by Don Moen

When you lead worship, how do you know what the Holy Spirit wants you to do at any particular time?

I have had moments in leading worship when I have experienced an unusual sense of the presence of God. In these times, I have found that He has been teaching me how to interpret what the Holy Spirit wants to do - how to "capture the moment."

Let me share a real-life example. I was leading worship at a choir retreat near Atlanta. Because of another commitment, I was on a tight schedule. I needed to leave for the airport immediately following the 30 minutes of music I planned.

As we started singing the second song, "Think About His Love," people began to weep throughout the congregation. But we were only two songs into the set! At the end of the song, it seemed futile to try to move on with the scheduled program. I didn't know what to do. Obviously God was up to something, but what? The subject of the song was pretty basic: His love and goodness.

Feeling it was my duty as the worship leader to pull the worship service up to some joyous point before giving the platform over to the speaker, I stumbled into the next song and finished the set, greatly troubled.

I kept asking myself: "Did I do the right thing? Should I have waited to see what the Holy Spirit would do after that second song?" I heard later that the speaker was sensitive enough to adjust his own program and let the Holy Spirit continue to do what He had started in the hearts of the people. As a result, the congregation experienced a time of tremendous repentance and forgiveness.

As I read the Scriptures that night trying to figure out what went wrong, God led me to Romans 2:4: "The goodness of God leads you to repentance" (NKJV).

We had been singing about God's goodness, and it led people to repentance. Of course - why had I been so confused? I'm learning to be ready at all times to "capture the moments" in our times of worship.

 

Here are some suggestions to help you do it, too:

1.Practice in your private times of worship. Sometimes the Lord will make His joy very real to us. Or we will experience His incredible forgiveness, healing, mercy, grace, peace - all attributes of God.

The Holy Spirit can sensitise us to these in our devotional times. Then, when we lead worship, we can better identify them.

2.Go with the flow. God is more interested in ministering to the hearts of the people than in what our next song is. Looking back on that night in Atlanta, I see I had a real problem with the idea of singing only two songs. On my program, the Holy Spirit wasn't supposed to move on people's hearts until the seventh song. We need to learn to follow God's program, not ours.

3.If God is doing something, camp out there. Waiting is probably the hardest thing a worship leader does.

We think that to have a successful praise and worship service, we must start with thanksgiving, enter into praise, then move into worship. While this is a useful general pattern to follow, we don't want to exclude God from moving on hearts during a time of thanksgiving.

We must allow God the opportunity to speak back to the congregation. I have always believed that worship is more than a monologue - it is a dialogue. In other words, God wants to minister to us as we minister to Him.

Think about it. God wants to be intimately involved in our times of worship. Too many times, because of our own agenda, we miss what could have happened. All too often people come into a worship service and leave the same way they came. If we have truly entered into worship, we should be changed, like Isaiah was changed when he saw the Lord.

I am convinced that if we will be sensitive to capture the special moments ordained by God, our worship times will become more meaningful than we could ever have imagined.

©2000 by Don Moen

by Fred McKinnon (Feb '99)

The Lord gave me this vision years ago, pertaining to my role as a worship leader, especially on Sunday mornings in a corporate setting, where MANY (if not most, sadly) are not accustomed to having a lifestyle of praise/worship and haven't really had much communion w/ God during the week.

The Worship Leading "Guide"

I see leading worship (as an individual, or a "worship leading team") kinda like being a "guide".  Imagine this - you are a guide for this big hike up a "mountain trail". (After all - we often refer to praising God, or entering into His presence, as "going up the mountain of the Lord".)

As the "guide", you've been up and down this trail a thousand times. You know it like the back of your hand - you could go up the trail blindfolded - you know it's turns and bends - and you are really "in shape" from going up this mountain - you could start at the bottom and run all the way up, and get there in just a few minutes . . .and oh, at the top - - - what a view!  (I love the view from here!)

It's Sunday AM - and there are quite a few "tourists" who have signed up for this hike today!  What's my job?  (or, the job of my team of guides?)  To lead everyone up the mountain to the summit!

Now - there are lots of people here - some are experienced "hikers" - they will be on my heels, all the way up.  Some are "first timers" - they aren't even sure how to put on their pack . . and they have their pack loaded with all kinds of heavy things!  Some are here every week, but only because they are "in the habit".

Now - my job is this - to make sure we all get up.  I could just take off and say "see you at the top - the trail is this way - last one up is a "rotten egg!" . . .of course, I'll probably be one of the first ones up, and I'll have lots of time to enjoy the view. . . . but halfway down the mountain, all my "travelers" are getting lost  . . .wondering where I am - not sure if they should try to continue.

