Monday, July 13, 2015

Dear Church Diva...

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I was reminded today of a bad experience I had while visiting a church a few months ago.  And probably because I didn't get enough sleep last night, I felt compelled to write this.  I do have a favor to ask of my readers: Please don't passive-aggressively post this on someone else's wall in the hopes that they will read it and change.  That's not the point.  If you want someone in your circle of relationships to read it, the best way to accomplish this without being rude it to share it on YOUR Facebook page.

After visiting a church recently I have some advice for the "Church Diva" that sat behind me.  You know the type... they want everyone to notice them, whether it's because of their clothes, their actions or their attitude.  Well this guy must have thought the Sunday morning service was his chance to audition for American Idol, and that I was one of the judges.  Now God has blessed me with a powerful set of lungs (read: I'm loud), but I almost couldn't hear myself sing over the sound of his voice.  To be fair, he did have a decent voice.  But to be honest, I don't think anyone around him was as impressed with his voice as he was.

Actually there are many different types of divas in our churches.  There are those that think they are rock stars and we are their stage.  Others believe the church exists for them and their family, or for their pet church ministry, program or project.  Still others see their church as the vehicle God has designed for them to fulfill their personal ministry.  Each of these is selfish - and is dangerous to the Church and its mission!

Here's the thing: the diva mindset is an indicator of insecurity and immaturity.  It reveals a person's selfish heart, wanting to be noticed and recognized.  But unchurched people - especially Millennials - are turned off by this sort of "showboating."  They are hungry for authenticity, and a diva reeks of something incredibly fake.

So for all you Church Divas out there, I have some advice:

1.  Congregational Singer Divas: Please stop singing so loudly in church that no one around you can hear the worship leader.  This is not your gig.  And while you're at it, don't use the worship time to try out your new vocal riffs, especially at volumes that rival a machine shop.  In your shower you can belt it out (as long as your family is okay with it), but don't do it in the church service.  Please let the people around you enjoy the service.  You don't want your distracting actions be what causes a person to "check out" of the service.

1a.  Worship Team Divas: And if you happen to be a Singer Diva that is a part of the worship team (I've worked with a number of them over the years), please realize that by you "adding to the flow of the service" or "helping the worship leader" (read: showing off your vocal or instrumental skills) you're just serving as a distraction and creating confusion.  Please start thinking about the big picture.  Make sure you're not the reason a visitor decides not to return.

2.  Church Member Divas: Please stop getting offended when an usher asks you to move over a few seats so a family can sit together, a person wears something to service you don't approve of, or someone asks you to serve.  The church was never meant to be a place where you only come so you can get all your needs met.  Jesus empowered believers with the Holy Spirit so that they could ALL serve and build up His Body, the Church. (see Ephesians 4:16)  If you aren't going to serve, you may be getting in the way of God ministering to people.  Please don't just attend... get involved!  And don't be the person that will only serve if they offer the ministry YOU want them to have.  If you're attending a church, find a place to plug in and help.  This life - and especially HIS CHURCH - isn't about you.

3.  Church Volunteer Divas: Please remember that the church isn't a springboard for you to find fame and personal significance.  It doesn't exist just so you can feel special or important.  And the church members aren't your personal "ministry farm team."  It is the Church (capital C) of the Lord Jesus Christ.  He is the One who has the final say in what a church should look like, the type of people it should reach, the style of music they should play and who should lead it.  Please plug in and serve with a humble attitude - the exact same attitude Jesus adopted when He walked the earth. (see Philippians 2:5-8)  This is how we will capture the attention of a world that is sprinting away from God.

And now some advice for pastors and church leaders:

God has given us the leadership position so we can direct the people He sends us to an ever-deepening relationship with Him.  We are called to be stewards of His grace.  But we also need to lead like Jesus did: He loved and accepted everyone that came to Him, but called those with selfish motives to take the next steps toward maturity.

We have to be courageous enough to confront the divas in our churches.  I don't mean that we should "put them in their place."  But we do need to call out the best in them - and the way they are acting certainly isn't their best.  It's always difficult to confront a diva because no matter what you say, they try to put it back on you (as if it's your fault) by giving any number of excuses.

It's really frustrating when people won't take responsibility for their actions.  Actually, it's human nature.  But when we shirk our responsibility we allow divas to continue to drain the life from our churches.  I've avoided tough conversations with divas a few times.  It seems easier to ignore their actions rather than have an uncomfortable conversation.  But every single time I've done this it has cost me dearly.

Let's choose to courageously confront these divas.  God has entrusted us to lead the people we are called to serve.  Let's represent His heart well!

What is the most effective way you've found in dealing with divas?  Join the conversation below.  Your insights can help all of us grow in our leadership skills.

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