On Sundays, I serve in my local fellowship as both the electric guitarist and worship leader. I’ve been part of this church since 1998, a guitarist with this team since 2000, and I took over as worship leader in 2005. We’ve gone through a ton of changes over the years, and I’ve seen it when it’s good, and when it’s bad. Having served in various worship teams for over 20 years, I’d have to say that this worship team isn’t much different than any other. Prior to being saved by the blood of Christ in August 1989, my life was immersed in the speed metal of the 80′s. With all it’s crazy twists and turns, my musical life has NEVER been boring, to say the least!
Our fellowship is abundantly blessed with a large number of talented singers and musicians, so I have quite a rotation going. I like to mix and match the team members from week to week, drawing on individuals’ strengths for certain types of songs. We even have a large number of youth in our rotation. I love the “family table” type of worship that this presents for our congregation. We do a little of this, a little of that, some slow, some fast, some hymns, etc… I do my best to mix it all up so that everyone in the congregation at some point will hear something that really resonates in their hearts.
One of my biggest blessings comes when my dear wife Tiffani’s turn arrives in the singing rotation. She’s a solid backing singer who’s strength lies not in harmonies, but in riding the melody line with me most of the time. I almost always have at least 2-3 other singers who do a FINE job of handling the harmonies, so we definitely do not lack in that department. My heart dances when I get the chance to sing with my lady. And when she’s not on the platform with me, I always know right where to look in the congregation to catch her eye. She knows how to encourage me with a simple wink and a smile!
Every now and then, I purposely set aside my praise leading duties for a Sunday and opt to sit in the congregation with my family. We have a young man who’s learning to be a fine worship leader, and I set him loose to do what he’s doing best – so that I might worship with my family. It is a GOOD thing now and again to let my children see me worshiping just like all the other “average Joes”. I want them to understand that just because I’m usually standing on the platform at the front, doesn’t mean there’s ANY difference between me and the rest of God’s people who are there singing. There is no “elite club” up front. I also want them to see me raising my hands and entering into worship with my beautiful bride at my side – a husband and wife praising their God together is truly a wonderful sight! (Couples, take note!!)
You’ve probably heard the question posed on a Sunday afternoon, possibly from a friend who didn’t make it to church that morning… “How was the worship today?” In my experience over the years, I have learned that this sentence actually translates more accurately into… “Was the band hot or did they stink today?”
You may have heard it said before that worship shouldn’t stop just because the music does. This should be an indication that the bands’ music does not equal ‘worship’. Musicians, like every other person on earth, are frail imperfect human beings. Rarely (if ever) is our musical performance perfect. Even though we may do a really good job of covering our own, or even others’ mistakes, it is still an imperfect offering. At every service the musicians have the potential to play well, or to not play well. Our personal worship of the Most High God CANNOT be dependent on the current “coolness factor” of the praise & worship team. If our ability to offer our worship depends on how well the worship team played that day, then the focus of our worship is not God… but man.
Worship IS NOT the music… worship IS the hearts’ response to what God has already done for us. It is how we act at work… Do we work as unto God, or do we resent the taskmaster disguised as our manager? It is how we interact with our families… Are we taskmasters ourselves, or do we lovingly tend to their needs? It is how we behave behind the wheel… Are we filled with compassion, or road rage?
Matthew 25:34-40 (NASB) “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? ‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? ‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’
I am convinced that Jesus is describing not only acts of service here, but also acts of WORSHIP! Serving one another in love and good deeds is worship! And to bring this post back around into the marriage relationship makes this truth even more evident. Scripture is clear that husbands and wives are to serve each other in a multitude of ways. Genesis 2:24 says that we are to leave our fathers and mothers and become “one flesh” with our spouse. “One flesh” implies a super tight bond, as husband and wife become a team for life. One more great example is Romans 12:1, which states this: Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. Viewed in the context of marriage, I believe it is crystal clear that as we serve each other – meeting each others’ spiritual, emotional and physical needs to the very best of our ability – that we are in fact, offering worship to our God.
I would love to rewrite the question more accurately… Instead of “How was the worship today?” I believe the more appropriate question should be…
“How was YOUR worship today?”