Worship leaders are, by the nature of the their role, up front people. There is great joy, and to some degree, great satisfaction, to be experienced as we help people engage with God. However, while there is a wonderfully fulfilling side to this experience, there is also a looming dark side (cue Vader voice). The temptation is to actually get in the way, and STEAL GOD'S GLORY. When we do this, we take away what it rightfully God's and there can be consequences for this. We see this in the lives of Moses and Aaron.
Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance to the tent of meeting and fell facedown, and the glory of the LORD appeared to them. The LORD said to Moses, “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.”
So Moses took the staff from the LORD’s presence, just as he commanded him. He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank. But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.” - Numbers 20:6-12
The Israelites had no water and they were upset and once again bemoaning the fact that they were in the desert, with no grain, figs or pomegranates. (I've always wanted to use pomegranates in a blog...) In response to this grumbling, Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before God in intercession. God responds with the command for them to speak to a rock, and that water would come from it to provide for Israel. INSTEAD, in disobedience, they took the staff that had been a conduit for God to work so many wonders before and struck the rock with it.
God says to them "you did not trust in me". For some reason, they felt that that had to work up a show, produce a dramatic moment, and even more by the words that were spoken, "must WE bring you water out of this rock?"
In effect, THEY STOLE GOD'S GLORY.
Worship leaders have this very same temptation. Especially if we're ever frustrated by the response of people to God in worship. I've often said to myself "if our people only remembered that they are worshipping the God of the entire universe, and that He is present in their midst, would they then respond with greater passion?" It is in these moments that I consider doing more that I should to "get the crowd going" or "hype things up". This is dangerous territory. I may be treading on holy ground. I never want to preempt the Holy Spirit. Only He can cause people to sense His presence. Only He can reveal Himself to us. I can only point people in the direction of God. If I take on more responsibility that I should, I become like Moses and Aaron saying "must WE bring you water". My prayer is for myself and all worship leaders to be truly discerning as to what our role is and what is God's role. Though it may look differently in various settings, if we seek His will in this, we'll find ourselves more free to worship in the joy and lead our congregations with as Isaiah 66:2 says, humility and contrite hearts.