Paul says in 1 Corinthians that God didn’t call many noble, nor influential, nor wise as the world perceives it, to serve in His kingdom.
But I believe he does give an anointing, at conception, to certain individuals. After we are born, He lets us decide what we will do with it.
This got me thinking. Are there individuals who received a worship leader’s anointing, but didn’t end up worship leaders? I believe there are, so I put together a short list.
There are many more out there; perhaps every famous musician was set apart for God’s service. But I chose five who have a special anointing — so much so that their music is worship-leaning, whether it turned out that way consciously or unconsciously.
These rock stars were born to lead worship, and not surprisingly, inspire people to worship something.
Okay, let’s start with the obvious here. We all know about Bono’s faith-leaning tendencies.
He sings a song called “Yahweh” for Pete’s sake. The U2 songs “Where The Streets Have No Name” and “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” are so heavily nuanced that even non-Christians realize where he’s going with them.
I don’t know where Bono’s faith is. But that’s beside the point. He has a worship-leading anointing.
God doles out influence. But he doesn’t mandate what we do with it.
Perry has some downright inspirational stuff. From “Roar” to “Firework,” you can’t listen to her stuff without your heart leaping out of your chest.
Perry grew up in a Christian home and attended faith-based schools and camps (Wikipedia trivia) and — get this — her first album in 2001 was a Christian record. She even toured with Phil Joel of Newsboys fame.
It seems Perry has strayed from those roots (her first big hit was “I Kissed A Girl” which glorified a lesbian-leaning encounter) but, like I said before, God never takes away an anointing. It’s our choice how we use it.
In 2013, Perry released a song that shows, in some way, she clings to her roots. Once we taste God’s character, I don’t think we ever forget it. Take a listen to “Unconditionally.”
Dylan started off playing acoustic guitar exclusively.
That’s how you know he was meant to be a worship leader.
But he does possess a worship leader’s anointing, and reportedly “converted” (I hate that word) to Christianity in the late 1970s or early ’80s (according to Wikipedia which I’m sure is always right).
[Rant: what does “converted” mean, anyway? Following Christ is turning around and walking in the other direction, toward Christ. You’re not changing life forms or something.]
I believe Dylan has been “Knocking On Heaven’s Door” for a long time, with his music, and was meant to inspire others to do the same.
Jason Wade of Lifehouse
This one is kind of cheating because Wade use to be a worship leader. The first Lifehouse album is basically a bunch of worship songs that also “worked” in the secular world.
Back in the day I used “Everything” in worship sets incessantly. To this day it’s one of the most powerful songs I remember ever leading with.
Lifehouse has leaned less on the worship side since their 2001 breakout debut album No Name Face. Nonetheless, Jason Wade will always be a born worship leader.
Surprised to see this name here? Don’t be. Anyone who has worldwide, generation-spanning influence got there by having a special anointing.
Jesus says all authority and power is distributed by the Father in Heaven. For some reason, John Lennon was given an extra portion.
He said The Beatles were bigger than Jesus. But God wanted him to make Jesus bigger to the world. Musically, we gained by John Lennon’s chosen path. While this is a topic of another post, I don’t believe he would have forged so much ground musically as a worship leader or even a Christian artist (if there was such a thing back then, which there wasn’t) So, yay!, we advanced music history by 50 years in a very short period in the 1960s. However, it’s hard to say how far God’s kingdom would have been advanced if Lennon had somehow heard/learned/obeyed Christ.
Perhaps Jesus would have already returned. [Not kidding].
God’s glory will go on regardless, but what part Lennon could have had in that we’ll never know.
“Imagine” what he could have done.
This list is just a sample of musicians I thought of off the top of my head. Feel free to chime in on the comments below the “related posts” section. What famous mainstream musician do you think has a worship leader’s anointing?
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“Anyone who has worldwide, generation-spanning influence got there by having a special anointing.”
Don’t forget Stalin, Lenin, Mao, Hume, Darwin, … I could go on. Maybe even Satan himself … can’t say he doesn’t have “worldwide generation spanning influence.”
I’m sorry but I’m gonna have to disagree on this one. Are everyone’s abilities ultimately endowed by our Creator? Well, yes. Are there secular artists who could be great worship leaders? Again, yes. But to throw the word “anointing” out there in such an indiscriminate way (the demon possessed girl was “anointed”???) just doesn’t seem to do justice to the Scriptural concept of anointing. Sorry. Just my opinion.
Hi Lucas, this article is very interesting, and I wondered if you were aware that the band U2 was a christian band at the start. Unfortunately, they did not do well in their native country of Ireland, and then transitioned to a rock band and the rest is history! I personally believe that Bono is a believer, which is the only basis of our salvation anyway, and not by works, even though I agree that he could be very influential in helping to spread the Gospel, speeding up the return of our Lord and Savior! This article was very insightful, and for me, very encouraging in that it reminds me to keep my eyes and thoughts on things eternal and not temporal in regards to how I use my God given gifts and talents and the anointing that I believe is upon my life. His Word does tell us that these gifts and callings come without repentance!
i agree as well. i would include kurt cobain. his music was mesmerizing and his songs and riffs had an “annointing”. scott, in my humble opinion, didn’t get the context of the article. thanks for the site.
