Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Worship Music....

I have briefly hit on this topic before, but I feel like I haven't completed figuring out what I really believe and who knows I may hit on it again and the thoughts seem completely different that what I think as of now.  That is the beauty with our relationship with God.  It's ever changing.  He always has something new for us to learn and is always trying to shape us into who He created us to be.

In my years of attending different churches, I have seen and heard many different thoughts on how the "worship" portion of the service should be done.  (I know worship is more than just the music portion, but for all intent and purposes, most churches call music the worship part of the service whether they actually believe that or not.)  I find it interesting how many different views there are and to see how different churches approach it in different ways.

Today, I have decided to express what and how I view the "worship" portion of a church service.

I love good music.  It takes you to a place beyond yourself and can really unite a group in a common cause, if only for a few minutes.   I want to be led into that place.  I want to be invited to join in the journey. I want to experience the journey with others.  The problem I have run into though, is that all too often we aren't being lead.  We are being drug along.

I have met a few music leaders that really know the way. You can tell immediately.  The worship experience doesn't start when they get on stage to lead. You are lead by them from the moment you begin a conversation with them.  You can tell that God is with them and they know where they are going.  They want to bring others along to meet the king.  They don't want to drag you whether you like it or not, but want to show you His face and allow you to be a part of the oneness we can have with others and Christ.  For me, this is a powerful experience.  It's encouraging. It's uplifting.  It's an example of a time and place where we can put all else aside and just come before God with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Unfortunately, I have also experience quite the opposite as well.  

Having a background in music, I can get a pretty good feel of the environment right away.  I can tell if the group actually practices, if they are passionate about what they are doing, and if it is actually a group or just a bunch of individuals. For me, when I see a sign that a group doesn't practice, isn't passionate, or is just a bunch of individuals, I immediately dig my heals in, I don't want to be lead when I am unsure that the leader even knows the way. 

It pains me so much when I see a "worship" program that doesn't take "worship" seriously.  God calls us to do all things with excellence.  I know I fail and have failed at times when it comes to doing things to the best of my ability.  It's so easy to feel like we are "good" enough and don't need to practice or don't need to work on growing as a group.  It's not easy, but it's important.

Maybe none of this really makes sense to anyone but me, and it may just be my personal preferences that get the way.  I want all that God has for me.  I want all God has for others as well.  I just wonder how many times we sell ourselves short or are kept short simply because doing the hard just too hard.

So if you're a worship pastor or in a worship band, I want to ask you a few questions.

• Why do you play/sing?  Is it for you?  Is it for God? Is it for others?

• Do you prepare spiritually before leading?  (Making sure your heart is in the right place)

• Do you prepare physically before leading?  (Making sure you personally know the songs, as well as making sure the band has practiced all the songs)

• Do you play as a group or as a bunch of individuals?

• Is the group gradually getting better and more cohesive?

• Are you willing to not play or not sing if its for the greater good of the group?

Leading worship, doesn't take the greatest musicians.  It takes musicians with a great heart to lead others into the presence of God.


  1. Hi Alan

    As part of a worship band, I believe that we cannot lead others to a place that we haven't been ourselves. In other words, public leadership is a result of private cultivation and experience. What we do, how we live, our attitudes, our priorities, and our actions day in and day out set the parameters of the path we then lead people down during corporate worship.

    The question I ask myself is, "Am I leading people somewhere, or entertaining?" If worship/music is excellent, there is inherent good present (beauty, passion, God's revelation), but the majority of my focus as a leader is on creating a space in which people can actively participate in worship themselves. To use your analogy of being led verse being drug, I don't just want to pull a wagon full of people towards God and His worship, I want create a map revealing the way and be courageous enough to lead by taking the first step down the trail.

    1. Brady, thank you for your comments. I appreciate your words of guidance and how well you articulated what I wanted to convey. I learned so much from being able to follow you and you truly are a great example of how to help guide others down the path. I value you and your opinion and know that God is leading you in a way that leads others toward him.