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?”

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8 thoughts on “How Was The Worship?

  1. Rena Gunther says:

    LOVE this!!! Such an amazing reminder that worship is truly beyond song. I cannot imagine the burden a worship leader must carry. We, as the Body, need to determine to do our part individually to invite the Presence of the Most High into our services. I especially love how you remind us our worship is also how we’ve treated our spouses. Big OUCH for me! But I’ll take it!!

    1. Jason says:

      Hi Rena! Thanks for your great comment!

      One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned as a worship leader, I learned while at an Integrity seminar many years ago… I was sitting in a room with Paul Baloche – you might be familiar with that name… and I’ll never forget what he said (paraphrased)… “It is not your job to MAKE people worship. Your job is to facilitate an environment within which people can relax and feel free to worship.” Whoa! What a load was taken off my shoulders that day! I used to consider it a failure if people just stood there like stones and weren’t actively raising their hands, singing out, obviously in touch with God.

      But what I learned from Paul that day was that if I have prepared my setlist and team, taken my songs and my heart before the King in prayer, given over the entirety of that service into God’s hands, and worshipped Him with all my heart, mind and strength – then I have done EXACTLY what I’ve been called to do as a worship leader.

      This was a very “freeing” thing for me. Once I was able to relax and just do what I’m responsible to do, I found that it actually affected the congregation in positive ways! I was floored to see people lifting their hands, their voices and their faces to heaven! It made me realize that when a worship leader tightens up and begins to (pridefully) think that THEY are directly responsible for how individuals worship, the people can sense that something is out of whack, and they will usually respond more negatively. It’s a vicious circle. One that I was very happy to break out of!

      I too can say OUCH at times with how wrongly I treat Tiffani. I am thankful that she is quick to forgive me. I don’t deserve the woman I’ve been blessed with. Thank You Lord!

  2. Larry LaSalle says:

    Great story and great message, Jason. Worship truly is our hearts response to what God has done for us! Thanks for sharing this!

    1. Jason says:

      Thanks Larry! Amen brother… I LOVE singing and playing worship songs! And the icing on the cake is that loving my wife – which is a JOY to do – is also an act of worship!

  3. Brad says:

    I love the idea of loving my wife as an act of worship to God! That is so true, yet we don’t always thing about it! Too often “worship” is confined to singing a few songs, yet it is SOOOOO much more!
    Great post! Thanks!

  4. Jason says:

    Hi Brad!

    We agree… loving our wives is DEFINITELY an ongoing act of worship! The way I see it, my wife (a.k.a. “The Most Beautiful Woman In The World” – hehe… shameless plug there!) is also the King’s daughter – which if I’m not mistaken makes her a Princess in the kingdom. It is my HONOR to love and care for her in a way that would please my King.

    Worship is WAY more than singing a few songs! It’s the way we live our very lives from day to day. I want to be one who worships in spirit and in truth. Got work to do!

  5. I’ll never be able to find the exact quote quickly enough, but C.S. Lewis said at one time that deep worship happens when we are not aware of the nitpicky things (the missed note, the microphone static, the rip in the pew’s fabric, etc.) but when we are absolutely, totally focused on God. I think we also worship God in our awareness and service to His other children. But none of that is about how good someone’s performance was on a particular day.

    In fact, I’ve noticed as a wife and a parent that I adore hearing my husband and my children. They don’t always hit the notes, but I love hearing them belt out music with joy in their hearts. I figure God is rather happy with that too — seeing His children sing together and for Him.

    Beautiful post!

    1. Jason says:

      Thank you J! I would definitely be in agreement with C.S. Lewis on that statement.

      As far as our musical times of worship, the truth is that it’s got nothing to do with anyone else’s performance… but how “I” choose to respond to God without any concern for what those around me may be thinking or doing. Of course, as I demonstrated in the post, ‘worship’ is not simply limited to the music at church – but how we live our daily lives. In the 90’s some friends of mine had a band called Sure Conviction. They wrote a great song called “Standing For You”, and the opening lines went like this:

      In your house, when no one’s around
      In secret, who are you now?
      When the lights go down, who comes out?
      Who are you now that it’s dark?

      (for more, hear the song here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21zvQAiGZwQ)

      To me, the answers to those questions posed in the song equal “worship” – whatever that means to the listener. You’ve probably heard it said that we all worship SOMETHING – whether that’s God, or some other thing or person in our lives – we are all worshiping something or someone.

      And as for those who struggle with hitting the notes? Ha! To God’s ear, that is a WONDERFUL sound! Psalm 98:4: Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!

      I don’t see anything in there about “it must be in key, or keep your mouth shut.” 😉 It just says ALL THE EARTH!

      Thanks for the comment, J!

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