Wouldn't it be better if I just take it easy - stop and look behind me now and then, to make sure everyone is getting along OK?  After all - I don't want to leave everyone behind just for my own benefit!  I'm the guide - I'm SERVING the people!  I must use DISCERNMENT to see where the people are - and what I can do to help them get up the mountain!

Hopefully, you see the comparison to a worship service.  In a corporate setting (not my own personal worship), I have to remind myself that although I can jump into "the river" so to speak and get into deep, intimate worship, and get totally lost - - - - - although that blesses me, and I really enjoy it, I don't know that I've really served (or helped) the people!  (although, I still want to get lost in deep, passionate worship, but with the Body!)

What's the point?  I think that as worship leaders, we should remember that Sunday AM worship isn't necessarily the time or place for us to get so LOST in our personal worship of God that we lose sight of where the congregation is.  I tell my worship team   to "get lost in God, but do it with 'one eye open"!  In other words - I want to maintain the heartbeat of our people - and not go so far up (so quickly) that they get lost!

So - the idea is that we ALL get to the summit TOGETHER!  Oh, what a marvelous time that will be!  Not to say that we shouldn't try and go to "the top" - but that we should not forget that it takes some people longer to get there, and as a LEADER, we are a SERVANT - we must forget about our own ambition and desire, and serve the Body!   AMEN??

Of course - there will be those hikers who start breathing hard after the first few minutes, and decide they can't do it.  That's OK!  And there will be those who, when getting out of the "car" - take one look up, through the fog and clouds, at the top of that mountain, and shake their heads, say "no way", and get in the car and leave. . . .if you know what I mean!

Hope this lil' vision/story I had will help others who are worship leaders!  It's important to understand that this concept applies to leading worship in a corporate setting - in your own private worship - hey - take off and RUN to His presence!

Blessings!

Fred McKinnon is President of "Highest Praise" Productions/HPP Publishing
and Chief Musician/Worship Leader, Christian Renewal Church, SSI
Be sure to visit his website at
http://www.highestpraise.com

by Kelly Carpenter

Here are a few of my thoughts about what is involved in leading worship. If you are someone who has played and/or sung on a worship team and are now starting to do some leading, you may have noticed that there are a lot more things to think about then just knowing your part and supporting the worship leader. To be an effective worship leader, you need to be able to multi-task.

The Worship Set

First, you need to learn to hear from the Lord about what songs to do and in what order to do them in, otherwise known as the "flow" of worship. The vast majority of the time, the Lord will give you an idea of what songs to do many days in advance of the worship event. There are some who claim that advance preparation stifles the spontaneity of the Holy Spirit, but I have found that it is always wise to have something prepared beforehand. Sometimes, due to a variety of reasons, it may not be possible to discern what the Lord is doing during a worship set. (More on this later.) Having a prepared set protects against that situation. A prepared set is also essential if your team needs to know what you're doing prior to the worship event.

How do you know what songs to do? The obvious answer is to ask the Lord. This may involve setting aside a particular time where you wait on Him to lead you. Sometimes the Lord may give you ideas intuitively while you are doing other things.

Sometimes you will get one or two particular songs that keep coming to your mind and heart. You can then build a set of songs around those one or two songs. On the other hand, you may feel led to do more songs than you can typically fit into a worship set. If so, just rehearse them all. It is actually a blessing to have more songs than you need so that you can better respond to the Lord's leading during your worship event.

The Lord is training you in learning to hear from him and to follow his lead. So, he may use a variety of ways to guide you in preparing a set so that you can develop such receptivity and flexibility.

Another factor in choosing songs are the guidelines specified by your senior pastor or worship pastor. For example, one church I frequently led worship in had a policy to always start a Sunday morning worship set with at least two "upbeat celebration" songs, followed by one or two "medium" drawing-closer songs, no more than two "intimate" songs, and ending on an "upbeat" song. I put the adjectives in quotes because the definition of upbeat, celebration, medium, and intimate are largely subject to interpretation but are always defined by the senior or worship pastor in your particular church. So it is your responsibility to understand what their definitions are.

The Flow of the Spirit

Having prepared your set of songs to do, you need to be able to respond to last minute directions from the Lord as you begin and lead through your set. An old friend of mine put it this way: Preparing for the set is like a pilot filing a flight plan with the airport authority. Once its time to actually do the flying, you must be in communication with the tower to receive any course changes necessary to work your flight into the flow of all flights being handled by the flight controllers.

