Critics or Prophets?

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Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the National Worship Leader Conference. It happened to take place a convenient 8 miles from my house—something I wish were true for all conferences I attend. While much of the conference was geared toward those who stand on stage, there was plenty of content for those of us who lead worship from the tech booth.

One of my favorite sessions featured Ian Cron, author of several books including Chasing Francis. I think that book should be required reading anyone who is involved with the weekend service. But I digress. 

Ian talked about a lot of things, but the center of his message was on the dichotomy between being a cynic and a prophet. He reminded us that it’s pretty easy to be cynical these days. Just turn on the evening news and it doesn’t take long for the most optimistic among us to start feeling cynical. 

Even in the church, it’s easy to be cynical. And it’s not just those outside the body of faith, either. Christian culture is often the most cynical out there. Sadly, some of the biggest cynics are worship leaders and creatives. 

We talked about some of the “confessions of worship leaders” on last week’s podcast. I recommend you take a listen. As Ian talked, I kept thinking about the idea that worship leaders and creatives are some of the most cynical. Now, I’m admittedly cynical. But he got me thinking why that might be.

I think part of the reason that tech leaders tend to be cynical is because we’re wired to see problems. Normally, we see a problem, and fix the problem. However, often the problems we see lie outside of our area of responsibility. When we see problems with church leadership, how our buildings are laid out and maintained, how our pastor teaches or worship leaders lead, there isn’t a lot we can do. So, we become cynical. After a while, we become the grumpy tech guy.

However, Ian challenged us to be cynical about our cynicism. 

Rather than being cynical about what we see, we should instead be prophets. The reality is, most of the time, the things we see as being wrong, broken or simply a problem, really are wrong, broken or a problem. And we have a choice; complain and be cynical or become a prophet that helps come up with solutions. 

Near the end, he reminded us that when it comes to great revolutions, it aways starts with the artists. In fact, in other countries, when a revolution comes about, they always round up the artists first. We have a great opportunity to help shape the new future of the church. He also pointed out that prophets also loose their jobs. But I think I’d rather go down trying to make a difference instead of simply grumbling about all those problems. 

I’m not sure exactly how to live this out, but I’m willing to give it a shot. Perhaps we can hold each other accountable. What do you think?

UPDATE: After I posted this article, my friend Stephen Proctor wrote a similar summary of this challenging message. I suggest you stop on by his blog to read it. Good stuff! END UPDATE.  

 

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