Rory Noland, director of Heart of the Artist Ministries (www.heartoftheartist.org) was a guest speaker at the LifeWay Worship Conference in Glorieta, New Mexico this summer. In his lectures Noland gave great attention to the importance of integrity for those who are leading worship (including instrumentalists and singers). He also spends quite a bit of time discussing this issue in his book, The Heart of the Artist (Zondervan, ISBN 0-310-22471-3).
Noland states “when it comes to integrity, there is a high road and there is a low road. We need to make sure we’re always taking the high road. The congregation does not need to see us as those strange artsy types; they need to see us as people of integrity who minister, serve, and shepherd in the powerful name of Jesus. First Timothy 4:12 says that we are to be model examples ‘in speech, in life, in faith and purity.’”
Noland continues – “Some of us have grown up with high standards attached to the pastor and the elders but not to the artists on stage. We expect pastors to be godly people. We expect them to walk intimately with Christ and to have a godly character. We expect them to be living in righteousness and not leading a double life. Why don’t we expect the same from our musicians, our drama people, and all other artists? We’re not just artists. We are ministers too. We stand on the same platform and address the congregation with the same message. Shouldn’t we aspire to high standards of integrity, just like the pastor? The qualifications for elders in I Timothy 3 and Titus 1 can be applied to all leaders in the church, and that includes artists. We are to be above reproach, loyal to our spouses, not self-willed or quick tempered, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to anything, not pugnacious but gentle, uncontentious, free from the love of money, able to manage our households well, and we must have a good reputation with those outside the church (1 Timothy 3: 2-7, Titus 1:7-9).” page 40-41, Heart of the Artist
I believe Noland is right on target. Worship leaders (singers and instrumentalists) must have integrity and high character. If I were looking for a worship leader, I would take a lesser skilled musician who had these qualities than a wonderfully skilled musician who had no integrity any day.
Psalm 4:3 – “Know that the Lord has set apart the godly man for Himself.”