Before you begin your set, you need to check in with the "tower", that is God, to see if you are supposed to start with the song you planned to start with. As you work through the first song, you need to check in with God to see if the next song is the right one. And so on. As you are in a song, you need to determine whether the Lord wants to you to depart from the rehearsed form of the song to repeat a section more than you had planned.

Obviously, having a team that is well rehearsed in being flexible to last-minute and mid-song changes is critical to supporting the worship leading process. I will go into leading the band in a subsequent section.

In addition to making set adjustments and song form changes, you need to hear from the Lord about any spontaneous verbal direction and exhortation to the congregation. You also need guidance regarding prophetic singing (i.e. "song of the Lord") and prayers to the Lord in the midst of your songs or between songs. Your freedom to speak and sing spontaneously during the worship set is governed by the boundaries specified by the senior pastor and the worship pastor. In most cases, you may not have permission to speak the same things in a Sunday morning worship service that you would in a Sunday night service. In one particular church I was in, I did not have permission to speak at all between and during worship songs.

Occasionally, the Lord will give you a "dark night of the soul" experience while you are leading a worship set. This means that you don't have a clue as to what the Lord is doing and it seems like you have lost all communication with the "tower". It is very easy to become discouraged and think that you have lost all ability and qualifications to lead people in worship when this happens. It is like driving a tour bus in such heavy fog that you can't see anything in front of you and you are afraid that you are going to crash or go off a cliff. Don't despair when this happens. Just be glad that you did file a flight plan--your prepared worship set--and forge ahead. You will find that in these particularly dismal times that someone will come up to you later and testify how the Lord had ministered powerfully to them through worship. God gives us these times to remind us that worship is not about us. In reality, most of the time we don't have a clue of all that God is doing; we are just being faithful.

The Mood of the Congregation

The "leading" part of the term "worship leading" has to do with guiding the congregation (or small group) through the worship experience. In a previous issue of this column, a guest author likened the worship leader to a mountain guide: someone who knew how to get around on the mountain themselves and could lead others to go along with them.

Therefore, leading requires paying attention to your mountain hikers. A good guide knows the experienced from the inexperienced hikers. A good worship leader is able to be sensitive to the seasoned and the novice worshippers.

I have found that in a typical church service (making a distinction here from a conference crowd or a home group) about 25 percent of your congregation are experienced worshippers (and don't need a guide), about 25 percent don't know or don't care about worship, and the 50 percent in the middle are the "swing" group, meaning they can swing either way between involvement or non-involvement. It is the middle group that you will be primarily leading.

If the mood of the day is up and there is expectancy in the air, then it won't take much for the middle group to swing into a high level of involvement. On the other hand, if the collective mood can best be described as "lights on; nobody home", then it will take much effort to coax the swing group into engagement.

Your chances of successfully drawing your people into worship depends on five factors: First, do they understand what worship is? This all depends on what they have been taught regarding worship. Second, your level of equity with the congregation. Do they know you; do they hold you in high regard; do they trust you? In other words, are they willing to follow you? Third, your level of anointing. How much is God "on you" to lead worship? This is also related to the equity issue. If people are for you, they will be much more willing to believe and see that God is on you when He is indeed on you. Fourth, your skill at leading. Do you know what it takes to guide, encourage, and exhort the people? And fifth, the level of freedom you have been given to verbally direct and exhort the congregation.

Another issue is who is doing the leading? In the best of situations, your role is to act as a starter. Once people make the choice to engage in worship, you had best get out of the way and let the Holy Spirit take over the leading. Who is in control? If you are a cheerleader-type worship leader, then you will feel driven to direct every expression of the congregation. If you let God have control of the worship set, then you become the lead follower, and people will follow your example.

Knowing all these factors are important and helpful. However, you may experience from time to time an apparently comatose congregation, or one that seems unwilling to follow you. Again, you should not despair. It is important not to  judge what is happening solely on externals. God may be doing a deep work in people during worship that you can't see at all. On the other hand, people may have been so conditioned to clap and jump and raise their hands and yet their hearts may be far from true worship. You don't know.

Your Performance

I hate to use the "p" word here, but you actually do need to keep track of what you yourself are doing. Do you know how to play all the chords in the song? Have you memorized the lyrics? (A hard one for me.) Are you singing loud and clear and in tune? Are you confidently starting and leading each song? Exuding confidence is a big one for building up equity. (People are more comfortable following someone who seems to know where they are going.)

