Our Perception of Success

We all want things to go well in a Sunday morning environment. We want the music to flow and to avoid awkward transitions and wrong notes. We want the screens to look the way we designed and the video to play the way it’s supposed to. We want the planning that we’ve done to be effective. It’s important that those things happen and even in the book of Psalms, chapter 33, David says, “play skillfully.” I propose that we can take those words and make them be even beyond music and let them be about what we are presenting to the Lord as well as the congregation. We want it to be our best and we want it to come together. But every so often when we’ve done the work and come to the Lord with the right heart, things don’t go how we planned. We very quickly take it on ourself to evaluate and we make the failure something that we did.  Sometimes that is the case. Sometimes we dropped the ball and missed something in our planning. Sometimes there was a technical glitch that could have been foreseen that we could have been on top of. Those are really good lessons to learn from. But sometimes things happen and it didn’t matter how much planning we did ahead of time, there was nothing anyone could have done to prevent the things that went wrong.

In my experience I still end up being disappointed with myself and frustrated with myself.  “Why didn’t I see that coming? Why didn’t I see that technical problem? Why didn’t I pay better attention to the guitar I’m playing? How did I miss that note or word in that song? How did I miss that typo in the power point.” It’s so easy to beat ourselves up after service because something didn’t go exactly how we had planned.  But the thing that I’ve come to realize over the years is some of the most meaningful and authentic times of worship I’ve had in our church or in a church that I’ve been serving in have been in times where I was disappointed with the performance that we had because someone missed something. Here I am after the service frustrated, disappointed, irritated, with myself or someone on the team, and low and behold someone comes up after service, gives me a hug, and says, “God used you in an incredible way today,” or “Your worship leading allowed me to worship in a more meaningful way today,” or “Something in your message today spoke deeply to my heart,” or, “I’m going to make some big changes because of how God used you today.” Time after time after time, I have observed people who come out of a service that I thought didn’t go well, yet they validate the thought that it wasn’t my service to begin with, it was God’s service!

So often, the things that we as creatives and worship leaders are after, such as the perfect set, the perfect service, and the perfect flow, are so important because if we deliver perfection, it’s easier for God to work with that. I propose that is a false assumption. Now, before you throw rocks at me for saying that doing a good job isn’t important, let me clarify. We always want to strive to do our best to plan effectively, that is very important and I’m not saying to minimize that. What I am saying is that we offer up our best and we leave the results to God. Our best is never going to connect someone to the Lord if the Lord’s not in it, or if someone’s not receptive. And our worst is not a failure if God is in it. He can use both sides! So as you go into your worship leading this week, try to take on a different perspective. We have an abundance of examples out there that we look at every week of people at large churches and people who are very successful in their worship career. People who have well produced services and plans and everything seems to just be perfect. What if we could take that off the platform in terms of our goal and simply make it about God showing up thru our successes and failures, and allow the results of that work and that experience be something that God did?  What if we could leave the results to God, and how would that change our ability to evaluate a service by looking at it through God’s eyes?

God’s filter always comes down to a transformed heart. So what would that look like? How would that change our attitude? How would that change our week if we looked at the result as completely God’s hand at work?

Leave a Comment