The Worship Leader with the Slung-Back Guitar

Today I had an image come to mind as I was listening to the Love and War Worship podcast Episode #3: The Worship Leader Persona. It was an image of two worship leaders side-by-side. One had his guitar in the front of him ready to play and the other with his guitar slung behind his back. If you’re a guitarist, you might be thinking that he better have strap locks on that expensive Taylor (or *cough* Martin – can you tell I’m a Taylor guy?). Anyhow, this image struck me in a meaningful way and got me thinking about the identity of the modern worship leader, which includes the themes of both calling and vocation.

Early in my ministry in the mid-2000’s I had these 3 things (identity, calling, and vocation) intertwined, where my identity was defined by my calling and vocation. To me at this time, my identity and worth were wrapped up in what I brought to the table… my musical skill, my creative ideas for worship, the delivery on Sundays, etc, etc. So if I had an “off” Sunday, I could easily question my position aka vocation. After listening to Jon and Jack of Love and War Worship discuss the persona of the modern worship leader, I was reminded of the life of Jesus. This is where the calling comes in… as sons and daughters of God our calling is to be formed into the likeness of Jesus through the work of the Holy Spirit, to represent the Father to the world with all the authority of heaven and earth, to build spiritual family, and to make disciples [no matter our vocation]. Notice I didn’t list worship leader in this description of our calling.

This is where the 2 images of the worship leaders with guitars comes in. Both have guitars, but 1 is in front and 1 is behind his back. The 1 with his guitar in front placed his vocation of worship leader as his identity and calling. The 1 with his guitar slung around his back considered his vocation of worship leader as a tool to enhance his calling as disciple-maker and flow from his identity as child of God.

I believe that the persona of the modern worship leader is the image of the worship leader with his guitar in front living from an identity where vocation and calling are contained on the Sunday-morning-stage.

  • What would it look like to embrace disciple-maker as your calling before your vocation as a worship leader?
  • Looking at Jesus’ life in the book of Luke, where do you see discrepancies between your ministry and His? How might He be inviting you to spend your time differently?
  • What would it look like to utilize your gift of music and passion for worship off the stage beyond the Sunday-morning experience? Always ready with guitar slung around the back, but hands free to be about our Father’s business of making disciples and building spiritual family.