I have found that the more you have to keep track of your own musical performance, the less ability you have to sense the Lord's leading and read the congregation. Therefore, you must always play and sing beneath your level of ability. If you get too distracted playing that F barre chord because you are not sure you are going to be able to grab it in time, then you probably shouldn't do that particular song. (I can't lead "I Lift My Eyes Up" in the original key from the guitar for that very reason.) If this winds up limiting what songs you feel the Lord is leading you to do, then practice, practice, and practice some more until your ability well exceeds the song's requirements.

Leading the Worship Team

If all of the above is not enough to keep track of already, you also need to know how to direct your team. This is probably the greatest area of anxiety for novice worship leaders. They may have already had some experience leading worship by themselves in a small group, but now they have to direct a band.

Telling a band what to do requires some musical knowledge and an ability to communicate. Telling a band what to do also requires you knowing what you want them to do. This is an area of weakness for most novices. They don't know where to begin. If this is the case for you, then the best thing to do is for you and the band to try to emulate a particular recorded arrangement of a song. As you start to get more creative, you may learn how to point to the sound of particular recording artists as an example to follow, such as "let's try doing this with more of a U2 feel".

If you and the members of the band do not know how to communicate musically at all, then you are in for some long, frustrating rehearsals. Go find a musical mentor with seasoned musical ability who can lead you out of the forest. On the other hand, working with a seasoned band is like playing a high-quality guitar. It's just easier. If you are a novice and have been fortunate enough to be supplied with some seasoned musicians, they will make up for your inability to communicate. And, you will learn from them about how to communicate better.

When I raise up young worship leaders and insert them into the worship schedule, I tend to put them with the same band every time. Why? Because a band is a small group of people. They must all get to know each other and understand each other well enough to communicate at anything other than a shallow level. So much of playing music together requires good communication: listening and answering well. After a while of working with one another a band becomes a "team". A strong team dynamic is powerful in facilitating worship.

I have seen worship leaders employ a variety of methods of communicating with a team. Some use subtle hand signals or body language. For me, having spent so many years leading from a keyboard and not being able to move around and make eye contact, I have had to rely on verbal cues. Speaking clearly and slowly is important. Also a good monitor system is essential. I simply will say out loud over the microphone in front of God and everybody the instructions which enable the band to know where I'm going next. Typically, I will give the first few words of the next section of the song. Sometimes I will say "bridge" or "one more time". Amazingly, this method works well for leading the congregation too.

Common Mistakes

The following are common mistakes that have the potential of taking people "out of worship". Most of these mistakes can be avoided by simply choosing not to be stubborn about sticking to your original plan. It's pretty hard to ruin a worship set unless you are just being pigheaded.

Not knowing the song well enough to do it well.

Yes, faith is spelled "r-i-s-k", but to think that the Lord will make up for your lack of skill, practice, and preparation is downright presumptuous. If the band doesn't know a song you happen to pull out of thin air during a set, a "train wreck" is likely to occur, and the congregation will be distracted from worship.

Going too long.

This is one of the most common complaints that senior pastors make about their worship leaders. If you are allotted "no more than 30 minutes" then you must submit to their authority regardless of whether you "feel" that the Lord wants you to go longer. But the other aspect of this has to do with how much the congregation can handle. If you take worship too long, the majority of the "swing" middle will disengage at some point and you will have lost them.

Mis-reading the congregation.

You may believe with all your heart that "we're going to have a time of nothing but celebration" but you may find that a couple of songs into it, the collective mood of the people is anything but celebration. If you stubbornly plod ahead in a direction and it is obvious that they are not following you, then you will lose them and you will lose some of your equity with them as well. Always be willing to change course if the people aren't following. Meet them where they are at and lead them into God's presence.

Not hearing from the Lord correctly.

This is related to the last point. You may have just completely missed what you thought the Lord was telling you to do when you prepared that set. Or you may have thought that He told you to do a mid-set change, doing a different song than you had planned, and now you sense the anointing has completely left. Don't stubbornly plod through in order to save face. If you started a song and now know that you made a mistake, end it as quickly as possible (like by ending after the first chorus). As in the last point, always be willing to change course when you realize that you've missed the Lord's leading.

