Picture a teacher standing before a classroom full of students who are all on the edge of their seats, captivated and mulling on every word that is spoken. What a great responsibility that teacher holds! The words the say and the things they do can shape a child’s education permanently. Now picture what we as worship leaders and teams do each and every week before our congregations. We are much like that teacher we just described, we hold a massive responsibility each and every week to demonstrate, model, and educate our congregations in true “God-pleasing” worship.
Below I have listed some thoughts on how we can better communicate and model the attitude of a Biblical worshipper from the stage weekly. Be sure to note that this blog post isn’t about what our song selections communicate… that is a whole separate topic that can be expected within the next few weeks. Anyways… let’s get going!
Is it apparent that worship brings us joy?
I don’t know how many times I have watched back footage of myself on stage leading worship and noticed that I do not look happy at all, or had my lovely Grandma look me dead in the eye and say, “try smiling more… at least look happy to have the opportunity to lead worship.” How encouraging does an unhappy or emotionally dead worship leader or team member look to a newcomer to our worship services? Psalm 84 makes it clear in the first two verses that naturally our worship should be filled with joy.
“How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.” -Psalm 84:1-2
We shouldn’t fake joy… our worship should naturally be filled with joy if we truly understand and believe what we are singing and who we are singing to. Do you believe the words you sing? Seek the Lord and pray diligently that you enter into worship joyfully and express that joy in a natural, authentic, and contagious way. Your congregations attitude towards worship starts with you… model it for them.
Inclusion… Worship isn’t a spectator sport.
There are several ways to make people feel included and there are just as many things that have the opposite affect. Everyone has a friend who sings loudly in the car to every song that comes on the radio… even if they don’t know the majority of the words. Don’t turn your congregations into that friend. It’s typically a good idea to not introduce too many new songs too quickly. Not every person in our congregations is “up-to-speed” by our opinion on modern worship and really the only time they may hear “church music” is when they are at church. We as worship leaders should acknowledge that and allow our congregations time to learn the songs that we sing.
Another way to connect our congregations to the songs that we sing is to choose keys that they CAN sing! Being a natural tenor I’m guilty of messing this concept up more than any other person I know… but we must remember to choose easily singable keys. I’m definitely not saying not to make your congregations put forth an effort. I personally prefer to pick songs and keys that don’t strain people, but also songs that don’t allow them to just mumble along without putting forth any effort to sing and worship at all. Most of us probably don’t lead worship for a church full of professional singers so we shouldn’t hold them to those expectations.
Are we demonstrating excellence?
We also must be aware of how we are representing ourselves and the God in which we worship from stage. It becomes apparently clear when a group of musicians, whether it’s a church band or a local group, is prepared or not prepared for a “set” or group of songs they are going to play in front of people. Do we take our corporate worship time seriously? If we do then we must pursue excellence in that area. The better our worship sounds isn’t necessarily going to please God any more or less… but it models something for our congregations. We as believers should pursue excellence in every area of our lives because we are doing all things for the glory of our God.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” -Colossians 3:23
So… what are we communicating?
Be prepared to lead worship. Worship joyfully. Bring others alongside you in worship to our God.