Ask Derek the Cleric: Worship Leaders?

Updated 16:00PM, Friday May 18th, 2012 by Ian Matthews, Be the first to comment! seperator

A reader ask Derek the Cleric: "Did they have worship leaders in the New Testament?"

Dear Sir

There are certain areas of church life that seem to attract more than their fair share of controversy and worship is indeed one of them.

Whether the early church (and by that I am not alluding to St. Mary's up the road who have added an 8am service in an attempt, I suspect, to cream off the Sunday 'trade') utilised the services of the aforementioned 'worship leaders' is perhaps a tad unclear but we at St.Cliff's have certainly had the odd 'run-in' or two in this particular area.

Those of you who follow my regular blog at (I am told that all publicity is good publicity) will be aware that we have amongst our number a certain Mrs.Higginbottom as our resident organist. That she has sadly not been blessed with a musical ear (nor for that matter any part of her anatomy that has the least hint of a musical disposition) has caused us more than a little angst over the years.

I will confess to doing my level best to keep her and our trusty pipe organ as far apart as is possible but have not met with as much success as I would have liked. My all-too-frequent excuse that I am still attempting to master the ubiquitous spreadsheet and thus, once again, her name appears to have been left off St.Cliff's music rota, is perhaps wearing a bit thin.

In that our alternative musical choice (with regard to worship) is either that of my good self on the guitar (though even I will admit that my limited repertoire of 'Give me oil in my lamp' does somewhat limit the trajectory of our worship) or Ernie 'Elvis' Presley, an unfortunate gentlemen in our congregation whose life's work has been to try to capitalise (unsuccessfully) on his popular surname and who thus brings with him an altogether different approach to our worship, is not very encouraging.

Between you and me I find his frequent interjections of "uh-huh!" most unhelpful.

To the question in hand!

In a moment of almost Patmosian revelation I believe that I have hit upon the answer to your probing poser.

Whilst scouring the latest edition of 'World of Anglicanism' (it being the annual national league table issue and I confess that I was rather keen to see how St.Cliff's was faring in the grand scheme of things) I chanced upon a 'freebie' (I believe that this is how the general public refer to promotional gifts these days) by a popular worship leader called Robin Mark .

My epiphany was complete as I suddenly recalled that in the Book of Acts there is reference to a fellow called John Mark, no less, who was the cause of a fracas between Paul and Barnabus.

Although the Bible refers to a certain lack of commitment on the part of John Mark as being the rationale for things going 'pear shaped', on the basis of my original premise that worship is oft the cause of much ecclesiastical 'fall out', I would prefer to conclude therefore that this biblical personage is none other than a distant relative of the Robin Mark whose proffering I am about to insert into my compact disc player (and thus proof positive that there were indeed worship leaders in the New Testament).

That Mr Mark's promotional disc is entitled 'Room for Grace' does little to appease my conscience with regard to my recent treatment of Mrs.Higginbottom.

Onward and upward


Derek the Cleric is the fictitious creation of award-winning writer and illustrator Andy Robb. Find out more about Derek the Cleric (and Andy Robb) on Derek's Website.




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This article was written and published by Ian Matthews for


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