Music Is The Universal Language Of Mankind.
While worship is about so much more than music, there’s no avoiding the fact that music has a vital role to play in our worship. God Himself commands us to sing His praises all throughout Scripture (Psalm 96:1-3, Psalm 47:6-7, Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16), and we ought to do so to the best of our ability (Psalm 33:3).
We need to be careful, however, to always ensure the spotlight is on God, not us. After all, He’s the one we gather together to glorify, not the worship band. So, we can focus on choosing songs that will allow us to show off our voice, or we can focus on choosing songs that the congregation can easily learn and sing along to. we can focus on choosing the latest and greatest songs that may lack theological content, or we can focus on choosing songs that proclaim the character of God and the work Jesus accomplished on the cross. we can get caught up in our own little world while leading worship, concerning ourselves more with our own worship time rather than the congregation’s ability to worship, or we
can focus on helping people encounter God through the songs that we sing. While it seems obvious where our focus should be, how many times have you sat through a church service where the opposite was true?
Live a Life of Worship
Does your life throughout the week reflect the image you project on Sunday morning?
Does Your Life Throughout The Week Reflect The Image You Project On Sunday Morning?
As a worship leader, the greatest impact you’ll have on the lives of your congregation is the example you set with your lifestyle. It doesn’t matter how great a musician you are, or how well planned and executed your worship set was on Sunday morning if your life outside of church isn’t a reflection of the One that you lead people to worship every week. That doesn’t mean we need to be perfect. Far from it. But we can’t lead people in true worship if we don’t experience it in our own daily lives.
Is God the Center?
Other songs, while having a great melody that’s easy to learn and which may elicit an emotional response, offer little theological content. Do songs like this bring glory to God, or glory to us? Our focus must always be on singing songs that bring glory and praise to God alone.
Traditional vs. Contemporary
Balancing Complexity and Simplicity
Avoid Mindless Worship
That’s one reason why I like to introduce a new song at least once or twice a month. A fresh song can often give us a fresh perspective. It’s also the reason I don’t force songs on my congregation if they clearly don’t connect with them after a couple attempts. It doesn’t matter how much I love a song, if it’s not connecting with the congregation then there’s no value in singing it. But we can’t always do new songs, so it’s important to help the congregation connect, or re-connect, with the old faithful songs. That might mean incorporating a personal story with the song, reading Scripture that ties in to the message of the song, or simply reading some of the song’s lyrics before to let the meaning sink in. Whatever method you choose, remember that the end goal is to help people encounter God.
The Twenty-Year Rule
“If someone was born in our church and grew up singing our songs over the course of twenty years, how well would they know God? Would these songs give them a biblical and comprehensive view of God, or would they be exposed only to certain aspects of his nature and works? Would they learn that God is holy, wise, omnipotent, and sovereign? Would they know God as Creator and Sustainer? Would they understand the glory and centrality of the Gospel? Or would they think worship is about music, and not much more?”
Tell the Story
A big factor in being able to do that effectively is working with your pastor to know the sermon topic and Scripture he’s going to be teaching on each week. Armed with that information, you’ll be able to more effectively select songs around a particular theme that will complement and enhance the message being preached. If the theme is about the holiness of God, then tell that story with your song choices. If the theme is about Jesus as our Savior, then tell the story of our trespasses with sin and the Amazing Grace that God offers us. People connect with stories. And if your songs tell a story, then your congregation will experience a greater connection with God through singing them.
Remember that in the end your primary role as a worship leader is to be a teacher. If you’re telling a story, it’s for the purpose of teaching people the meaning of that story. Through the songs that you sing, you’re teaching people who God is and what He has done. And that’s a great story to tell.