No matter what you do or how you do it, the worship you lead will shape people.
…Whether you are intentional or haphazard
…Whether your purpose is clearly articulated or fuzzy
…Whether your content is rich and substantive or shallow and meaningless
You will reap what you sow, producing that fruit in the people you lead.
Would you rather be intentional, clear and substantive or haphazard, fuzzy and trite? If you are going to shape people anyway, why not aspire to do it in such a way as to make a positive difference in the lives of the worshipers you lead. In order to be intentional, clear and substantive, however, you must first have a clear definition of worship in your mind. Without a clear definition of worship you can’t have a clear direction where you are going nor a clear way to measure if you get there. If you are not clear within yourself, there’s no way you can make it clear for your followers.
If you do not have a clear definition of worship, you are not alone.
Many worship leaders really haven’t given it much thought. Oh, they can regularly produce worship according to a prescribed format built on what they have learned and experienced which consists of what they like, perceive others to like, or what is deemed appropriate in their tribe. They watch and imitate what others are doing, acting on the assumption that if they select the right song, or preach the right sermon, people will like it and will hopefully be blessed, inspired, and connected with God. Thinking in terms of the music they like or a style of worship they find appropriate, musicians build worship on an emotional connection or on the songs themselves. All the while, though, they don’t have a clear picture of what the result of worship should look like.
Because of the busyness involved in just preparing and leading each week, many worship leaders don’t feel they have the time to think about the purposes and results of worship. As soon as one week’s services are complete, the process starts over in preparing for the next week. On top of this are the demands of other ministry tasks as well as the activities of life itself.
In our culture today, little value is given to the importance of margins for space to ponder and think. Social media can also distract us and absorb any marginal time.
It is no wonder that the easiest path for the worship leader is to lead worship that follows a comfortable pattern. But the easiest path is not always our best nor the best way to grow God’s people.
Practicing relationship with God through worship is the lifeblood for Christians and its leadership is a calling we should take seriously.
Gathered worship has a natural rhythm. This rhythm should draw people to encounter God together. At the same time, gathered worship should also teach a rhythm that builds personal worship. Ongoing personal worship feeds gathered worship and gathered worship feeds personal worship. Neither is sufficient by itself. Together, they should nurture Christian growth that produces people who are more Christ-like, obviously exhibiting the fruit of the spirit in their lives.
None of this is about the style of music or of preaching. Rather, it is about purposefully building worship to nurture transformation and Christ-like living: worship in which worshipers praise, honor and adore God, tune their hearts to God’s heart and listen, remember and are reminded what God has done, and obediently respond to God’s calling.
What you see is all there is. Clarify your thinking! Begin to see more!