Avoiding Complacency in Worship Leadership

By Jonathan Jones
February 21, 2023

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Something I deal with as a worship leader and pastor is complacency. I relate to worship ministry, but no matter which ministry context you are in, sooner or later, complacency can be a great temptation, and if we are not careful, we will serve our ministry days settling for mediocre ministry. This is not what the Lord intends of us though, and we must constantly fight it. How do we do so though? I have four thoughts regarding that.

Realize that Worship Is Not about You Looking Good

It is imperative that we realize worship is not about us at all; when we realize that, we remove the desire to look good or want to be seen. This helps greatly with our fulfillment in the ministry God has called us to. When we try to look good to others, we only deceive and fail ourselves. We are not perfect and cannot always look perfect so if that is our desire, our failures will cause discouragement. That is because we are more concerned with what people think rather than what God thinks. What is fascinating is that as human beings, there is an innate desire to look good so the only way we fight it is by walking in the Spirit. Things that are of the Spirit are opposite of things that are of the flesh. The only way, therefore, to fight the urge to look good and impress people is to live by the desires of the Spirit. When we remove the desire to look good and focus on the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our satisfaction in ministry increases greatly.

Design Worship Services in the Form of Scripture

As worship leaders, we often have the incredible inclination to design the worship services we lead around not only our own desires but also the desires of those we are to be leading. Remember that it is not about us at all. The dialogue of worship starts and ends with God. As Robert Webber would say, worship tells Godís story. Therefore, we must adapt to the story of God, namely scripture. Corporate worship must be formed around and shaped by scripture. Consider the Psalms. We have an amazing example of songs and prayers to God and how to design worship in that manner. When we do this, we have removed the element of human desire and thus conformed to the image of scripture by telling Godís story. The focus then becomes God, not us, so our ministry fulfillment is again not found in human praise.
Take Advice

It can be a frustrating thing for a worship leader to handle so many different opinions on a worship team, each person thinking their way is the right way. It has been said that a good leader is also a good follower. Yet how difficult is that for most of us? To alleviate frustration and weariness that leads to eventual mediocrity and complacency, it is necessary that worship leaders listen to others. We do not know it all. Other members of our worship teams often have great ideas. Listen to them, and take advice. After all, our team members represent our congregation whom we lead in worship. In order to aid in their worship experience, letís listen to them. It will lessen our frustration and allow for longevity in fruitful ministry.

Be a Mentor to Other Worship Leaders

One reason worship leaders often burn out and resort to complacency is frustration. This could be frustration with the lack of talent, frustration with attitudes, or anything that creates a negative environment. Certainly worship leaders must be among the most skilled in any given congregation. Along with that, however, often comes a demeaning of those less skilled. We must strive for excellence, but perfection is impossible. The only way to strive toward excellence is to gently guide our worship team members in that direction. This means we are to mentor other worship leaders and worship team members. When we view our role as a minister rather than a performer, we realize that we are called to guide and direct Godís people toward more excellent worship. Taking on this call and embracing it allows us to receive the joy of the Lord in fulfilling the great task he has given us and not to become discouraged and resort to complacency and frustration.


Worship leaders are given an incredible task. This is a call, not a job, and we must treat it as such. In that light then, we must never grow frustrated and complacent in what we do. God demands our best, and he uses us in our weakness. We must allow ourselves to be led by and to walk by the Spirit of God and glorify him in the way in which we lead his people in worship. Complacency is not an option.

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