The Friday Pickle – Do We Expect Too Much From Our Worship Leaders?

Posted by Craig Borlase on 29 August 2014

Writing in her book Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage, Elizabeth Gilbert has this to say of people getting married today:

‘Modern Americans bring to their marriages the most over-stuffed bundle of expectations the institution has ever seen. We expect that our partner will not merely be a decent person, but will also be our soul mate, our best friend, our intellectual companion, our greatest sexual partner and our life’s complete inspiration. Nobody in human history has ever asked this much of a companion. It’s a lot to ask of one mere mortal, and the inevitable disappointments that follow such giant expectations can cripple marriages.’

What if we tweaked the quote a little?

‘Modern Christians bring to their church the most over-stuffed bundle of expectations the institution has ever seen. We expect that our worship leaders will not merely be decent people, but will also be our pastoral guru, our spokesperson for justice, our theologian-of-choice with a serious amount of social media traction, our favorite recording artist and our Christian life’s complete inspiration. Nobody in human history has ever asked this much of a companion. It’s a lot to ask of one mere mortal, and the inevitable disappointments that follow such giant expectations can cripple churches.’

Maybe it’s too much of a stretch, but maybe - just maybe - there’s an element of truth about it. And if there is - if we really are loading too many expectations upon worship leaders and songwriters, isn’t it about time we stopped?

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