I have had the opportunity to serve at churches that love to worship and currently serve with a congregation that continues to grow in its passion for God, which is displayed in how they worship. It has been and is a privilege to be called of God to serve in this way. But after 30 years of serving as a worship leader there are some things I still don’t get. The one that seems the most irritating recently is the lack of desire on the part of many worshippers to get to the worship service before the service starts. (I do understand that it is impossible for some of our people to get to the worship service on time because of the ministry they are filling. These ministries, which are as important as any other on our campus include: greeters, parking lot attendants, preschool workers and others.
Recently as I began the service only about 50% of those who finally ended up in the worship room were present. The other disturbing part is how that many of those 50% did not stop what they were doing when the service started. Seriously…I watched a group of three men continue a conversation throughout the first song.
We have tried 5 minute countdowns and having the worship team sing a song before the actual service time. (Our theory was that if the people heard singing they might think they have missed something.) We have made announcements about the importance of being early and being ready to engage in the conversation of worship. (Are these the same people who will miss church to make sure they get to a football game 1 – 2 hours before the game starts?)
It used to be the case that when the leader of the service walked to the stage people stopped and focused on how they were to participate. There are even traditions where when the first note of music was played of the ‘prelude’ everyone got in their place and began to engage.
I enjoy the informality of today’s churches that allow and accept casual attire.
I support the casual feeling in worship services.
But…casual doesn’t mean un-engaged, nor does it mean being disrespectful of the time or the people trying to engage.
I am not a fan of going back to a formal service where there was a demand for reverence. I am a fan of people entering the worship space with anticipation and with minds on the purpose of what is to come. (Fellowship can take place at other times.)
I have been thinking that if I ever don’t have the responsibility of being the worship leader, I will make it my priority to get to the worship center at least 10 minutes early. I could use the extra time to prepare to hear and worship God.
Is this one of your frustrations?
As a worship leader do you have other frustrations? (that you can mention)