Conclusion

I hope I haven't overwhelmed you. Yes, leading worship effectively requires keeping track of all these things. If you don't run ahead of God's script for your life, He will train and release you into all these aspects a little at a time. If you believe you are called into this, then be prepared to be student about it for the rest of your life. I highly recommend that you ask the Lord to bring you a worship mentor to help you navigate through the learning process. Even going to a worship event they are leading a couple of times a year and attending workshops will help you greatly.

Leading worship is an awesome privilege. Know that you are moving forward in something that greatly ministers to both God and to people.

Introduction

To create this philosophy statement, the Grace Church Music Committee has attempted to examine every biblical passage pertaining to worship and music. While there are numerous references to worship and music in both testaments, it is interesting to note that the Old Testament brings to light an emphasis on corporate worship, while the New Testament tends to emphasize personal and private worship. Based on our study of the Scriptural models of corporate worship and the ways the church has historically applied them, we have documented those principles that we can apply to the planning and administration of our own worship services.

Principle 1

Because worship is the ultimate priority for the church, the reason man was created, the reason regenerate man was redeemed, and the culmination of history...

Exodus 20:2-5; Isaiah 43:21; Mark 12:29-30; John 4:23; 1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 5:13-14

Application for corporate worship:

We need to understand and implement God’s design for worship at Grace Church, as follows:

· OT worship was accompanied by reverential awe and fear (bowing down)… 2 Kings 17:36; 1 Chronicles 16:25; Job 1:20; Psalm 5:7; 96:4, 9

· NT worship was offered in fear, awe, and devotion (bowing down)…Matthew 8:2; 9:18; 14:32-33; 28:8-9

· OT worship included adoration and thanksgiving…Genesis 24:48; Exodus 12:27; Judges 7:15; 1 Chronicles 29:13-14; Psalm 89:1; 92:1,4; 95:6-7; 138:2

· OT and NT worship included obedience and service…Joshua 5:14; 1 Samuel 1:27-28; 15:22; Romans 12:1, 9-11; 14:15, 18; 15:15-16; Hebrews 12:28-29

· OT worship included confession that God is right and my sin is wrong…Joshua 7:19; 1 Samuel 15:30-31; 2 Samuel 12:19-20; Psalm 51:15-17

· OT and NT worship included sacrificial acts…Deuteronomy 26:10; 2 Kings 17:36; 1 Chronicles 16:29; 2 Chronicles 29:28; Acts 4:36-37; Philippians 4:15-18; Hebrews 13:16

· OT and NT worship included praise…1 Chronicles 16:9,23-28; 2 Chronicles 29:30; Psalm 29:2; 66:3-6; 71:22-23; 89:1; Psalm 108:1; Hebrews 13:15; Revelation 5:9-13; 15:3

· OT worship included public prayer…1 Chronicles 29:11-20

· OT and NT worship included the public reading of scripture…Nehemiah 8:5-6; 1Timothy 4:13

· OT worship included musical instruments–strings, winds, and percussion…2 Samuel 6:5; 1 Chronicles 15:16; 25:6; 2 Chronicles 5:12-14; 7:6; 29:25-28; Nehemiah 12:27

· OT and NT worship included corporate and private singing…Exodus 15:1; 1Chronicles 16:9,23; Psalm 66:1-2; 71:22-23; 81:1; 89:1; 92:1; 108:1; Mark 14:26; Ephesians 5:19-20; Colossians 3:16

(The following passages are also thought to have been early Church songs: Philippians 2:6-11; Colossians 1:15-20; 1 Timothy 3:16; 2 Timothy 2:11-13)

Principle 2

Because worship is a celebration of God, His works and His character...

2 Samuel 6:5; 1 Chronicles 15:16; 2 Chronicles 29:30; Psalm 81:1; 92:4

Application for corporate worship:

Our services should lift our worship perspective up to the level of God, and not down to the level of mankind.

Worship should be full of joyful energy and expression in our music and praise. The music we use must be musically uplifting as well as textually edifying. Stale, dead music does not promote healthy worship.

Music should show newness and creativity and engender the sense of awe and wonder that God deserves.

Our worship should include enthusiastic singing and music accompanied by instruments, voice and JOY!

Notes:
By stale music or worship we mean that which has become so routine and lifeless that the congregation finds it difficult to concentrate on the truth conveyed therein. We need to be creative enough in our design of services and selection of songs and meditations to invoke fresh thinking regarding God's character and nature, yet familiar enough to allow focus on God, not the newness of the material.

Principle 3

Because worship is offered solely for God's enjoyment and pleasure, and because He is jealous to receive the sole worship of His creation according to His prescription...

