Today’s post is by guest writer Dusty Wallace
When Sunday is always coming, it can be easy to get tunnel vision.
A lot of churches have systems in place to make sure their staff worship leaders get time off to rest and refocus. However, I would venture to say that most churches don’t. Here are some practical tips and activities to give you that much-needed breather.
1. Go See A Show That You Can’t Critique
Sometimes, it is nearly impossible to go to another church for a night of worship or even to a show at a bar when you’re a worship leader without mentally breaking down every little piece of it.
That floor tom sounds like junk.
I can tell that lady is lip-syncing.
That worship leader has better hair than me.
You NEED to find some artistic/musical performance that will at least make it difficult for you to put on your “expert” goggles.
For my wife and I (she’s a music teacher, so this can be double-hard), we like to go see our local symphony and our jazz orchestra. Both groups are staffed with paid professionals. No offense to civic bands or anything like that, but going and seeing pros will help you put your critiquing to rest.
2. Find A Hobby/Outlet That Is Not Music Related
Many of us vocational worship leaders have to work for a long time in another field until we finally have the opportunity to be on staff at a church. Because of that, music often becomes a “hobby” that we work tirelessly on after we get home from our 9-5.
For many, not all, worship leaders, we get “the job” and then music fills up our vocational and hobby slots. Then boundaries get blurred. We get home from work and decide to work on a fun song, maybe master that slide intro for “Aint No Rest For The Wicked”… 15 minutes later we somehow drifted into planning set-lists for the next sermon series.
Find a hobby/outlet that helps you keep your boundaries!
For me, it’s sports.
I am a pretty awful athlete. I didn’t even really follow sports until I was into my 20’s. Now I listen to sports radio, try to catch a few games, make a couple of fantasy line-ups, etc.
The trick, though, is making sure your hobby/outlet doesn’t become a vice. Keep it in check!
3. Have Ministry Friends Outside Of Your Church
Like, actual friends. Not the people you say, “Oh yeah, my buddy leads worship at the megachurch across town.” But they’re not really a friend; they’re someone you met once at a conference and secretly covet their job.
I mean, actual friends. You need people you can and do hang out with. There is something about having close friends that are in the same place as you but aren’t in the actual same place as you.
These people serve you (and you serve them) as a kindred spirit of sorts. You’re in it together, but they become a safe place to talk, vent, and dream, without crossing boundaries with your fellow staff members.
They allow you to remember you’re not alone.
4. Prayer & Study
This is the biggie.
This is not a Bible study that is actually prep for your next series. It’s not reading up on the notes for the small group you’re leading.
Much like you shouldn’t go into fasting because you think it can also help you lose weight, you shouldn’t go into your personal prayer and study life looking for lyrics to a worship song you’re writing for the Easter message.
This is prayer and study that is just you and God. Maybe your spouse joins you in it occasionally. Maybe you use a book of common prayer. Maybe you listen to some sermon podcasts. Whatever you do, read your Bible and pray.
I hope you find these tips useful. Remember, whenever you feel burnt out, there is someone rooting for you. And let me hear from you below: what are some activities you do to get your head out of your worship leading?
Dusty Wallace is a worship leader from central Ohio, the owner/operator of Wallace Creative LLC, and cohost of The Plugged In Church podcast. You can find more about him at DustyWallace.org and on Twitter @DustyWallaceMUS.