I always loved Christmas, until I started working in the church.
That’s not exactly true, but a couple of years ago, I realized that December turned me into a nightmare every single year. When I share this, people usually look at me like I’m a devil worshiper, but I think there are some valid reasons why we as worship leaders tend to stress out at this time of year.
In today’s post, we’ll talk about 5 reasons why you (or your worship leader) is particularly stressed during the season. While these posts are normally written for worship leaders, I’d like to think that congregants may benefit from knowing what sort of mindset their pastors are coming from.
- Somebody’s gonna’ hate it.
Honestly, this always a factor when standing in front of people, but for some reason, Christmas sure seems to magnify it. Drop the praise band for piano and organ and somebody out there is gonna’ think you sold out and you’re not “fresh.” Don’t do any carols and try to find newer songs that celebrate the Advent and you’re purists will leave mad because you don’t understand what Christmas really is all about. And you can bet that at the end of each Sunday in December, somebody is gonna’ walk out of there thinking that you really sucked at the job that day.
- It’s hard to do.
There’s a reason why the songs of the last twenty years don’t sound like these old carols – because they’re hard songs! While most of us can at least fake our way through a normal Sunday if need be, there’s no cutting corners with Christmas music. Even the most non-musical of congregants instinctively expects that 7th chord or major lift. Worship leaders don’t like hard work, plain and simple. And Christmas music is hard work.
- There’s not a lot of time.
This would be easy if we could ease into it, but that’s not always possible. Everybody gets through Thanksgiving and BAM! Now, you’ve got three Sundays to make sure every one in that sanctuary hears their favorite, most-meaningful, uplifting carol of all time. This usually ends up feeling like you’ve got no time to even prepare people for what they’re singing.
- Life is nuts for everybody.
Even if you have some excitement and vision for Christmas, it’s probable that you’ll be doing so with a skeleton crew. Sure, some church in the next big city pays all their musicians and their Christmas Eve service is a straight-up world changer every year, but you’ve got folks headed to grandma’s a week early and skipping rehearsal to make the office Christmas party.
- It’s about control.
This is a sad fact, but so true for many of us. Our biggest stress is that, suddenly, we’re not the boss anymore. Now, we can’t try that new song that’s been in our iTunes for two months and we can’t try some crazy video idea because we’re already stacked with Christmas stuff. It’s not pretty, but it’s real – we don’t like not being in control.