Spotlight on, set list prepped, intro video fades, and drummer clicks us into the opening riffs of the popular song to get the crowd clapping.
No, really. Trust us. (Maybe it’s the warm-up to worship? Will you buy that?)
It’s a Wednesday Worship post, at least.
Okay, I hear cool worship blogs have all the videos and teh YouTubes. I guess I should try that.
Right, so… what’s the problem there? (Kidding.)
That’s how we often come across. There’s a nugget of truth in any joke. The video addresses a lot of elements of “contemporvant” church services, but I’m of course thinking of the portrayal of worship.
What about contemporary church worship makes us come across as fake? What makes it seem like we’re just revving up emotions and holding a concert instead of seeking a genuine encounter with God?
For one, I believe it’s the thought that there’s a Worship Leader, and then there’s Everyone Else.
We sometimes put these men and women up in front of the crowd, and the attention of the entire room goes onto their words, expressions, and gestures. “A thousand people are watching you intently. No pressure. Be godly.”
At our current church in Bellevue, we’re instructed and reminded that all of the singers, musicians, and technicians who get up on stage are actually worship leaders. And when we use that term, I get the impression we’re talking about “lead worshipers” instead.
It seems like semantics, but Matt Redman makes a really good point in his book, “The Unquenchable Worshipper.” The concept is, when you talk about a worship leader or leaders, you are emphasizing the person in the front, the individual who is guiding and directing all of us in our singing and praising God. When you change the order of the words to talk about lead worshipers, you emphasize that we have some folks up front on the stage who are worshiping God, and we all want to go along with them where they’re headed.
Redman points out that the Holy Spirit is the real Worship Leader, if anyone is. It’s our job to tune in and figure out where God is going, and then point the way as we pursue Him. We’re not leading anything. We’re following. We’re just up front for everyone else to see, so that they can follow too.
Our Worship Pastor emphasizes this well. He reminds us, “You are all worship leaders. When the congregation looks at you on stage, they’re watching to see how you’re worshiping. But they keep watching when you step off the stage, when you pray before the service, when you mingle with people after the service. You’re showing them how to worship God at all times, not just when you stand up on stage.”
Like I said in last week’s Wednesday Worship post, “worship” is whatever we do to express God’s worth.
It doesn’t end when you set down the mic or put up your guitar. It doesn’t stop when your worship team steps off the stage or the lyrics fade off the screen. It’s not over when the person in front finishes praying and invites the congregation to be seated.
If you’re on a “worship team,” understand that you are a lead worshiper. You are a visible reminder of God’s presence. Some of your fellow church members are probably paying close attention to what you do and how you live.
And if you’re not on a worship team, if you’re “only” a church member, please understand that your worship is just as vital and necessary. All of us are on the worship team in God’s eyes. All of us are created and called to express His worth in the world.
Now there’s some growtivation!