How To Accept A Compliment

You played great. Somebody said so. Now what?

Stop me if this sounds familiar. You’re packing up your gear after a Sunday gathering, and someone comes up and says something like “That was awesome” or “You were really shredding those keys today.” It can take you off guard. You didn’t join the worship team for attention so how should you respond when you get it?

It’s not you. It’s God, right?

Wrong-ish. God has given You His best and you’ve responded with yours, but it is still your best. God may use your playing in powerful ways and you may be responding to the Holy Spirit, but there’s still plenty of you in whatever you’re doing. Imagine if God took a guitar solo on Sunday morning. Do you really think it would be a match to yours?

The Reality

Here’s the thing: that person who compliments you isn’t saying that you’re so awesome they couldn’t focus on God. They are telling you that your hard work and practice time made their experience better. They are appreciating you. The correct response to a compliment like that? Try “Thank you”. It works everytime. 

Jason Houtsma serves as Worship Pastor for Mosaic Church in Bellingham, WA, Husband to Alli, Father to Bjorn and Asher, and guitar instructor for

How To Accept A Compliment

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how do you not get prideful

how do you not get prideful when that happens a lot? Also, it's happening a lot more for me and I feel like people are starting to get annoyed by hearing others always complimenting me, or they feel like I'm expecting to be complimented almost every time. This happens almost every week. Any advice?

I think

you can't worry about how other people perceive others complimenting you. That's usually their issue and not yours.

As far as staying humble, If we have a right perspective that our value comes from God's loves for us, it's actually pretty difficult to take ourselves too seriously. Closeness with God breeds natural humility.

Keep your personal life with God in a healthy place other people's opinions of you won't affect your self worth.

I hope you don't mind -- this is so well said...

I'm going to steal your quote "Keep your personal life with God in a healthy place -- other people's opinions of you won't affect your self worth." This applies to every part of our lives.


Steal away!

the struggle is real....

I have the privilege of working with a youth praise band. (And Jason - you have changed what we're capable of. Wish I would have thought of WA first....just glad SOMEONE did!! ha ha...We are thankful). This is a mature group both musically and spiritually, so we have a range of working through the "I just want to worship" v "this feels like a performance" struggle. First, thanks for validating with this post that we all wrestle with how to balance such a public ministry, based on talent, that has a worldly counterpart that skews how we view the stage in general. The good news is that these kids are aware of pride, and don't want to get in anyone's way when leading. They want to glorify God first. But. What we as leaders must introduce is the fact musical preparation takes WORK. Its takes the left side of your brain as well as your spirit. It's great when the finished experience looks like we are "just worshipping" - but the musician's reality is that leading worship is a cognitive process...a million details...hours working things out at home and rehearsals...reacting to wherever the vocalists are that day...and that is OK.

We also have some struggling with the idea that to do things really well (why modify the riff when you can practice and DO IT!) is prideful. Almost to say 'go big or home' will make it about us and not God. For me (at 45 years old, different than 16....) I can honestly say of course we go big! Why would we NOT be the best we can be as our gift? It's almost as if they want to make worship small in order to not draw attention to themselves, thinking this is how to not be a stumbling block, or how they protect God's glory. It's interesting what we do to control other people's opinions. Anyway - lots of words to say thanks for sharing such common themes as we work to the glory of God through our gifts!

It's funny

how much we place on ourselves when it comes to leading worship. "If I do this, it's going to get in the way of God's glory". Say it out loud and it sounds ridiculous. If I can really get in God's way then my God is not big enough.

I work hard. I prepare. I give my best, but no matter how hard I try, my best is flawed. Still God loves me and accepts my worship and gratitude. It's the most humbling thing in the world. I think if we recognize this excellence and humility can live in harmony. sounds so phoney sounds so phoney when someone gives a compliment and we react with this, "well, you know it was Jesus doing it all" It makes them feel as though they are somehow less spiritual than they should be! You certainly don't want to receive a compliment in a way that causes pain to that person giving the gracious gift to you!

God should be the number 1

God should be the number 1 priority in our lives.
If we put God first, we won't be affected by people's compliments.

Interesting subject

I agree the answer is thank you. In reflecting some of the comments for me I have developed some thoughts. I see the job of worship leader and team as having the job of helping others worship. If somehow I get to do it so myself at the same time it’s a bonus but it’s not for me. That said the best I can lead is being at the point I’m also an example. There was a time when buildings were built to hide the singers ( choir loft) but now those individuals are front and center. We have copied the worldly ways of entertainment. We become the focus. Where does entertainment end and worship start? I think it’s begins with our spirits. If we have a spirit of worship that will come out instead of the entertainer. Next we must do our best. A bad performance let’s people focus on our mistakes instead of God. We are and will not be perfect but the more we take distractions out of the equations the more we can lead others. So if I have not gotten good enough to be in a place to worship while leading I must perform so that others can worship. Servant leadership. I once went to see a speaker. Half hour of great music and people were juiced. Then the leader said that was for you now let’s worship God. Worship started and it was powerful.

Thank the Anointing Giver!

"Spot On" Jason. Partly because so much of today's congregational worship music is guitar driven, and especially for those of us who play electric lead/rhythm, we do get the compliments. Compliments troubled me also, at first, but I learned years ago that a simple, "Thank You" was the best response. In those instances we have to remember who gave us the gift, and the anointing, and who directed our steps (Prov. 16:9) to position us to be on the platform that day. It helps me to whisper a quiet "thank you, Father" at those moments. It's also good to mention back to the person how good the rest of the team is.

Great thoughts, professor.

We write these articles to give very basic and practical tips. Hopefully, they help us practice our place in God's kingdom. The more we let God change our hearts, the more natural our response to both Him and others.