Handling a Use-Me-or-Lose-Me Attitude

How do you respond to a use me or lose me attitude? I have encountered situations where a person has said, “I will come to your church if I can play guitar (or drums, or…) in your praise band. What should I do?

How do I respond? Usually with an exaggerated wave of my hand and a long, drawn out, “Bye, bye.”

Anyone who will get his way by making demands will simply make more demands later on. That’s not the kind of person I want involved in the worship ministry of my church.

Let me insert an opposing thought here. I have a dear friend whose philosophy of worship ministry is, in some ways, very different from mine. It was not unusual for my friend to use the worship ministry for trying to evangelize musicians. I couldn’t do that. Let me explain.

Anyone who is regularly in front of the congregation will be seen by them as a leader. Regardless of what you say or how you present it, if someone is—week after week—seen up in front, that person will be viewed by the people as a leader. I cannot in good conscience put an unbeliever into that role. Both for their sake and for the sake of the congregation, it would not be healthy over the long run.

So, having given at least a little bit of my undergirding thought process here, let’s go back to answering the question directly.

Jesus said that if you want to become great, then you must become a servant. Does having a “use me or lose me” attitude sound like someone willing to be a servant? No, I don’t think so either.

This sounds simple enough to understand in theory, but sometimes can be difficult in practice. For example, try this scenario. You’ve been without a drummer for nearly eight months, but you have been fervently praying for one. A man approaches you on Sunday morning after the service. “I noticed the drum kit sitting up there and no one playing it. I’m a drummer. Been playing for about twenty years. Actually, I used to play professionally, but I didn’t like the touring thing, so a few years ago I settled down and got a real job. I still love to play, though. I think your band is good and could be really good if you had a drummer. I’m looking for a church where I can use my gift on Sunday mornings. I’ll come to your church if you’ll let me play.”

Many people’s natural tendency in this situation is, “Wow! What an answer to prayer.” Maybe I’m just different, but that wouldn’t be my first thought. Instead, I’d be wondering, “Are you born-again? What is your relationship with God like? What is your relationship with the Body of Christ like? Where have you been fellowshiping and gathering for worship with other believers? Why did you leave (or are you leaving) your previous church?” Answers to these types of questions are far more important to me than the drumming ability.

The truth is, though, that the real answers to such questions cannot be obtained over a quick lunch. Usually, the underlying themes of these questions (especially the first three) can only be found through long-term relationship. That’s why it is impractical and foolish to just grab any musician who happens along.

Further, I would be concerned about someone who visits for the first time and wants to be a part of a church. Do they even know what we believe theologically? Do they know how we are endeavoring to fulfill our place as a congregation in the Body of Christ? If not, why would they want to be a part of us? Just to play drums? I think I’d like someone with a bit more depth in that role, thank you.

Build your worship ministry on a more solid foundation than just grabbing any warm body that comes along. In the long run, you’ll be glad you did.