Talent, vocal agility, guitar riffs, good looks, charismatic personality…some of the qualities that people look for in worship leaders today. Granted, all of these things hold merit; however, a worship leader without two very important characteristics will struggle to maintain longevity and even authenticity in leading worship. Character and Integrity.
You may have heard it said that “talent can get you on the stage, but character and integrity will keep you there”. Down through my years of leading worship and worship teams, I have at times selected people of character over people who may have possessed greater talent yet lacked a moral compass. Many times a lick or riff or vocal part was easier to teach than “doing what was right even when no one was looking”. We are really spoiled when we find people who have an innate sense of integrity AND are musically gifted. I HAVE been blessed in my lifetime to minister with such people.
Leaders are constantly observed with a magnifying glass, be it right or fair. Our lives are a “glass house”. We feel the pressure and often unrealistic expectation to be perfect, so we learn to sing the song and do the dance while covering the real life issues that we face. If the congregation sees the cracks and crevices of our broken, yet very real lives, then how will they respond? In this day of fallen Christian leaders, I believe that the Church and especially the world are crying out for authentic, anointed leaders filled with character and integrity.
Julie Ely is the worship pastor at Passion Church (www.passionchurch.tv) in Oklahoma City and an Elementary Music teacher in Piedmont, OK. Julie and her husband, Steve Ely, planted Passion Church in 2007. They have two sons, Devin and Tal.