Lately a lot is being written about worship. Over the past six month so I’ve read Why I’d Rather Worship With the Lights On by J. Lee Grady, What’s Wrong with Contemporary Worship by Terry MacAlmon Misplacing Charisma: Where Worship Lost Its Way by Matthew Sigler, and Why They Don’t Sing on Sunday Anymore by Thom Schultz.
These are just 4 of dozens of articles I’ve read lately. And when I see a theme appear over and over and over…
…well, I start paying attention. Especially when I see these articles repeatedly shared across Facebook with dozens of comments agreeing with the writer.
People are apparently trying to say something!
It is easy for worship leaders and pastors to counteract these arguments with arguments of their own; but what is hard to ignore is the continual, repeated cry for change.
A wise man once said:
“A leader must have followers. If no one is following then you’re not leading – you’re simply on a stroll.”
The Biblical role of the worship leader is to guide people into the presence of God.
This means two things:
1. You should already know the path and destination and
2. You should walk with your followers – meaning that if you charge ahead at them at your own pace leaving them in the dust, you’re still not leading.
When the people don’t follow we need to do these two things:
1. Refuse to Attack
Often the first reaction of leaders is grow defensive and place the blame on the congregation. While the ultimate decision to enter God’s presence lays with the individual, there is much we can do to make the journey difficult or easy.
Many times, in an effort to create a better “atmosphere” we create more distractions that either discourage or even prevent people from fully entering the presence of the Lord. Which is why we need to…
2. Humbly examine what we’re doing
When the people fail to worship, we ought to take a step back and ask some questions.
Why don’t they worship?
Are we doing something that distracts them from the One we are worshiping?
What can we change to help them enter the presence of God easier and more fully?
Where is the general focus during the service?
Have we relied on props to do what only the Holy Spirit can do?
For the past year I have wanted to write on this subject, but simply didn’t feel it was the right time. Yesterday I heard the Lord speak to me that it was time to lay aside the articles I had planned for the next two months and write from the heart about the obvious struggle we see in the worship service.
We will explore the arguments being presented as to why people don’t worship, the celebrity culture we see, how worship historically changes in times of revival, hidden dangers we face in leading worship, and what worship really is.
I hope you will join me on this journey as we seek to return to the simplicity of God’s presence!