Are You Too Old to Lead Worship?

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There's not a worship team on earth that hasn't had to address this question. The tension is alive. What is the life cycle of a worship leader or a musician?

How old is too old? How young is too young? Does a multi-generational worship team work? What are the best practices?

I'm sure you've been there. You've had conversations with your older team members and how they feel pushed out.

You might be an older singer, musician, or worship leader struggling with insecurity later in life.

  • "Are my jeans skinny enough?"
  • "Is my voice cool enough?"
  • "Am I trendy enough?"
  • "Do I have a place anymore?"

If you've thought this, let's talk.

The best answer I know how to give is to tell anyone over 40 that they need to leave. I'm kidding. Wow, relax!

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In all seriousness, there is a deeper question than "too old or too young." It's more of a culture question.

Are we building the kind of culture where the young feel welcomed and the old are actively investing in the young? Start now to create the culture where your team isn't focused on holding tightly to their role, but investing in others. Young or old, everyone can invest into the life of another.

Picture this. Envision a 65-year-old pouring into a 16-year-old. Envision that 16-year-old investing in a 12-year-old. Imagine a 25-year-old guitar player helping a 50-year-old rocker with ambient guitar tone.

Do you see the potential?

Problems arise when we get obsessed with our own usefulness. We become less concerned with the kingdom of God and what is best for his church and become consumed with our role, our position, our ministry.

A Better Approach to Ministry

Want a better approach? What if you never did ministry alone? What if instead of simply leading worship, you used those preparation times, rehearsal times and service times to train someone younger?

Here's the reality—a reproducing leader will always have a spot on the team. They actually provide the most strength to an organization. Why? Because when they're not around, they leave things in good shape.

They don't create a culture that is dependent on their gifts or abilities. They create a culture where others are constantly stepping up. Quality rises not because they are talented but because they are pouring into others. Their very presence raises the bar for others.

See where I'm going? This is the best way to address the too old/too young lifecycle of musicians. If we're thinking outwardly, if our hearts are for the kingdom, we won't be offended when more talented people surface. We'll serve to make them even better.

It's because we have a greater heart for the church than we do for our own talent. We love the kingdom more than our own legacy.

That way, it's baked into the culture that every musician works to replace themselves. The older singers and musicians should work one on one with younger musicians, coaching and teaching. Then encouraging them to step out. Even being present off the stage to encourage the younger.

Oftentimes the question isn't am I too old or too young? It's also more this:

  • Are you teachable?
  • Are you helpful?
  • Do you love the church?
  • Do you speak well of the church?
  • Are you developing?
  • Do you have a growing relationship with Jesus?

See where I'm going? There's no easy answer, but it's an intentional choice to create a culture where humble people help one another.

I have no problem with older musicians or older worship leaders. I do have a problem with those who approach their role with a clenched fist and don't reproduce themselves. That is an issue. If that's you, old or young, start loosening that grip today.

David Santistevan is a worship pastor at Allison Park Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

This article originally appeared at

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