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An Idol Commentary
by Damon Andrews, worship pastor on March 12th, 2011

I've been watching American Idol. There, I said it, and I feel better. Confession truly is good for the soul. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with watching the show, but it does cause me mild discomfort to be entertained by the delusion of others. You know what I mean...the parade of people in the early weeks of the show who believe with all their hearts they have a gift for singing, but to put it as nicely as possible...they don't.

But the show progresses beyond that and eventually the talented few remain. We hear their stories; we get to know them. We pick our favorites (Casey is amazing!), and we empathetically walk with them through the pressure and emotion of the performances, the judge's commentary, and hearing the results each week. We feel the tension they feel as they listen to those familiar words, "America has voted, and..." We share their exuberance when they learn they are staying another week, and we grieve with them when they find out that their journey is over, and they are going home.

Yes, I enjoy the show. The performances and the drama entertain me. However, as a worship leader, I feel compelled to make an important distinction. I have often considered the unfortunate similarities between an entertainer and a worship leader. They do, in fact, share much in common. They both are on stage, with a microphone, facing an audience. On the other hand, there is a monumental difference.

It's not that I have any problem at all with entertaining or being entertained, because I truly don't. God created us with a need for periodic diversion from work, and entertainment fills that need for both the performer and the audience. But a worship leader is not an entertainer. While the entertainer is saying "look at me," the worship leader is saying "look at God."

So, if you've never really considered the difference between the concert stage and the worship stage, I encourage you to view worship leaders with a fresh perspective. Think of them not as performers, but simply as fellow worshipers who are publicly reminding us, by their words and their example, to direct our voices, our hearts and our attention to God. And as our focus is fully toward God, I am confident that He will be blessed, and our desire to meet Him personally in worship will deepen.


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