One of the most difficult things Creatives face in using their creativity in the church is criticism. I’m not talking about the 80 year old man/lady who complains about the drums being to loud. I’m talking about the criticism we give ourselves. When it comes to this issue, we are likely our own worst enemies. Nothing we do is ever good enough in our own minds. We could sing/play 99% of a song just perfectly, but we will only dwell on the 1% we may have screwed up. And when I say we dwell on it, I mean it runs over and over in our minds. At times, we even lose sleep over it. And likely, we are the only one who even noticed the mistake.
So here are the things that I do personally to not bring my critical spirit into worship:
When Sunday morning service is over, I let it go!
I’ve learned that no matter how much I want to, I don’t get a do-over. There’s literally nothing I can do about it. I have to let it go and trust that Jesus saw my heart and used whatever I gave for His glory. That’s not to say that on Tuesdays during staff meeting I don’t pick it back up again and analyze it. We analyze ever Sunday service in order to make it better, not to criticize or cast blame. It actually helps me let it go when I can talk out the problems/kinks with our staff. They usually give me a much different interpretation of how things went, because they aren’t looking at worship through a critical lens. They’re just wanting to meet with Jesus.
Understand the Goal.
What is the goal in your worship services?
If you’re the leader, what are you trying to accomplish? What do you want you congregation to go home with? If you are the leader and your goal is spot on tech cues, perfect vocals, and perfect instrumentation, you’re going to be disappointed pretty much every week, whether you’re working with volunteers or paid musicians/tech. (Side note: Just because the people in your ministry are volunteers doesn’t somehow decrease the standards you should expect…that’s for another day, however).
If you’re in the audience, what is your goal?
I think most people in our congregation aren’t looking for some spot on rock show. They are looking to meet with Jesus. This doesn’t decrease our standards in worship. It, more accurately, increases them! In a show, you can use lights and smoke and the sense of illusion to cause people to have a certain type of emotion. In worship I believe our job is to eliminate all of the distractions that keep people from being able to focus on Jesus. At times, that requires us scaling back all the smoke and mirrors to facilitate this meeting between Creator of the Universe and us. Wow! That’s pretty dang cool!
So, for me each week is about meeting with Jesus. Period. That isn’t to minimize the preparation. Rather, it shows the gravity of the situation.
Realize that your perfection is not the requirement.
For a long time in the church, we were forced to sit through painful choir specials and soloists (with accompaniment tracks) who had no business even singing in the shower. Over time, requirements for participating in worship ministry tightened up. For the most part, churches are using auditions as a standard of choosing individuals. I personally think this is a good thing when done right. But let’s face it. No one can be perfect all of the time, and the good news is that Jesus uses us in spite of us. He even used those bad choir specials and soloists.
The Bible says in Matthew 18:20, “Where two or three are gathered in my Name, I am there in the midst of them.” That’s the requirement. So don’t put so much pressure on yourselves to perform. Jesus can handle it. It is His Spirit that leads people to repentance. Just allow yourselves to be open and used by Him.
What are your thoughts? Maybe you don’t work in full-time ministry, but you have a super critical boss. How do you deal with criticism?