What is worship? The answer should be very simple. Yet I’m amazed how many church leaders, and worship leaders, do not have a clear philosophy of worship. I confess, I’ve led worship for years without having answered this question. We aimlessly design services, and make decisions based on fads, tradition, preferences, even fear – and confuse this for worship. Really it’s just poor leadership.
Many who have studied the matter seem unable to provide an answer in less than an hour and without referencing obscure Hebrew terminology – as if to say worship can’t happen until you’re thoroughly educated. Understandably, many are left disillusioned.
So here it is – my simple, clear, concise definition of worship. Ready? Worship is our positive response to God. That’s it! Take a moment to let that sink in. When God reveals Himself and we obey – that’s worship. When we turn from our sins – worship. When we openly praise God – worship. When we’re not feeling it and we ask the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts – worship. When we’re thankful and acknowledge God – worship.
With this definition in mind, the purpose of the corporate worship experience becomes clear. The corporate worship service encourages people to positively respond to God. Every element (song, video, reading, etc) should go through this filter. Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you plan a corporate worship service.
Romans 12:1 says “…present your bodies as a living sacrifice…this is your spiritual worship” (HCSB). The emphasis is surrender (the positive response). Your job as a leader is to create an environment most conducive to response. You don’t have to coerce, or badger. Just present the truth clearly and artistically. Then model genuine response yourself. In doing this, you will encourage your people to worship in a way that is “…holy and pleasing to God.”
What have you found to be most effective in encouraging worship? What have you found to be ineffective?
Worship leader – your pastor is the single most important professional relationship you have. He is likely your direct supervisor. He’s the one who will sing your praises, or defend you to a disgruntled church member (or even before a board of directors or elders). He’s also responsible for the entire worship experience. You may be the primary facilitator of music and media, but he’s ultimately in charge – and is usually the one taking the fallout when things go awry. You absolutely want a healthy, dynamic relationship with your pastor.
I’m grateful to still have both professional working relationships, and friendships with the pastors under whom I’ve served. Here’s what I’ve learned.
1. Start with Respect. Honor your pastor for the position he holds. Recognize that he’s attempting to juggle the needs of the entire congregation. Whatever difficulties you have as a worship guy, he has expo…
How do you put together a worship set? Are you thematic? If the pastor is preaching on the blood of Christ, does every song and video have to mention the blood? Do you choose songs based on a continuity of keys, tempos, or feels? Are you trying to avoid having to adjust your capo (wag of the finger)? Are you entirely modern and refuse to do anything older than 5 years?
As I’ve put together hundreds of worship sets, and observed hundreds of others, I’ve noticed a trend. Effective worship elements tend to fall into one of three categories: Ancient, Global, and Local. I try to apply this filter to every worship set I program.
Ancient – These are songs and elements that give us a meaningful connection to the past. When I sing “A Mighty Fortress” I feel I’m linking arms with the reformers. Baptism becomes more meaningful when you think of the …
If you have any semblance of modern, band-driven worship, I guarantee you’ve had complaints about volume. I had a guy who would stick toilet paper in his ears every week and obnoxiously pace the foyer during the music set.
Conventional wisdom tells us that more volume equals more energy. After all people don’t want to hear themselves sing right?
So what’s the perfect volume? In this case, Disney has the answer. Disney seems to have a knack for managing expectations and providing the best user experience on the planet. They can teach us a thing or two about worship. So during my last visit to Disney World I decided to conduct an experiment. Every show I attended I would take out my iPhone and fire up the RTA Lite app. This handy (and free) little tool let’s me measure the decibel level at certain frequencies. I can see the level of the bass, mids, and trebles. The result…
Jordan is the worship pastor of Cayman Islands Baptist Church in beautiful Grand Cayman. He has also served local churches in Florida and Kentucky. In addition to church ministry, Jordan is a recording artist. His song, "Every Nation" is featured as the LifeWay theme song for 2012.
Jordan and his wife Heather have been married 6 years and have 3 sons: Kal, Rees, and Zann.
Heather uses her experience being the wife of a Worship Pastor and recording artist, mother of 3 rambunctious toddler boys, and a Registered Dietitian/speaker/professional, turned primarily homemaker and student, in appealing to a wide audience of driven women, super-mom wannabe's and their men, corporate professionals and church-leaders alike.
Heather is dedicated to sharing her findings on the working-mom/homemaker struggle and the Lord's clear instruction, often missed and/or misinterpreted. She is devoted to the practical application of relevant, biblical womanhood, often ignored. She is also committed to helping your family unit, by sharing new insight on what it means to be a Christian wife and mother, and perhaps easing tensions between you and the driven women in your life, attempting to be social media's ideal vs. God's ideal.
Heather is passionate about what she says and believes. She can't help but to share, feeling there MUST be others out there, "in her same boat."
Heather and I are always excited at the opportunity to lead worship and/or speak at various venues and locations. Contact us if you think we would make a contribution to your event.