When we say we are Christ Followers it implies that we follow Him in all we do, not just when we around other believers. That includes our choice, or calling, to a specific vocation. For me the vocation happens to be in a church setting where my main goal is to engage others in meeting God in worship. I am striving to follow Christ in how I carry out those duties.
I am one of ‘those’ people. You know the ones; went to church for an extended period of time in one church setting and then made a drastic change. For me the shift was from ‘Pentecostal’ to ‘Baptist.’ That history includes growing up, education and serving in one place and education and serving in the other. The years I spent in each worship experience has had a great impact on my life as a ‘worship leader.’
I am also one of those people who have endured the constant change of worship ‘styles’ in the local church. The pendulum has swung over the decades from traditional, to spectator, thematic to expository, no-choirs to choirs and everywhere in between.
It is really not about the swing of the pendulum, but about ‘making God’s glory known.’ The journey of the children of God leaving Egypt through the Red Sea was about making God’s glory known. Christ came to earth to show God’s power, to make God’s glory known. We have been redeemed to make God’s glory known. Corporate worship is about making God’s glory known, through a conversation of revelation and response.
Sundays come once a week. It doesn’t matter what happens in between, Sundays keep coming. With every future Sunday comes a blank piece of paper. What determines the elements we as ‘worship leaders’ place on that blank page? How are we deciding to hear and speak to God through revelation and response?
Depending on your faith background your approach to the blank piece of paper will be different. Over the past years I have chosen to approach worship planning with these questions:
Is everything based on Scripture?
Do the elements chosen communicate and reflect the characteristics of God and the full story of salvation through Christ?
Do the elements of the service help people recognize God's presence and therefore connect people with God?
Is there something familiar to a large group of the congregation in the worship plan? -- Familiarity would be different for different age groups and church backgrounds or absence of a church background.
Does everything we do encourage people to participate? -- Worship is a verb, something to participate in and not to watch.
Do the elements of the service enhance or compromise the message? -- If there is any indication that an element gets in the way of the content then it should not be used.
Throughout the worship service, is time and opportunity given for people to...
-- voice praise?
-- voice thanksgiving?
-- hear God's Word?
-- respond to what they hear?
-- pray to God in a personal and corporate way?
As ‘worship leader’ it is my responsibility and great privilege to encourage the congregation to meet God in conversation. The above list of questions help me to keep that the priority.
Christ Followers, no matter where God has placed you in life there is a call to serve. What questions are you asking yourself that help you stay focused on that goal?