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 thing...is 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.