Category Archives: Guest Posts


Bad Day by Ashlyn Henry, Creative Commons License

Bad Day by Ashlyn Henry, Creative Commons License

First, I want to give a quick apology for the lateness of this post. I was out of town for a wedding over the Memorial Day weekend, and I’ve been catching up.

Second, I would like to introduce you to a friend a fellow worship leader, Nathan Perkins. Nathan is the head worship leader at Hope Vineyard Church in St. Louis, which happens to be the church I spent my formative years in. He also happens to have grown up there.

So without further ado….

In 1981, the duo of Simon and Garfunkel returned to play a concert in Central Park. The purpose of this concert was to raise money as a benefit to rehabilitate Central Park; the 70’s and 80’s were a very violent and tumultuous period for New York City and the famous park had fallen into a state of extreme disrepair and was often a venue for drug deals and other criminal activity to take place. New York City wanted its park back.

Their collaboration and weeks of strenuous work efforts produced this concert:

At the time, the concert only raised about $51,000 for Central Park (Hundreds of thousands was the goal) and both Simon and Garfunkel felt that the concert was generally a musical failure despite their best intentions.

Do you ever feel like this after a worship set? I know that I do. Often, following a time of worship, I am usually my own worst enemy and critique every chord or note that I have played. In my most frustrating times as a Worship Leader, I’ve shed a few tears or thrown an item or two across the room.

Going back to Simon and Garfunkel… It turns out that their concert that they immediately deemed a failure ended up becoming one of the works that they are most famous for. It topped charts in multiple countries and Rolling Stone called it the best performance that year for any artist.

That’s what I take away from this life lesson. As musicians, we often deem our works and creations an immediate failure, but that’s not how the Kingdom of God works. In God’s Kingdom, nothing is an immediate failure. I can think of many times off-hand that I have played what felt like the worst set ever, turn around, a hear multiple compliments from congregation members. The trick? Don’t be so quick to judge your works and feel discouraged: see what the Holy Spirit does…. sometimes just being available is all that is necessary.


Worship after you leave the stage

Today’s post comes from Jamie Kocur. Jamie is a singer, songwriter and self-identified recovering worship leader who shares her insights at Once you’ve had a chance to read some of her story here, please take the time to drop by her site. I promise it’s worth your time.

  • Nathanael


The music used to really move me.

Any time I set foot in a contemporary worship setting, I was completely swept away. My hands rose as high as they could, I closed my eyes tight and shut the world out, and the Holy Spirit felt like it pumped through my veins.

It was awesome.

God blessed me with a voice, and I longed to be on stage, singing for His glory. I volunteered with my church choir and praise band, and eventually took a part time worship leader position. I majored in music, and received a church music degree from Florida State University. I enjoyed being on stage, in the spotlight, using my voice to lead everyone into the presence of Jesus.

Worship was going to be my life. Then something changed.

I wasn’t sure what changed at first. All I knew was that what used to inspire, move, and energize me left me feeling empty and cynical. The worship that used to be so meaningful now seemed like one big show. I became sensitive to the performance aspect of it all and cringed when vocalists sang like they were on American Idol. I wanted nothing to do with the music that used to reach so deep in my soul. I left services frustrated, wiping away angry tears. I felt empty. I walked away from worship leading. I just couldn’t do it anymore.

I knew I needed to process through the gunk. So I began to write. I’ve been writing for a couple of years now, and I’m happy to say that I’ve dug deep enough to uncover a few key elements.

1) I was getting swept away in the emotional high.

Worship music contains a certain element of emotionalism. I became too focused on the high. I reduced worship to a warm fuzzy, a pick-me-up. I think God took that feeling away to teach me a few things. When it was gone, I wasn’t sure how to worship.

2) Church politics.

I watched the church I love make some decisions that I couldn’t support. Some dear friends were deeply hurt by these decisions. I wasn’t directly impacted, but I still felt betrayed and hurt. I had a hard time opening up and being vulnerable after that. I’m still learning to forgive and let go.

3) As an introvert, it’s hard to fully engage in energetic contemporary worship.

I’m settling into my introverted shell more as I grow older. Things that I used to enjoy in my young, more energetic teenage years don’t appeal to me anymore. When I’m expected to clap and sing as loud as I can, I shut off. That’s not genuine worship for me. I prefer quieter, more intimate settings now.

Where do I go from here? I’m learning that it’s okay if I don’t connect in the usual contemporary worship service. Just because my hands aren’t raised does not mean I love Jesus any less. I have other ways that I connect with and love on Him; writing, taking long walks in a park, photography.

I still use music in worship, but for this moment, it’s not on stage. My soul finds peace as I sit on the floor in my music room, strumming my guitar and writing simple songs. I still sing and long to use my voice for God’s glory, but not as a contemporary worship leader. And that’s okay. Perhaps one day I will be back on stage, leading a congregation in worship, but for this season, I’m content to stay in the shadows, out of the spotlight.

Jesus is there too.