As worship leaders, do we seek to facilitate worship experiences, or do we aim to develop a worshiping community?”
In other words, is what we do as worship leaders about helping people have moments of engagement with God? Or is it about engaging not only with God but also with one another? Is it our aim to structure worship centers that are beautiful and worship services that run smoothly without any glitches? Or is it to allow people to be built together like living stones into a spiritual temple? There is a vast difference between the two.
What matters to you more??
…that the guitar player plays all the right licks? or that he is united in heart with the other members of the band?
…that people leave church saying, “worship was awesome today!” or that they leave church connected to the people around them?
…that your worship team is excellent musically, or that they truly worship GOD throughout the week on their own, and that Sunday is just a time for their hearts of worship to overflow?
Of course, it is possible to have both musical excellence and true worship. And, both are important. But, I promise…as a worship leader, you will have the opportunity at times to choose between unity and musical excellence, between talent and true worship, between pleasing people and connecting people, between people and product. What you choose determines what you value most.
It is impossible to separate our relationship with God from our relationships with others: “We love because God loved us. If anyone says, I love God, and hates a brother or sister, he is a liar, because the person who doesn’t love a brother or sister who can be seen can’t love God, who can’t be seen. This commandment we have from him: Those who claim to love God ought to love their brother and sister also” (1 John 4:19-21). Our relationships with others affect our relationship with God. It is ridiculous to claim that you love God but harbor prejudice about someone who is made in God’s image. We are fooling ourselves if we believe that we can have amazing worship experiences with God if our relationships are not right in our worshiping community. Relationships are important to God! So important, that Matthew 5:23-24 tells us to leave our gift at the altar and go be reconciled with a brother if something isn’t right in one of our relationships.
What do you think is more important to God? For the drummer to play flawlessly? Or for him to set down his drumsticks in the middle of a song to go apologize to a brother he has offended? Is it more important for the pastor and worship leader to flow together seamlessly during an altar call, or for them to love and respect and care for one another? For more on developing worshiping communities, check out our book, Worship Together [in your church as in heaven].
[Proskuneo helps the Body of Christ see, live, and share the vision of multicultural, Jesus-centered worshiping communities among all peoples, on earth as in heaven.]