I agree with your theory or hypothesis. Another example is Elvis Presley. Presley also recorded many gospel songs and according to some research is still the largest selling gospel music artist today. Elvis is known as “ The King”. So imagine if he had advanced the kingdom of God with his music. Although he made his money and name through mostly secular music and movies and memorabilia, I know of people that attend church every time the doors are open that still listen to Elvis Presley gospel recordings always.
There are still other ways to advanve this theory. Here is one of my own:
Prophets are people that have been made aware or “turned on” to the spiritual realm of reality. They are like radio receivers. They are constantly receiving but it is up to them what “ channels” they are tuned into. This would also explain psychics as well as others like witches and sorcerers and the like. Now as far as Biblical examples let’s look at Baalam. He was obviously a prophet even according to Paul. But he chose th use his gifting to further himself and to make money. There is no question he had some sort of supernatural power because he was hired even by a king to curse the nation of Israel but instead he blessed them. I could go on: the 450 prophets of Baal that Jezebel kept company with and the prophets that God had reserved unto Himself that had never bent the knee to Baal. Some people are anointed and as such are receivers of spiritual messages. These people can also channel spirits or speak what they hear in the Spirit. We have numerous examples in the Bible of such people like the woman with a demon that followed Paul and Barnabas around exclaiming “ these are the men of the most high God” until Paul cast the demon out of her angering those she worked for because they lost the money they would make off of her gift!
To anyone that is educated in the supernatural and is not afraid to speak independent thought these things are more than obvious. I think the person stating they were disturbed and also using the word charismatic in a negative sense maybe someone not gifted in this way and in truth is envious of those who are. I’ve heard it said that anyone that has never heard the voice of God themselves has no business being a minister. I met one such person. He was the pastor of a large prestigious church. I told him I had heard the Lord speak to me on occasion and here was his statement to me: “ I’ve never had that happen.” and, “ was it a male or a female voice?”
Thanks for your comments, Scott.
First of all, I want to point out that I put “I believe” in the article because, as Paul said, It is I speaking, not the Lord. I think it’s okay to have your own theories about how the universe works. This article summarizes one of my theories and should not be taken as biblical truth, revelation, or anything more than a hypothesis.
My reasoning is derived, though, from many biblical examples. Solomon was chosen to be great. He screwed a lot of things up morally, but God did not take away what I would call “anointing” — though that term is debatable as you brought up.
Call it “gifting”, “talent”, “influence”, or “designated position” — that’s more of the idea. Think of Samson, though he engaged in all sorts of unruly and even sinful activity, retained his anointing as long as his hair was intact.
You are right, though, that New Testament anointing can’t rest on unbelievers because they are still at odds with God, not able to act in the Spirit. My take is based on an Old Testament anointing.
It’s a little fatalistic, but you have to admit that some people are born into the world larger than life and carry an outsize influence on society throughout their lives. I believe this ability is God-given, at conception, and nothing can take it away. Call it anointing or something else, it’s real.
This ability, most often, is not attributed to God, because with that much talent and influence it’s hard to submit yourself to Christ. So most of these individuals end up very prominent in the world but not so much in the Kingdom of God. There are exceptions, of course, like Mark Driscoll of the late Mars Hill Church, Billy Graham, Keith Green, and more. These individuals, if they did not choose the path of God’s service, would have ended up just as large of a force in the secular world.
In the same way, perhaps figures like John Lennon would have had an outsize impact on God’s Kingdom, speeding Christ’s return. Matthew 24:14 says the gospel will be preached to all nations, then the end will come. Since he left the preaching to us, why could not an influential individual speed Christ’s coming? 2 Peter 3:12 suggests we can do just that. My point about Lennon was that, if a person has massive influence, and uses that to make Christ famous, Jesus could actually return sooner.
These are controversial views, I know. I hope they are not stumbling blocks as you say. Again, thanks for your insights on this post.
Hello. I frequent your site fairly often. I defintely felt led to weigh in on the topic above, “5 rock stars who might have been worship leaders”. I am a worship pastor. While I appreciate your website overall, I find this article disturbing. I don’t know your theological background but it strikes me as more like “charismatic speak” and personal opinion than biblical truth. You say “I believe” but you give no scriptural foundations for such beliefs.
According to God’s Word, ALL believers have been anointed (1 John 2:20; 2 Cor. 1:21-22)—chosen by God and empowered by His Holy Spirit for service unto Him. I know of nowhere in the NT that suggests that God “does give an anointing, at conception, to certain individuals. After we are born, He lets us decide what we will do with it.”
Additionally the artists you mentioned at least appear to be unbelievers, and as such could not be “anointed” as described in the NT.
The comment “perhaps Jesus would have returned already” if John Lennon had somehow heard/learned/obeyed Christ is nothing short of ludicrous. To state that one man could have such influence over when the King of the Universe may return has absolutely zero scriptural foundation.
If your article were framed in the context of “IF” these people had been believers, they could have been great worship leaders, I would be able to perhaps agree with the premise. As it stands right now, though, it potentially provides a huge stumbling block to new believers and muddies the water between Jesus and the World.