Passion, Pride, & Pretense

Ryan Egan —  March 27, 2012 — 8 Comments

I found out a while ago that I am, in fact, Norwegian.  My blood grandfather was full-blooded Norwegian.  That might explain why I find myself drawn into and at home in the Lutheran church.  That might explain why I tend to be a bit more “stoic” and “melancholy” at times.

But, I am an artist.  I’m also a performer.  I’m also part Irish, which pretty much throws all of the above paragraph out the window.

Is It Passion or Performance?

All of this leads me to a question: is it possible to be a passionate follower of Christ, more specifically, in my case, a passionate follower of Christ who happens to be a worship leader, and not show intense emotion?

I was evaluated by a dear friend and trainer and one of things he told me is that I needed more passion and more enthusiasm.  Is that me?

Throughout my high school and college life I’ve always performed.  I was in theatre, band, choir, musicals, you name it.  I can put on a different self fairly quickly.  The question then: is that a dangerous place to be?

Can Performance Become Genuine Passion?

When I get up to lead on Sunday morning, do I “put on a different self” and force myself to act with more passion and enthusiasm to help lead the congregation in that way or does that become a show or a pretense?  Can this type of passion be learned and nurtured and become genuine?

I don’t know the answers to these questions, and I’d love your help. Do you deal with this situation in your own life and if so, how do you address it?

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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.
  • Anonymous

    I would say it is the opposite.  Passion should drive our worship leading.  I’ll grant that there is a small element to which I “perform”.  There are little things that I’ve learned to help people enter into worship, but when I get into the songs, for me, it is all about expressing the inner reality of the truths sung about.  It truly is all about relationship.

    My best times leading worship have not been when I’ve been an “excellent performer” but when my relationship with the Father is spot on.  Those times I feel closest to Jesus personally in my relationship with him, obedience to his Spirit, filling up on his words and actively expressing his love, those are the times I lead best because my “real” life fuels my leading.  

    When that fire for the Lord is inwardly burning in my daily life then I know my leading in worship with burn with passion as well.  People will sense his Spirit inside me, flowing not only musically but with a completeness.  This is why I rarely talk about becoming a more excellent musician and instead, almost to fault, always encourage my worship leaders to be excellent worshipers and friends of Jesus first.

    I could be the best musician and performer in the world but without Christ inside me, like 1 Corinthians 13:1  says concerning love, ”
    I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”   Passionate leading starts with passionate love for Jesus.  Blessings! -Hal

  • iamanoffering

    Hal, thank you for such a great perspective.  It’s a great reminder for me and many.

  • Anonymous

    I think without passion and enthusiasm, specifically in worship leading, there comes a sense of facade. As worship leaders there should be passion and enthusiasm welling up from inside of us every time we step onto that platform or else we aren’t leading worship, we’re faking it. If we aren’t passionate about the words that are leaving our mouths then how can we expect the people we are leading to be passionate about them.

    I think specifically in this situation it is a sense of how you show that passion or enthusiasm. Maybe you aren’t the jump up and down, guitar solo, same chorus 20 times type of worship leader but there should still be passion and enthusiasm welling up from the very core of you.

  • iamanoffering

    I understand where you’re coming from. But couldn’t you take it the other direction as well? What if you “seem” passionate when your on the platform but your personal life is a mess. Then all you’re doing is performing and putting on a show.  Thanks so much for your perspective, though!

  • Anonymous

    I most definitely agree. It has to be a genuine passion and enthusiasm. Any performing whatsoever is, in my opinion, not ok from the position of a leadership role. I think it has to be real. No matter what. And sometimes that realness being vulnerable and accepting that you aren’t in a place to lead worship.

  • Anonymous

    I did not mean for that to come off accusatory. I was not by any means implying that you are not at a place to lead worship. I’m just saying for some people that may be the harsh reality of it. Too often I feel worship leaders, pastors, and teachers “fake till they make it” in order to avoid having to admit that, as you put it, their personal life is a mess.

  • iamanoffering

    Didn’t take it that way :-)

  • Brewster

    Man, what a great post! I believe authenticity is key. You are who God created you to be. You are the artists he created. Walk in that freedom..the freedom that there is only one Ryan Egan and you are the best version of that…

    I believe you will have a hard time connecting if you are not authentic in the real YOU. 
    Further, your employer hired you to be you…not anyone else! 

    Ok..enough. Keep rocking man God has great things ahead for you .