How To Avoid Becoming A Jaded Worship Musician

Episode #12

If anyone should be jaded about worship music it should be the guy who's posted over 300 worship guitar lessons and the guy that's been in professional worship ministry for 14 years. Jason and Daniel Ornellas talk how to avoid becoming jaded in worship. Follow us @WorshipAPodcast and leave us a review on iTunes here.

3 Great Questions From The Live Show

Are there any signs that a leader should look for in a person donating their time that may lead to them having ulterior motives? Or signs that someone is becoming jaded?

Daniel: Have a conversation with the person that wants to get involved. Let’s start here: I remember my dad was a worship pastor of a church in South Africa.  He often had people come through the church that were brand new members that were really talented people and they would come and say, “hey, I want to lead worship.”  And my dad would say, “let’s hang out for a while.  Come to church for three months, join a LifeGroup, and if that leads to something, great.”  It would be, like three weeks and they’d be gone.  Their real motivation was to find a church and stand on that stage and sing.  Find out from that person in your church, their LifeGroup leader, whatever community they’re most connected to, feel out where they’re at in life.   Feel whether they’re at a place where they’re ready for that kind of situation, whether they’re ready to be up there.  A LifeGroup leader or someone who’s involved closely with them will know more about them.  Get involved in their lives, see where they’re at, take them for lunch, ask them what their idea of worship is, why they would like to serve, what’s their vibe, and I’m sure you’ll pick it up pretty quickly, what their motivations are.  Have a good conversation right at the beginning to say, “I don’t ever want you to feel bummed with the Lord about anything that you do in regards to worship or our church.  And I want you to keep open conversations.  If something bothers you, please come and talk to me about it immediately.  Don’t just go home thinking, ‘Oh I wish they hadn’t said that to me’ or ‘man, they keep turning my microphone down.”  That’s the stuff that eventually becomes something and grows into something nasty.  Keep the air clear the whole time.  Maybe even just have a conversation before worship practice to ask, “what did you guys like about last week, is there anything we can do better?”  Those kind of conversations, really wanting to hear what people are saying, really wanting to fix those problems, I think, can be the answer.

Jason:  A lot of that stuff is just awareness, being in a posture where you’re there to serve.  If you’re in that space, you’ll notice when things are off.  It’s rare that people say, “I’m struggling,” and you say, “really, I had no idea!” Some people are really great at hiding things.  But, if there is someone who is normally on time but they’re starting to show up late, or if a band member is snickering and sarcastic, having  those conversations opens things up and you can see some of those heart issues.

Daniel: There’s no point in being a situation in which someone serves the church for five years and then completely leaves the church and leaves their faith.  That’s not a win. 

If this is resonating with me and I’m recognizing jaded-ness in myself, what should I do personally to “turn it around?”

Jason: Step away for a while and get some perspective.  It’s really hard to be in a place where you’re burned out or frustrated.  There’s nothing wrong with stepping away.  Create those boundaries.  If you’re trying to figure out where you’re at because you’re not sure, you don’t have to set a time limit on it, but step back and say, “I’m noticing this in myself a bit.  I just want to make sure my heart is right.”  I think anyone should be okay with that.  You’re not going to lose your spot on the team because you’re taking a short break.  Or maybe it’s a long break.  Sometimes you just need to take that step away.  I’ve definitely recognized jadedness in myself.  I can speak to it because I know it so well! 

Daniel:  I think a good thing you could do, if you take a piece of paper, draw a line down the middle, write “reasons why I still want to be involved” on one side, and the other, “reasons why I don’t want to be involved.” Or “Why am I unhappy with worship?” and “Why am I happy with worship?”  Try to write down as many things as you can on both sides.  If the reasons not to do it outweigh the reasons to do it, maybe you should take a break.  Tell your leader,  “there are so many reasons why I don’t think I should be doing this right now.”  If you start writing them out, you might find a lot of reasons why you really want to do it.  Then it’s all about perspective and the reason you’re feeling jaded is because you haven’t had a look at the good side of what you do in a while.  Perhaps you haven’t felt, “man, I really enjoy the fact that people get to meet with Jesus when I do this.” Or you talk through it and that sense of bitterness can actually go away.  Because bitterness happens when something in your mind has built up to a point where you say, “I don’t like this because of these things.”  A lot of those things might not even be real, they might be perceptions of things.  For instance, if I was at a festival and say, David Crowder walked straight past me and didn’t say, ‘hi’ but actually he’s a really shy guy and once you get to know him he’s amazing.  Suddenly the reason for being jaded is gone.  Finding the good things might outweigh the bad things. 

