Be Careful What You Ask For (or, “Why What You Think You Need to Lead Might Not Be What You Really Need to Lead”)

lightingBe careful what you ask for. You Just might get it!

Have you ever wanted something in the worst way, only to find out that you didn’t want it once you got it, after all? I know I have! My garage has seen a lot of junk come and go over the years that I just had to have, only to realize it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be, or that I didn’t have the level of interest in it that made it useful (like all those exercise gadgets I’ve bought and never used!). Expert marketing just has a way of pulling us into things that aren’t always what we actually need.

If we’re not careful as leaders, we can fall into the trap of wanting something that may not be helpful to us, after all.

Take, for instance, the example of intelligent lighting. You’ve seen these amazing digital lights at, say, a Jesus Culture concert or a Passion Conference. Maybe the mega-church down the street has a million-dollar worship budget and just outfitted their new 3,000-seat auditorium with them. You attended their grand opening, and now you feel like “the country cousin come to town” – there’s just no way you could ever afford those lights for your church, but somehow you believe intelligent lighting is the one thing that would open up the heavens and cause your congregation to worship in spirit and truth.

So you convince the Lead Pastor and budget committee that all the worship problems in your church will be solved if they will scrap everything else and allocate every extra dollar for the entire year to purchasing these magic lights. The day finally comes when the boxes arrive, you unwrap them, set them all up, turn them on, and suddenly there’s a deep sinking feeling inside you. You realize that the lights are going to blind your 80-year old organist and trigger cranial seizures throughout your congregation. Maybe you should’ve invested in your people before buying a bunch of lights, especially if you expect them to worship God more than be dazzled by intelligent lights.

Okay, so that example is a stretch, but, can you identify with the temptation to think that something you could buy would increase the level of commitment to authentic worship in your congregation? Whether its lights or a sound board or a younger worship leader, aren’t we all subject to thinking sometimes that we can manipulate our people into worshiping?

In the end, the only thing that will deepen authentic worship is for the beauty of Jesus to be valued as the one essential element in our services. If we don’t hold that value as the dearest to our own hearts no kind of light in the world, intelligent or not, is capable of making others worship Him.

ChizBESTJohn Chisum is an internationally appreciated worship leader, songwriter, mentor, and clinician. Click here for information on The Worship Leader’s One-on-One Coaching with John Chisum. For information about booking John for a worship seminar, worship concert, or special event, contact him directly at, or call 251-533-5960.

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