A few weeks ago I found myself at a midweek youth service, not as a worship leader, but just a member of the congregation. Before worship even began I felt off and let my emotions get the best of me. I entered the night with a bad attitude and didn't expect to receive much from the service because on that particular night I wasn’t looking forward to being there. As the night progressed and worship began, I found myself 15 minutes into the set having not even engaged in worship. Instead I had focused on everything that was going wrong musically on stage. I was listening to every player, and found myself frustrated when they would make a mistake, angry because the overall volume wasn’t louder, and annoyed at the drummer who played with what seemed to be zero energy… And then I stopped. I looked around the room and saw it was full of students with their hands in the air fully engaged in worship and seeking after the presence of God. It was in that moment I realized I had begun to develop a critical heart.
I think, as musicians, developing a critical heart can be very easy for us to do. It is easy to compare and wish your worship team was as good as the other team you heard. It's easy to wish that you had better equipment and believe it would solve all your problems. We get so caught up in the idea of what the music is supposed to sound like that we forget why we are even there in the first place. Worship is not meant to be a concert. It is not meant to be a place of perfection. In fact, it is the exact opposite of that. The sole purpose of worship is to seek and grow closer to Jesus. The purpose is to find rest in His presence. My critical heart kept me from doing that a few weeks ago. My need for excellence and perfection caused me to miss an opportunity to go deeper in my relationship with the Lord. I love what Paul David Tripp said in his devotional New Morning Mercies. He said, “ Here’s the bottom line. The Christian life, the church, our faith are not about us, they’re about Him, His plan, His kingdom, His glory.” Be careful not to let the things that need to be fixed take the place of the reason why you do what you do.