3 Ways Worship Will Challenge You

Jen Steinman   -  

“Hey, Jen! Can I ask you a question?”


“Sure! What’s up?”


The lyric in the song today….’ The story isn’t over if the story isn’t good… I’m not sure, but where is that concept found in scripture?


As a Worship Leader, I sometimes feel like I am under a microscope. Worship leaders are often the first impression people have of our church, and many people make quick judgments on a church based on their observations of the Worship Leader. Many congregants equate whether a service is good or bad that day based on their experience of the music:


“Worship was great today!” 

“Mmmm…The music was just too loud today.” 

“That song you sang today about being a sinner…I don’t know if I like it….” 


While Worship Leaders most definitely have a high calling, sometimes that calling comes with others’ opinions, critiques, and even some hard conversations. 


However, this time, I was happy to be challenged with this question brought to me one Sunday morning after service. It ended up being a conversation that I continued to reflect upon as I went about my day after service. I was reminded of my role and responsibility as the one who works as our Worship Director and cultivates the culture of worship here at River Valley Rockford. 


Music is an art and an expression that spans all cultures and people groups. From indigenous chants and drum circles to beautifully intricate symphonies to Western digital music, people and cultures express their emotions, beliefs about the world, and much more through music and song. In our Christian culture, we get the incredible privilege of using music together in the church community to shape the faith we grow in it. As Constance Cherry writes in her book The Music Architect: Blueprints for Engaging Worshippers in Song:

“…worship songs form us (or de-form us). The words we sing contribute to the faith that is forged in us. The power that our corporate songs of faith possess pours into us, helping to mold us as devoted disciples of Jesus Christ. They encourage us to love the Lord our God with all of our hearts, souls, minds, and strength. As we sing, we become participants with God in our spiritual formation.” 


It can be challenging for worship leaders to have our artistry critiqued or questioned as musicians. While not everyone will enjoy or appreciate the style or musicality of every song, the body of the church needs to be sensitive regarding the theological soundness of the songs we sing


It is one of the primary responsibilities of the Worship Leaders. Still, it is also the responsibility of the entire body to ponder and question whether the words we sing together as a congregation are rooted in God’s Word. These are the words we end up meditating on from Monday through Saturday, and we should think about what we’re filling our hearts and minds with. 


I was encouraged that one of my brothers in Christ felt empowered to come and ask me that question about the confusing lyric in the song. 


It helped to challenge me and serves as a reminder for us all to: 

1. Communicate with One Another: Situations like this one makes me aware of the character I carry as a leader in the church and reminds me of the responsibility we all have to build each other up. They reassure us that we are brothers and sisters in Christ, and we’re on the same team, growing together and sharpening each other on this walk.

 2. Communicate with Care: It’s essential to genuinely evaluate the theology we preach, teach, and sing within the church, but it is even more necessary to do this from love and a desire to strengthen each other.

3. Commune with God: Most importantly, our time together, whether singing songs or talking after service, should push us closer to Jesus- to His Word and His grace… and I hope the music we sing helps you do just that.  


(By the way, if you want to know my thoughts on that lyric or any other, find me, and I’m happy to talk about it over a cup of coffee.)