When You’re Discouraged as a Worship Leader

Ever feel like you’re all alone and no one understands?

It’s impossible to serve and labor in the local church and not be discouraged at times.

I feel there is a unique discouragement for worship leaders due to the nature of combining art and ministry.

Are we artists or are we pastors? Are we creatives or are we managers?

Do we make art or do we lead and mobilize people?

For most of us, the answer to these questions is “yes.” We juggle numerous identities in one multifaceted job description.

But there’s also the danger of discontentment. We want what others have:

  • A congregation that worships like Bethel.
  • A budget that rivals Elevation.
  • A creativity that flourishes like Hillsong.
  • Talent that is stacked like Gateway.
  • Awards, recognition and success like Chris Tomlin.

But you don’t live in that world. Matter of fact, it seems like a different universe. You are so far removed, so alone, and dealing with struggles that are embarrassing to admit.

Maybe you don’t have enough musicians. Every week is a struggle to to find a drummer. Most of the time you go without.

Maybe your musicians aren’t very skilled. They don’t have time to study worship music during the week because they have kids and work and a mortgage to pay.

I’m afraid the worship industry doesn’t serve us well in the local church. The industry of songs and stars isn’t where we live.

Local Church Success

Our ministry is to people, one at a time. We are worship leaders. We worship God, love God, pursue God. We also lead—effectively lead our congregations, not the inflation of our egos or simply the pursuit of more creativity.

We lead—pulling people by the hand, guiding, directing, spotlighting a glory outside ourselves.

I know it can be discouraging. Where you live, not much encouragement, fame or praise resides. You feel like the furthest thing from a superstar.

But what you’re doing week in and week out is changing lives. You’re creating an environment for people’s unanswered questions, unrelenting pain and distracted hearts to find purpose.

You haven’t been called to make a difference from a distance. You’ve been summoned up close and personal—to lead God’s people, His children, to pursue Him.

When you feel discouraged, know that influencing stadiums isn’t the only successful ministry. Influencing one life is just as celebrated in the halls of Heaven.

You, my friend, are a superstar in God’s eyes.

Keep loving. Keep serving. Keep doing the next right thing.

I’d love to hear from you. I know this is a world we all live in.

What are your current discouragements?  

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David Santistevan
David is a Worship Pastor at Allison Park Church in Pittsburgh, PA.