Last week, right before church started, our band gathered to say the traditional, “God we pray you’re with us, we pray for no distractions, for your presence to fall, for us to remember our parts, and for the computer not to crash like it did last week, etc.”
We do this every week. So do you.
In our setting, if we’re not careful, we hustle to get ready, we rehearse until the last minute, then throw up a Hail Mary prayer of sorts.
This got me thinking about the larger “preparations” we do for worship and how often we are living in bad habits that are hindering our experience.
Here are 5 common ways leaders hinder worship:
WE GET ON STAGE WITH HURRIED HEARTS.
I tell brides on their wedding day, “Don’t execute your wedding, experience your wedding.” Slow down, look around, be in it.
The same goes for worship leaders on Sunday. Experience the church, experience the Lord, enjoy yourself and Him. Get out of the green room, come out from behind the curtain, get away from details and get near the people. And prepare in such a way that you are not making 200 decisions on Sunday, but rather doing what you already decided a week ago.
I don’t know that I’m always present in His presence.
Are you present in His presence? Or are you simply executing excellence?
WE VALUE GOD’S PUBLIC PRESENCE MORE THAN HIS PRIVATE PRESENCE.
If it is the mark of a mature believer to have their most powerful time with the Lord be in private.... Are we equipping band members to think that way?
I remember a worship leader named Billy Foote telling a group that when he’s on stage he’s working not worshiping. We all gasped and threw stones.
He meant he’s already worshiped privately, he’s already been in God’s presence, so when he stands to lead, he’s working as an act of worship, not actually worshiping in the same way the crowd is.
That may seem confusing or broken, but again what he’s saying is, don’t get all your worship in public. Don’t get on stage and close your eyes and do your thing while forgetting that you are leading people, not just personally having time with God.
Public performer < Private Prayer
Private prayer + Public Performer = Power and Anointing
When you’re in His presence privately, you can serve the church publicly. Be careful valuing His public presence over His private presence.
I hope we pray more in the secret place than we do in a microphone.
WE HAVE NOT EQUIPPED OUR BAND TO BEAR SPIRITUAL RESPONSIBILITY.
Knowing your guitar part is important. Super important. But knowing that the musical part of your job is secondary to the spiritual part is far more powerful.
If you are a worship leader: Does your band bear any sense of spiritual responsibility for the people they are leading or do they think that’s just “your job”?
Have you clearly articulated spiritual leadership to them, or are they simply a “girl with a good voice, and we need a singer.”
Spiritual weight should be shared by the band.
We tell our people that their worship starts Saturday night, with them getting some rest, and waking up early and getting in the word of God, and coming to church with a heart ready to lead a people.
To say it in an extreme: Bands who bear no spiritual responsibility might as well be a cover band leading karaoke.
Tell your band they are leaders, and leaders bear responsibility. Give them a list of expectations and responsibilities. Invite them in - they will be better for it, and so will the church.
WORSHIPERS DON’T COME TO CHURCH EXPECTANT.
Sipping lattes during worship is fine with me. Really, it’s no big deal. Because I think we lost you way before the latte.
At the risk of sounding redundant: As worshipers (the band and the church) we have to come into to our gatherings having already prayed, read the word, and prepared our heart to join the people of God in the worship of God.
It’s amazing how much better the sermon is when you’ve spent time with the Lord that day. It’s amazing how much you like any song if you’ve already sung to the Lord privately that day.
Corporate worship is a gift, a gift we should prepare for.
It makes a world of difference in our critical and indifferent hearts when we walk into church already having met with the Lord that day.
The reason why “Worship Nights” or “Baptism Sundays” are so profound and powerful is simple - it really comes down to one word: EXPECTANCY.
LEADERS ACT LIKE CO-WORKERS, NOT CO-LABORERS.
“No man is an island” is a poem by John Doone.
John never met worship leaders and pastors. If we are not careful we plan separately, pray separately, practice separately, and get up on Sundays with separate messages and separate hearts.
If we share a stage and a leadership position then unity is a mandatory aspect of worship.
Let me be clear: Worship Leaders are not actually the worship leader. The Senior Pastor is the worship leader. And really the Holy Spirit is the worship leader. And further more Jesus is ultimately the only Pastor capable of truly ushering us into God’s presence.
Worship Leaders, you are 4th in the line… get unified with your pastor. Don’t hijack the service after the sermon with some direction other than where he was going.
Support the sermon, worship leaders. Rally around the word of God and the biblical principle for that Sunday. Don’t go your own way. God won’t bless that, because it’s not unified, it’s rogue.
I get so frustrated when worship leaders come on stage after the Word of God is clearly spoken in one direction and they choose to take the mic and go a different way.
Stay close to the message, support the message, sing the message, and watch God anoint the unity.
I hope this has been helpful. Let me know if you’ve seen anything hinder worship so that I can keep an eye out for it!