is an ugly trend in the American church. Churches are built on personalities, and people “shop” for the personality that makes them feel the best. I think it’s a very sad commentary on the western church where popular men (people) have replaced good theology. Didn’t Paul say something to Timothy about people going after preachers who would please their ears?

  • iamanoffering

    Agreed. I heard once that people are now starting to put more emphasis on how good the worship leader is at their church over how sound the pastor’s teaching is.

    On the other hand, there are some personalities that I would gladly follow, not because they are trying to please people’s ears, but because they’re unafraid to boldly speak the truth of God’s Word even to a very large audience.