What does a worship leader do with occasional but never ending negetive feed back. Mostly opinion drivin. Example: "Oh by the way, when we sing hymns, can we pick hymns without a ton of words, or if they do, at least make sure they have a chorus". this kind of trivia sickins me in my effort to do the best I can to sing and lead what and where God wants to go. For the most part we have great worship with great congregational participation, week after week, yet on an occasional Sunday with one perhaps misplaced song, someone will just have to spout about it. Is this the norm?/ And How do you handle it?
I took a rest from being "up front", and had a turn on the sound desk for the first time in a long time the other week. I'm reliably informed that it was the loudest it has been for a long time..... no big complaints, though.
I think a lot of it has to do with discernment of what is valuable criticism, and what is just "whining." It's also easy to accuse a worship leader on here of having a big head but we don't know all the situations each of us are in, and what our congregations are like to make those kinds of judgements. My previous position I left for a wide variety of reasons, but one of them was a frustration and general lack of common sense in some of the complaints. For example, (the one that just flat out irritated me) is one Sunday I got really sick, and completely lost my voice. I still showed up for service, and musically led the worship team but couldn't sing at all. Luckily, I had worked with one of the other singers, and she was confident enough to vocally lead the service, and the general feedback I got was that the music went fine, (there was an announcement made about my condition, and I was in the prayer request) but someone wrote in complaining (not about the music) but attacked me for not singing, and that I was the music director and was hired to lead the congregation. When the pastor brought this complaint to my attention, I felt this was absolutely out of the bounds of logic, and flat out accused this "demand" as an intent to cause bodily harm to me, (forcing the voice to sing in such a condition can damage the vocal chords) and even still, my concerns were ignored. Lets just say it didn't end well lol
Music is pretty divisive stuff so yes this is pretty normal. Sometimes the sheep bite. My advice...
What's so bad about feedback being opinion-driven? Positive feedback is normally emotion-or-opinion-driven! So why not the negative? It is hard to take when someone seems to be too lazy to open his mouth and pronounce "a lot of words", especially when we read a Bible that has... lots and lots of words.
But still, it's hard to beat being nice, having some sort of logic if you hope to defend yourself, and lots of grace if you have no defense other than your own opinion. Remember, the nasty person will habitually consider his or her friends to be "everybody", or at least the "lots of people" who are like-minded. There are at least four knots of like-minded people in any church, or any office, or any baseball team, even if there are only nine in attendance.
If you're nice, it helps other people be nice. Maybe they went all week and didn't meet a nice person, except someone who took their money at a cash register. Be nice for free.
Levite, here's a good book suggestion for you... The Art of Worship, The: A Musician's Guide to Leading Modern Worship by Greg Scheer. It speaks pretty directly to this subject. But it would also deal with it in a broader context. Worship Matters by Bob Kauflin is also a great book. Its like the gold standard for how to be a worship leader.
Read a lot! You learn some much when you do... You can avoid a lot of painful lessons by ticking away a few pages.