Last year, I was on a small bus with a group of conference speakers, pastor’s wives, and business women all heading to a weekend retreat. As we were all chatting and getting to know each other, several small groups broke off and began their own conversations. The group I landed in was discussing the local church when a woman said, “You know, worship leaders really are a dime a dozen…..” Now, I’m sure she followed up it up with something positive, but I didn’t hear it. My mind was too busy dodging the arrows of those words. Unaware that I was the worship leader for the retreat, she couldn’t have known how that comment would attempt to pry its way into my heart. This was a familiar dance for the enemy and me. In his vast arsenal, “Insignificance” was his favorite weapon to use against me. But having been down this road before, I was prepared! I had an encounter with God several years prior that equipped me for such a battle, and it is this encounter I’d like to share with you.
At the time, praise and worship music had begun making its way onto the radio and climbing the CCM charts. Song writers and worship leaders were emerging as the face and voice of this modern day worship movement around the world. My husband and I were worship pastors at a small church in Nashville and I also led worship for Mercy Ministries. I loved being a worship leader, but as the fame and notoriety of these obviously talented worship leaders began rising, I felt as if I were shrinking. I found myself feeling anxious, unsatisfied, and insignificant. I began feeling afraid that I wasn’t good enough, afraid that I couldn’t keep up! I realize now that I had unknowingly believed a lie the enemy had been whispering in my ear for quite some time, “If you lead worship for a small church, you must not be very good.” For months this thought quietly tiptoed across the floor of my mind until, eventually, it found a cozy little spot smack dab in the middle of my head.
Have you heard those whispers? Have they escalated to a scream? Have you allowed yourself to believe the lie that says, “What you’re doing doesn’t matter unless it is done before the masses”?
I secretly struggled with this for some time until one day when I found myself out on a long walk. I was praying and pouring out my heart, “God, I have dreams… big, unfulfilled dreams! I just want to lead worship.” A thought came to me that I knew was the Lord. It was clear… painfully clear. He said, “No, Michelle, you don’t JUST want to lead worship, you want to be SEEN leading worship. You want to see the ‘impressed’ look in others eyes when you tell them where and with whom you lead worship. You lead worship every day, so if your desire was JUST to lead worship, you would be perfectly content right where you are.” I was silenced. It was ugly and it was true!
The bottom line is that what I really wanted, and if we’re all honest with ourselves, what we all want is to feel important. I wanted my name to be KNOWN! Then God simply said, “Michelle, I know your name, and you are right where you are needed.” That’s it! He said nothing else. No promises of bigger and better things to come. No guarantees of accolades and fame. He did, however, leave me with a peace that filled lungs and allowed me to breathe again. I WAS exactly where I was supposed to be. I was NEEDED in my church and so are YOU!
If you are feeling anxious and insignificant; if you are feeling unloved and unknown, remember Isaiah 49:16 says, “God has written YOUR NAME on His hand.” Think about that, your name, written on the hand of God. He knows your name and He knows where you are.
Your church needs a worship leader passionate and determined to lead them into the presence of God. Your church needs worship that prepares their hearts to hear from the Lord. Your church doesn’t need just any worship leader, they need YOU!
So, the next time you hear the zing of the lying arrows flying past, sharpen your sword and go into battle knowing — GOD KNOWS YOUR NAME!!!
Michelle has led worship for ministries such as Women of Faith. Currently, she is the founder and worship leader for Spark Women’s Conference, a women’s conference designed specifically for the local church. For more information on Spark Women’s Conference click here. You can follow Michlle on Twitter @SwiftMichelle.