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Is Your Worship Authentic or Just An Imitation?

Is Your Worship Authentic or Just An Imitation?

By Amber Rhoads on September 21, 2014

As a worship leader, I often have the opportunity to travel and be a part of many different worship services. I’ve made several observations along the way and have asked the Lord to speak into those areas and bring revelation. One of those areas is “authenticity”. Is our worship genuine, real and fresh? Over the last few years, worship music has become mainstream and radio-friendly. With this rise in popularity, people are more familiar with specific worship leaders and church worship bands. I’m very excited to see worship songs that are being sung in churches all over the world making their way into our modern culture.  

But with this change comes the potential for worship leaders, pastors and teams to become something they are not. Too many times, admiration can turn into imitation and our worship begins to reflect something other than who we truly are. That’s where “authenticity” comes in. To be authentic is to be about truth.  

I see many leaders and teams fall into the “trap” of comparison or imitation when they feel they have hit a brick wall in their worship service. They have believed that in order to be effective or to see God move, they have to sound like someone else, use the latest and coolest gear or write songs that have the same ingredients as the #1 worship song on the charts. The enemy would like nothing more than to use this trap to distract worshippers from being who God created them to be.  It keeps them hindered as musicians from being original and creative, but also robs their local church body of the specific, unique way that God wants to use those who are placed in the worship ministry.

People want the real deal. Do you see people standing in line at the museum to look at a copy of a famous painting? Of course not. They want to see the actual, authentic piece of artwork. It’s no different in a worship service. People are coming in broken and weary and they want honesty and sincerity. They won’t remember that you played a Hillsong tune and it sounded as good as the original. They won’t remember that the band had the best instruments or were dressed in the latest fashion. They will remember if you were genuine, vulnerable and passionate. They will remember if they encountered real people worshipping a real God.

There are two principles I have found to help avoid this trap. The first is to FIND YOUR SOUND. God has given each musician a different voice, tone, and technique. No one shares your exact gifting. Embrace it…celebrate it. You are placed where you are for this season and the body of Christ needs to hear YOUR SOUND…not some other worship band or artist. When you are true to yourself and you sing or play from a place of confidence, then that authenticity will breed originality. It’s perfectly fine to be inspired by someone, but make sure that the inspiration doesn’t lead to imitation or comparison.  (click to tweet)

The second principle is TELL YOUR STORY.  No one shares your unique story and God wants to use it for His glory.  Lately, a few people have come up to me after leading worship and said the exact same thing. They said, “You lead from a deep place” or “You lead from a deep well”. I asked the Lord to show me what that meant. See I have my own story and whether I share it verbally or not during worship, I still lead from a very vulnerable place because of that story.

I have a daughter with an incurable disease and I’ve had my share of brokenness and disappointment. But when I lead people into the presence of God, I dig down deep and push aside my flesh and my agenda to make room for the Spirit to move and say what He wants. Every time that “digging” pulls up one reminder after another of God’s faithfulness and my worship is no longer about me or how I sound or how cool the song is! People know when you are going through the motions. In a world of counterfeits, they want to see genuine passion and love. When you think about your story, every lyric you sing will have new meaning and you can’t help but be passionate about His presence.

So be encouraged my fellow worshippers. You have a sound and a story unlike anyone else. (click to tweet) Use it for God’s glory and you’ll see that brick wall crumble to pieces. Your team will begin writing original songs that tell the story of what God is doing specifically in your church. Be authentic. Be real. Be vulnerable. That is when God’s reflection will shine the brightest in you.

Image courtesy of ShiftWorship.com

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Amber Rhoads

Amber Rhoads

Amber currently serves as a worship leader/artist at Gateway Church in Dallas, Texas. She led worship for Women of Faith in 2013 and also travels and ministers around the country.  Her new solo project, Broken Beautiful, is available on iTunes.