The Value of Vulnerability
Many things can hinder the development of healthy community on your worship team.
Time, for instance, is a big factor. How often have you felt, I just don’t have the time to connect with all of these people? Have you ever said that about the people on your team, or maybe felt it from a leader above you?
Different personalities can also be a challenge. With so many distinct backgrounds, expectations, and personality types, it can be difficult for a team to set aside differences and come together in unity.
While time constraints, personality differences, and other challenges exist, if I had to pick the greatest hindrance to forming true, authentic community, I would have to say it’s the fear of being real and vulnerable with others.
A fear of opening up one’s life and heart to others is common and understandable, but if it hinders the development of true community, it can be lethal to the long-term health of your team. Avoidance postpones having to deal with issues in our lives, but it rarely solves them. Avoiding meaningful relationships due to insecurities or fears is neither healthy nor helpful in everyday life or on your worship team. If you avoid true and earnest relationships with your team members (even unknowingly) by limiting your interactions to small talk and never really opening up your heart to them, this will lead to some big challenges on your team.
A leader who doesn’t open up his or her heart will only have a following for so long.
No matter how well you lead your team spiritually, your life in the Word and passion for Jesus will only take you so far before people begin to wonder who you really are. If you can’t open up and be genuine with them, you will limit how far you can go together as a team.
Just as you don’t want lip service from a friend, you don’t want a shallow surface-level relationship with the teammate across the room. My team needs to know me to the same extent that I know them. This doesn’t mean that you’re going to be best friends with everyone on your team (you will connect with some people more naturally than you do with others), but it does mean that you need to be intentional about sharing your heart with them. Instead of limiting your conversations to the revelation you got on a Scripture verse or the latest worship song that inspired you, try talking about things like what you did last night for fun, a personal goal that you are working towards, or a particular challenge that you are facing. This type of sharing goes a long way in making real connections with your team.
It is a challenge to follow leaders who only talk about spiritual things without ever mentioning their normal, everyday lives. It’s true that as the worship leader, people look to you as a spiritual authority, but if you don’t also come across as a human being with real thoughts, feelings, and emotions about ordinary life, you can begin to seem distant and unapproachable. It is difficult to respect or relate to a worship leader you’ve interacted with for years, but have never had a normal everyday conversation with.
Allowing oneself to be known by being real, vulnerable, and transparent, is worth the risk and the investment of time and energy required.
When I am unapproachable to my team, I actually limit my effectiveness as a leader. If my own team members do not feel that they can relate to me and I to them, we are limited in where we can go together. My ability to effectively lead a room full of worshipers to explore the mysteries of God through music requires an intimacy and vulnerability that will be difficult to achieve if the team playing and singing with me is completely disconnected to who I am on a personal level. Likewise, a team that becomes accustomed to presenting the appearance of unity without the reality of intimacy will fail to sow the seeds in hearers that genuineness would allow. Honesty and authenticity in my leading both on and off the stage is absolutely essential to having a healthy, thriving worship team that leads people into the deep things of God.
Huge thanks to my friend Jordan Vanderplate for letting me use this photo from Mallagi, Scotland. Check out more of his work here.