Who’s Leading Who?

It was your typical Sunday worship service. I invited the congregation to gather for worship. There was some sort of theme that went along with the message. We had a variety of old and new songs, with a balance of celebration and confession. But to be quite honest with you, I don’t even remember any of the particulars. I don’t remember the theme at all. I couldn’t tell you what the songs were if my life depended on it. I don’t remember what colors the lights were, or anything about the stage design. Yet, it was one of the most powerful corporate worship experiences of my life.

On the front row sat a young boy, probably around 12 years old, in a wheel chair. While we all stood, he sat. But there was one song in particular where the congregation was very engaged. And as I led, this trembling boy stood up, sang with all his heart, clapped his hands, and even struggled to jump a few times.

While 700 other people may have seen the stage, the lights, the microphone, and assumed that I was leading them in worship, the reality was that this boy was leading me.

One of the most powerful elements of corporate worship is the interplay between the worship leader and the congregation. A lifeless leader will rarely draw out vibrant worship from a congregation. An unengaged congregation will leave a worship leader feeling insecure and impatient.

However, when the worship leader is pouring his entire heart, mind, and body into leading the congregation, and the congregation responding in the same way, the result is that both are leading each other.

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