Perfectionism in Worship

This spring, I had a big goof up as I led worship one Sunday. I won’t bore you with details, but let’s just say it was terribly embarrassing! And although I HATED with all of my heart to mess up like that, particularly on our new pastor’s first Sunday, it gave me some food for thought.

As I stood on stage drenched in sweat with my face a million different shades of red and wanting to disappear into the floor, I realized the unhappy truth that I can be obsessed with perfection as a worship leader.

I want every single thing to go as smoothly as possible, and I want each service to go without a glitch because I want people to worship, to learn, and most of all, to not be interrupted as they draw near to God. Because this is so important to me and because I desire for any offering I bring to be done with excellence, I can sometimes become more obsessed with EXCELLENCE than I am with WORSHIP.

That’s what happened to me that Sunday. Okay, I’ll admit that I was also just thoroughly embarrassed. I mean, who wants to mess up in front of a new boss and a crowd of people??? No one! I found in that instant that my concern with perfection had more to do with my own pride than it did with my offering to God. To be truthful, most people in the congregation just thought it was slightly amusing and went on without it bothering them. No big deal. But to me, it was a moment of humiliation.


If I am truthful and honest, I will have to say that it is because I was embarrassed by my lack of perfection as a worship leader on Sunday. Now I am well aware that I am not perfect as a leader. Far from it. I am reminded every day of the wisdom I do not yet possess, of the frailty of my body as my voice cracks or my memory fails as I forget a word. But there is just something so difficult about having it so blatantly exposed for all to see! In that moment, I was more concerned with my own “perfection” than with worshiping God. And while a desire for excellence is all well and good, it is not more important than worshiping God!

In my obsession with perfection, I deny something wonderful about myself – my own humanity. It is my humanity that allows me to worship Christ as my Savior! To bring a free will offering of worship and adoration is a uniquely human opportunity. Angels were created to worship; creation was created to declare the glory of God. We alone – as humans – get to choose.

And so in that moment, I had to choose. I had to accept my frailty, my humanity, and I had to offer God my worship anyway. I had to push on and choose to become more concerned about worshiping God than my own “excellence,” or in this case, lack thereof.

I had to choose to look at Christ instead of keeping my eyes focused on myself.

What do you think? Can we as worship leaders become so overly concerned with “excellence” and “perfection” that we lose the heart of worship?   

Read more from this author at

Previous article7 Rules to Help Volunteers Show Up to Meetings
Next articleWhen is Evangelism a Bait-and-Switch?'
Toni Ridgaway is a content editor for the Outreach Web Network, including and