Leading from the side


I always wanted to lead worship. I never really wanted to be a guitar player.
Growing up, I was a worship leader in my youth group. Multiple times a week I would lead services for my peers from my acoustic guitar and try my best to sing so that people could recognize the song (a real challenge for a pubescent boy with no vocal training).

So I decided to get the formal training to go with my new found passion. But a couple years into my music degree I found myself getting discouraged. I found myself doing something besides what I defined as “worship leading”. I thought I was there to run the show, pick the songs, and sing the music. Instead, I constantly found myself in a supporting role. I tried for years to pridefully, and unsuccessfully, make myself into the “worship leader” that I thought I was suppose to be.

I failed to recognize that the job of leading worship was not limited to the 30 minute music set on stage or to even one person. I had to let my narrow definition of what it means to lead worship go and try to find where God wanted to use me.

I think it’s an easy mistake to make. In churches everywhere we have designated the title of worship leader to those who lead worship during a scheduled window of time every Sunday morning. It’s convenient for us to pack “worship” away into a drawer and pull it out once a week, as our Sunday's best.

As precious as those times of corporate worship can be, worship should never be limited to music that we may or may not “be into to” on that one particular Sunday morning. It’s a lifestyle that takes whatever we have and wherever we’re at and lets us extravagantly serve Jesus.

For me, it's playing electric guitar.

Worship leading doesn't have to be limited to the chosen “worship leader” because by learning to love Jesus, as best we can, we set the stage for others to do the same...we are all leaders. It was in this moment of clarity that I realized Jesus was with me the whole time, loving selfish me, as I strove to accomplish a personal goal that almost kept me from seeing where he already using me. I was free to stop trying to be something I wasn’t and instead rejoice in who I really am.

So, whatever it is that you do. Whether that’s music, art, sports, or academics. You can lead people into worship. Jesus never called us to worship with an acoustic guitar, a synth pad, and a chorus after the bridge. He called us to worship him with our lives.

Nolan Sisk // Lead Guitar

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. Romans 12:1 (MSG)