How I Became an Unlikely Worship Leader

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Confessions of an Unlikely Worship Leader | Free blog series by Jamie Rohrbaugh |

Did you ever hear the one about the foolish things that confound the wise?

God has a sense of humor. Especially when it comes to me.

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    I’ve always been musical. I grew up in a religious tradition that really values music ed, so I started singing early. I learned flute in 8th grade. (Doesn’t every 8th grade girl play the flute?) I wasn’t very good at flute; I don’t have the right embouchure for it. I started taking piano lessons my freshman year of high school. I continued with piano through high school. I also learned tenor sax in high school… again, not very good at it. Playing the lead part on Glenn Miller’s “In the Mood” was about as advanced as I ever got.

    In college, I took one semester of classical piano lessons, got thoroughly tired of classical, and then switched to jazz piano for a couple of years. I loved jazz; especially the blues. I played tenor sax in the college jazz band, and then switched to piano.

    Then I did nothing musical at all for about 8 years. (Try that, and see how it works for you. It didn’t work so well for me.) I forgot much of what I had ever learned: you know, important things… like what on earth “concert C” means, and how to count 16th notes.

    Then, while I was “on the shelf” for awhile from another ministry that I was involved with, I got bored. I missed the camaraderie that I had with the other musicians in the jazz band. So I asked if I could join the church orchestra. I wasn’t very useful, but–thank God–they let me play djembe.

    The orchestra didn’t have a practice pianist, and djembes aren’t too useful in orchestra practice. Just for fun, I started to occasionally lay down the chords to our songs on the piano while practicing. It helped me remember the chords, and playing along with the orchestra helped with everything in general. To make a long story short, I started playing piano more and more in practice, but stuck with percussion in services. (Then I took up viola, but that’s another post.)

    I thought all of these things were just coincidences. I never expected God to really use me in anything musical. Howsoever…

    One day I received permission to take my keyboard to my church’s intercessory prayer meeting. It went really well… so I continued to play keys during prayer meeting.

    Then prayer meeting grew, and I was the only musician there. They needed a worship leader, and the other people who were possibilities for leading worship got too busy.  So that would leave… you guessed it. Yours truly.

    I’m an unlikely worship leader. I’ve never had a desire to lead worship. Worship, yes. Be an example, yes; and I’m a leader in several areas that I really do want to lead. (Type A, right here!) But a worship leader? I don’t fit in with the “normal” worship leader stereotype I have in my head.

    But God knew that before He put me here. He’s choosing to use me anyway. He’s leading, and growing us, and sitting down in amazing, manifest ways on our worship time. It’s not me. It’s Him. But it’s unreal.

    Sometimes God just blows me away.

    One Comment

    1. Hi Jaime – I can relate to your testimony. I sang in the choir in middle school mainly to be w/ friends & get out of class. Fast forward 20 + years I go to a prophetic conference w/ a friend & get a word from one of the prophets at the conference that God would give me opportunities to sing soon. I brushed it off because I was by no means a singer. That Sunday in my home church my pastor opened up auditions for the choir which didn’t happen too often. I thought of the word I received, auditioned & to my surprise got in. Years later I am at a new church & function as a lead singer. I often deal w/ feelings of inadequacy because the other men/ women I sing w/ are so talented…I often wonder why God would choose me when I’m not gifted like the rest. But I hold on to the word I received that this is what God wants for me. I’ve worked hard to improve my sound over time & have grown to trust God more & more in this role…so I understand what it is to be an unlikely worshiper. Thanks for sharing it’s nice to know I’m not alone!

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