Pressure to Conform to Style of Past Worship Leader

I’m the new worship leader at our church and it seems like everyone wants me to be like the former worship leader. Should I conform?

In nearly any area of leadership, most people who replace someone else will have to endure for a season the comparisons of their “performance” to that of the former person. It is not fun or easy, but you may take comfort in the fact that it usually does not last a long time.

I went through this in my own life. When I replaced the man who had been leading worship at our church for ten years, it was a difficult transition. There were constant comparisons to my leading and his leading. For a while, I was seen by some as being lower caliber than my predecessor. After being the main worship leader for over a dozen years, the worship leader who came after me faced some of the same type of comparisons.

Some churches use this understanding as the basis for having a rotating schedule for multiple worship leaders. Unfortunately, the comparisons will still be there. The people may not be overt or crass about it, but they will have their favorites. Making such comparisons appears to be natural human nature.

To answer your question directly then: yes and no. Yes, you should glean from all the positive vision and direction of the former worship leader. If there is a music program already in existence, you do not need to start everything over from scratch. Do not recreate a new program just for the sake of saying that it is yours.

On the other hand, obviously, you as a person are not exactly like the former worship leader. You can not and should not be exactly like him.

Perhaps it would be helpful to make a list of the items that people suggest you should consider. Then, with your pastor, pray and look at the list together. There will be certain things that, because of personality, background, etc., are obviously not you. You will both probably agree that these items are unworkable. In a mature manner, look at the remaining items trying to see what is worth considering. Set goals and make plans as to how to implement any needed changes.

The important thing is not that you become like (or refuse to consider becoming like) the former worship leader. The most important issue is finding what you believe the Lord wants, and hence, what is the best for the congregation.