Originally Written for 9/7/08
Let’s briefly review the last two weeks. We started by mentioning our mission statement, which is located on the front of the newsletter, and then last week I introduced three key ideas that need to be understood in order to be better worship leaders:
1) What Worship Is;
2) How We Worship;
3) What Authentic Worship Looks Like.
Last week’s devotional focused on the first of those – what worship is – and we were reminded that worship is always God-centered and God-initiated. So let’s look this week at the second idea.
How do we worship? First, let’s remember that worship extends beyond music and singing in the service. In fact, everything we do, every day can be (and should be) worship. Romans tells us we should be “living sacrifices” (12:1). For the sake of our newsletter (and our role in the church), though, we’ll focus on the musical aspect of that since it’s how we most overtly lead in the service.
First and foremost, we must remember that worship is an outward expression of an inward attitude. Jesus said we must worship the Father in “Spirit and in truth” (4:23). Some common outward expressions of worship found in scripture can be singing (Ex 15:1, Eph 5:19, Col 3:16), playing instruments (Ps 150:4), raising hands (Neh 8:6), clapping (Ps 47:1), or even dancing (2 Sam 6:14). Remember, though, these are all outward signs and do not constitute the heart of worship.
As leaders in the worship service we should not be afraid to express our gratitude toward God. We should also feel free to praise Him and proclaim Him. This means that we need to be emotionally engaged in the worship service, since the congregation does look at us.
Obviously, the first step to outward display is inward engagement. When we arrive at church – and even before – we need to take some time to focus ourselves on what is going to happen. Taking a few minutes before service is an invaluable way to focus our efforts on God.
Once we do that it should show in how we worship. Do we smile? The congregation notices. Do we think about what we’re singing? The congregation can tell if we do! Next week, as you get ready to lead the congregation in worship take a few minutes to quiet your soul before God and listen to what He’s telling you. Remember – worship is God-initiated, but in order for us to hear Him we need to be listening for Him. Look through the songs before the service – they’re listed in the bulletin – and think about the texts and what they tell you about Christ. As you sing, meditate on the words you’re saying and let your face and body reflect those thoughts. It makes all the difference in the world!