I just listened through a Merle Haggard concert on Palladia the other day and I heard him say something cool. One day,he stepped out of his tour bus and was greeted by a man and his wife with their little girl. The girl said, "is that the man who wrote big city?" Instead of being all prideful about it, Haggard said, "I realized that put me secondary to the song itself. It's about the song, not me. It's neat to know things like that."
So it struck me - Merle Haggard is no example to follow. But he did seem to have some insight - perhaps Christian insight. We should take it to heart.
Hmmm--maybe the thread title is turning folks (will I get booed for using that???) away. Yes, there is great insight here. The first thing I thought about, as strange as it sounds, was Mark 10:14-15. I can picture the scene at the bus. In my imaginings the parents are thrilled to be meeting THE Merle Haggard while the girl is just excited about a connection with the song. In our world, at least in America, celebrity worship seems to be a way of life both inside and outside the church. The popularity of celebrity magazines and shows (TMZ, Entertainment Tonight, etc.) in the world and the almost (dare I say it) idol worship we seem to have with some celebrated pastors and worship singers is troubling. I used to get a weekly newsletter from another worship site where it seemed like the whole thing was self-promoting products and namedropping of who the guy knew and hung around with. Sure--the message was 'worship the Lord' but the 'these are the songs and style/method that do it' was a bit too much.
Now--how does this relate to us in the worship ministry? I guess realizing that's it's not about us, our instruments, the lighting, or the sound equipment is a good start. It's also, as much as I personally hate to admit it, not about which songs are played or how much extra 'texture' we can add to them using our God-given talents and gifts. It's not about hymns or contemporary worship songs/choruses. It's not about acoustic guitar vs organ vs modern style rock band with or without horns/flutes vs choir vs solo singer vs (add your favorite point here). It IS about coming to Jesus as a little child. We're not seeing Him as someone famous. We're just seeing Him as someone who loves us and is fun to be with.
I may have read too much into the original post, but that's what I see in it.
I thought about renaming it, "the gospel from Merle Haggard", but really, that would be misleading.
But you're onto it. I just thought it was funny that this guy is so not a Christian example and yet here he is, realizing that he's not all that important. Worship leaders would do well to think the same thing about themselves.
I love your statement:
"almost (dare I say it) idol worship we seem to have with some celebrated pastors and worship singers is troubling"
I totally feel the same way.
We have to realize that if we were on trial for killing one of our neighbors, we would be so much more popular...
Wisdom from Muskogee!
We recognize the author of a song because we know someone who can write a good song can write more good songs (hopefully).
Occasionally a fine singer can bring out qualities in a song that the author can't produce, or, more often, a famous singer gives wings to a song simply because of their name.
A song is an expression of you, the writer; but a Christian song is a portrait of Jesus. Look at great works of art in a gallery. You can hardly find the signatures. I doubt anyone ever asked Roentgen, or Marie Curie, or the guy who thought of drilling holes in bowling balls for an autograph; but their contributions to the world are undeniable.
But a good song stands on its own. And it's author does well not to get a big head about it, even though his/her fans decide to idolize him/her.
But my point here is that you can write a great song that all of Christendom adopts and you yourself can fall by the wayside and give in to the temptations of this world and yet the song still remains what it is because of the words and music. This should tell us something. Like when Elijah said, "I alone am left.." and God said, "I can raise up others, get your act together..."
This relates to worship leading in the same way - there is a worship leading job and frankly, anyone with some talent can do it. God doesn't need "us". Like Michael said, we're starting to idolize worship leaders. It's almost as if it's become the "age of the rise of the worship leader".
Let's see how it goes from here...