In part One of this blog reflected on what true worship looks like. If we don’t remind ourselves to keep the main thing the main thing we will quickly be reduced to but an empty shell – a form lacking content.
This is the essence of worship: that God is glorified and exalted and He comes to us with his tangible presence. It’s his presence that distinguished us from every other people group on this earth. When people encounter His presence, they are changed forever because they have encountered the living God. This is what happened to Abraham. Moses, Jacob, Joshua, the disciples, Paul and you and I.
Concluding thoughts for Worship leaders and Worship bands.
Therefore we stand there to firstly worship ourselves and then to facilitate the congregation to worship. We are always pointing to Jesus and the finished work of the cross.
Therefore our preparation is vital. We are seeking God through the week on what we ought to focus on, we craft our set list based on our meditations and what we feel the Holy Spirit prompting us to do. The songs selected need to strong in doctrine and cross centered. The people should hear the gospel through the worship and not just the preaching. There needs to be a running theme – a clear direction as to where we are going in the worship. It’s not a bunch of my favorite’s songs or what makes me sound good.
I have often heard this said “If you come with a set list you are leaving no room for the Holy Spirit to work”. I find that a lame excuse for laziness and lack of preparation. We belong to a God who speaks to us and who foretold of His son’s sacrifice thousands of years before the event took place. Can He not prompt us and guide us with our set list a few days before Sunday? Having said this one must always be open to a change in direction and the promptings to the Spirit in that moment. However more often than not, we have found the worship, the prayers, the public reading of scripture, prophecies, the preaching all in complete sync with each other because it is the same Spirit at work. What a wonderful demonstration of the power, presence and unity in the Spirit. This is what it is all about.
On the one hand you can have one musician and usher in the mighty presence of God and on the other you can have a 5-8 piece band and have great music but no presence.What a tragedy!!! Let us resolve never to go there.
I am not saying big bands cannot usher the presence of God. I am not against being relevant to the youth etc . My plea is to pursue His presence and exalt Jesus Every Sunday I pray a Mosaic prayer which is for God’s presence to be with us or else how will the people know that his favour is with us, how will the unbeliever know that God is in our midst? Let’s not settle for anything less.
As a worship leader I am first of all to be a worshiper myself. Then when I worship public ally, I am also a servant. I am there to serve my congregation and my band. I am there to help my congregation engage with God. I am sensitive to where the congregation is at, sensitive to my worship team and where they are at. This is a far cry from some of the super star images we sometimes see in the Christian circles.
As I close my reflection I want to add a footnote on a very important but neglected area :
A note on TEAM
It’s not about a superstar and everybody else in the band is their side kick. It’s TEAM. Together we worship, and we lead together. Together is very important. I have been in bands where there have been several egos on display. There has been no cohesion or unity; there has been no considering of the other musicians.
Keys are chosen without taking so many other parameters into question viz most importantly can the congregation sing in that key? Are all the musicians comfortable with the key etc? Do you turn up your mike or instrument up and drown everybody else out and not care? Can you hear the others on the monitors? Do we make room for other members of the band to contribute musically, vocally, in prayer, prophetic song etc. The worship leader does not have to lead out every song in order to lead.
It is team work – the whole team carries the worship in their playing, singing and in their hearts. They do not zone out but are actively engaged in the worship and participate. When we do this it catches on and it also helps the congregation engages in a meaningful way.
One of the comments I have often heard from visiting preachers to our church is how the entire band is involved in the worship in that they are praying, prophesying, singing out etc. This will happen only when we are Band Leaders make this a part of our culture and practice, making room for everyone’s gifts to emerge for the glory of God.
When we engage in true worship it takes the performance out of it and it becomes a sweet sound in our God’s ears.
So let’s go and worship our God and if you are a worship band leader/musician/singer etc. , let’s remember to pursue His presence always and keep the main thing the main thing.