Jason:  The other side of it is, in stepping back, you may realize you don’t enjoy this anymore, or that desire is changing.  Since I was 15 years old, my only desire was to be in a band that ‘made it.’  I loved doing shows, I loved being in front of people, I loved going and playing at that bar, I’d see speakers and a band play and think, “I want to do that so badly!”  I had this one band that eventually flamed out and was doing this other one and we were doing shows here and there, but it just got to be a lot for me.  We’d go to a bar and they’d say, “sure, we’d love for you to play, but we need you to pack this place at midnight on Tuesday.”  Sorry, but the people who listen to us are older than straight out of college!  I can’t pack that place because I’ve got to get up for work in the morning.  I played a few more shows and then dissolved the band.  I haven’t done a concert in a very long time and every time I see one, I thought I would miss it because it was such a part of my life for so long.  Instead, every time I go to a restaurant and I see a band setting up I am so glad I’m not doing that.  I love leading worship but I don’t miss that at all.  You might step back and think, “that was by far the best thing I could have done.”

Daniel: Don’t be manipulated into thinking that if you’re not leading worship on Sunday that you’re not serving the Lord.  You don’t have to be involved in the building of the church somehow for someone else to make you feel like you’re serving God. 

What are some ways you guys have succeeded at talking through tensions with teammates?

Daniel: Sometimes it’s really, really hard!  Sometimes you’re completely outnumbered because maybe one person has a really strong personality and everyone else doesn’t want to actually conflict with that person, so you’re on your own and if you take them on it’s like taking on Goliath.  In that situation, you could get a mediator to come in that you both trust.  Say, “I feel like you’re not hearing me when I talk, I would like someone to come in.”  Perhaps another pastor within the church or even from another church that is neither one of our friend but someone who is a different ear.  We’ve had situations where we’ve had someone to come in to mediate and make suggestions.  Most of the time, you’ll find that people are more willing to chat about things than you think.  I promise you this: confrontation unto resolution brings intimacy.  I believe that with my whole heart.  If your chatting about this because you still want this to work, then you’re building toward something and your closeness will grow more.  If you’re trying to have a confrontation so that you can leave the band, that’s very different from having a confrontation because you want to save the band.  Like marriages; if you’re fighting in your marriage, you’re actually probably healthier than if you’re not fighting.  If you’ve given up fighting, that means that you don’t care anymore.  If you’re fighting because you want your marriage to work and you can’t live like this, things need to change, and you have that argument, then you can stay together.  But if you just suffer in silence because there’s no way you’re going to get it together, that’s miserable.  A lot of worship bands and church situations end up like that.  They think “I’ll come because I have to for the Lord but I’m not really into this whole thing.”  Don’t wait until it’s emotional.  That’s the secret.  Don’t get to the end of the practice where you’re really ticked off and go, “that is enough!”  Rather just say, “hey can we meet on Tuesday?”  Then when you meet on Tuesday, you’re walking in completely fresh, not angry, emotional anymore.  Put your emotions to the side and say, “our relationship is not on the table for discussion because I love you and I want to work this out.  That’s not why I’m here.  I’m here because there’s this other issue that I think if we can get there, we’re going to be way better off.”

Jason:  A lot of times those issues come up because we haven’t drawn boundaries.  (I’m seeing this in my own life.) If you’re not someone who has drawn boundaries and you suddenly start drawing boundaries, that’s really hard for people.  Sometimes when you go into a band and the roles are laid out, sometimes it means you’re doing things you don’t want to be doing and that’s where frustration comes from.  When you decide that something needs to change, sometimes it’s going to be something that draws you intimately close, sometimes there will be people in your life for whom that is unacceptable.  When you do bring those issues up or draw those boundaries, they’re going to bail.  They’re going to push you away.  That’s not necessarily an unsuccessful confrontation.  Sometimes people in bad situations need to split.  Sometimes that happens.  Sometimes bands need to break up.  You don’t want to be suffering and holding it all inside; that’s just poisoning yourself. 

Daniel: Sometimes the things you think are massive issues probably aren’t issues to that person.  They can say, “I never knew you were feeling that way.” They can get totally resolved. 


Daniel Ornellas, worship leader in the band "The Worship Republic" is originally from South Africa. He moved to the US with his band Tree 63 and has toured and recorded with numerous worship artists. He produces records and lives in Nashville with his wife Samantha and their two kids and is the bass instructor for Worship Artistry.

How To Avoid Becoming A Jaded Worship Musician

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