Lately I have been looking around online and asking other worship leaders how they plan their time of music and other aspects of their ministry as worship leaders. I want to distill the essence of what it means to worship together. It’s the together part I get hung up on. In the list of values or attributes for our worship team, this is number 2…(not listed by importance)
2. Everything we do will be to the benefit of all members of the worship experience.
Today’s worship leaders have an insane amount of cheap technology to put on concerts with. A cool new LED stage light, effect pedal, fog, cool clothes, video loops, all can be had for about a hundred bucks. You could walk into most churches and see these things making a great atmosphere that pulls you from your daily life and makes you forget your troubles. All you think about is the music and the emotion.
That is a great list of tools. The common complaint against the modern church is what they do with those tools. A lot of the time, it ends with a concert. As Christians, we need a time dedicated to abandoning our troubles and just thinking about and feeling the presence of our God. A concert setting can be a great place for that to take place! It’s a great toolbox, but in itself, it is nothing more.
For me to feel like we led a successful worshipful experience, there has to be corporate involvement. The congregation had to be involved in it, not just subject to it. I have been through both settings and i know the difference between God’s presence and cool lights. I will like music more with lights and smoke, it’s just who I am, but that won’t bring me to my knees or lift my hands or make me sing notes I could never dream to hit right. The only thing capable of that is God himself.
When I sing and look around me seeing others engage, seeming to forget there are other people around them, lifting their hands, or falling to the ground, or just the look on their faces…that is what sets me free. The spirit of God moves people through people. A room full of smoke and lights could never do that.
It’s hard to put a fine point on this concept, but this has been my shot. It’s my job, what God has called me to do, to lead his people into his presence, and every change I make will have that intent. Lights, effects, smoke, and new songs are all cool but only if they help us come together *into God’s presence.
The more we do this, the easier it is to do. So, I want it to be as easy as possible for people to do this every week, and I will use anything God provides to do it.
*(on a side note, it is us who come into the presence of God because it is us who run away. I get annoyed when leaders ask God to come…He is always there, we just need help feeling it sometimes.)