When Should You Stop Leading Worship?

I’ve been asking myself at what point is it time to be done leading worship.

Not because I’m too old to physically do it. I’ll be able to play an instrument and sing for many years. There are still rock stars touring in their 70s.

But when should I stop leading worship?

Is there an age at which you become irrelevant or that your particular ministry should move on without you?

I don’t know the answer, but would sure like to know. I won’t reveal my age, but can say that I’m older than the typical worship leader in big-name churches and worship groups, and probably older than the typical worship leader in local churches.

I’ve wondered if it’s time for me to do something else. One idea is to support another ministry somewhere. Or I could bring up another worship leader. The problem is, there is no up-and-coming worship leader in my church to mentor. After COVID, my church went remote for about a year. During that time, the senior pastor left, we had an interim pastor, then hired a new one.

Those elements came together to decimate the worship team. Just about every worship team member (leaders and instrumentalists) left the church.

We once had enough team members to form three full bands. Everyone including me was a volunteer. It’s fairly rare to have that big a program with no paid worship staff.

Now, we have three worship leaders who lead solo.  There aren’t enough people in the church to pull from to build back.

I wonder if all this is God’s way of telling me that there’s something else to do now, after decades of worship leading. I started when I was just 15 and have played worship in just about every setting since then (I even played worship music in bars and homeless shelters).

People in the church would say I should keep going, because, if I quit, there will be even fewer people to carry on. But that’s not a very good reason to continue if it’s you’re time to be done.

I guess that’s the answer. You’re done when God says your done.

A few years ago I ran into the worship leader from my church when I was growing up. He led there for probably 15-20 years. When I saw him again, he was running the sound board for a worship service. I asked if he led worship anymore. He said one day God just told him he was done. For him, it would be disobedience to continue.

It’s hard to tell the difference between being burned out and discouraged and God’s guidance. I mean, is the fact that the worship team was decimated God’s way of letting me know it’s over, or a call to keep going in this meager format? I don’t really know what his calling is for me at this point and that makes it hard. I don’t want to struggle along, leading once or twice per month forever with no direction.

I can tell you it sounds more fun to be an instrumentalist at another church. Support a different team and see where that goes. For now, I don’t feel released to that point yet. Maybe God is preparing another person for my role in the meantime.

I’d love to know your thoughts, so leave some comments below.

  1. Is there a time when you’re ‘too old’ to lead worship
  2. Disregarding age, when can you tell your time in a certain ministry is over?

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