Exodus 20:4-5; Leviticus 10:1-2; 2 Chronicles 5:13; Psalm 50:22-23; Mark 7:7-9; Romans 1:25-26

Application for corporate worship:

We need to make sure that each person up front has as their goal performing for an audience of one–God! We must never seek to entertain man.

Because they offer their worship to God, not men, there is no need to applaud individuals or groups who perform visibly in worship services. Besides, many others would also need to be recognized because they also offer acceptable worship behind the scenes–ushers, teachers, nursery workers, custodians, etc

Worship music must have God as the subject, not human beings. When testimony songs are utilized, they should contain a strong emphasis on God’s character and should leave the worshipper with a clear picture of God, not man or the individual singing.

Many styles can be used, as long as they are conducive to letting God be the subject!

Battles over music or worship styles miss the point that worship is to and for God. When worship becomes something for my benefit, it becomes idolatry. The style of singing or playing should never draw attention to one’s gift or person. We must not draw attention away from God.

Those leading in worship and music should maintain a modest appearance and dress that does not distract worshipers from offering their worship to God.

Because worship is a personal sacrifice to God, no worship task or assignment should be "beneath" someone who is truly serving God.

Our corporate worship services should be set apart from announcements and "business" issues to maintain a clear focus upon God, not man.

Our services should be designed to lead believers to worship God in spirit and truth. They should not be designed as "seeker" services for the lost. The best way to evangelise the lost in a worship service is to present "the real God in all His fullness." "A profound discovery of God’s reality will subject all one’s personal beliefs and behaviours, priorities and sources of security to serious questioning." (quotations from "Reaching Out Without Dumbing Down; A Theology of Worship For the Turn-of the Century Church," Marva Dawn, pp. 286, 288)

When performance tracks are utilized, they should avoid the use of styles and instruments that draw attention away from God. If possible, accompaniment for vocalists should be live to allow instrumentalists to use their gifts to worship God.

Notes:
Often times terms that apply to music are best understood by musicians. One example is the use of the word "performance." Let it be known that the word performance is not synonymous with the word "entertainment." The word performance is the ultimate test and finality of discipline, training and rehearsal. In this sense to a musician, the use of their musical talent in a worship service is a performance. For a believer it is a performance intended for the audience of God, not man.

Principle 4

Because corporate worship had requirements for singers and musicians...

Training and musical skill–1 Chronicles 15:22; 23:3-5; 25:6-8; 2 Chronicles 34:12b

Set aside for music (Dedication and financial support)–Numbers 8:24-26; Deuteronomy 14:27-29; I Chronicles 9:33; Ezra 7:24; Nehemiah 10:39; 12:27; 12:47

Application for corporate worship:

We should teach those involved in our music ministry the importance of their service and use of their musical abilities.

The heart of a worshiper should not be the only criteria for a musician participating in the corporate worship. There should also be a high level of skill and proficiency attached to the use of musicians in service.

We should create a process to identify vocalists and instrumentalists with musical skill and then train and develop them for service.

Because Scripture supports it, we should also be willing to financially support (when needed) the musicians and music ministry.

Notes:
The use of musicians was an important part of the corporate worship service. They were vital to the worship of the temple and set aside to be free to use their talents in making music. The use of musicians can be a positive and exciting addition to our corporate worship. We should be willing to honor them for their willingness to use the years of study and discipline in assisting corporate worship.

Principle 5

Because OT worship shows organization and excellence in its production...

Up front vocalists and instrumentalists leading in music–2 Chronicles 29:28

Organized and choreographed services–2 Chronicles 5:12-13; 7:6; Ezra 3:10

And because acceptable worship should be conducted "decently and in order"...

1 Corinthians 14:23,26,40

And because OT worship that was "less-than-one's best" was not acceptable...

Malachi 1:7-10

Application for corporate worship:

We should strive for excellence and always bring the best sacrifice we have to offer.

Worship and Music should be led by people who are adequately prepared and organized.

Preparation, organization and execution of the worship service should be viewed as an act of worship as well. God desires order and excellence as a part of our daily lives and it should extend into our worship services.

Notes:
There are those who would say the only requirement God has for acceptable worship is the heart we bring to it. For a musician, skill, preparation and excellence are a vital part of the heart that is brought into worship. To offer a sacrifice of praise that falls short of the excellence we (the body) are capable of providing, indicates a heart that is withholding the total worship that God desires. All of our resources, including time, energy, talents and finances should be a part of our corporate worship. It should also be noted, however, that we can go too far in setting a "standard of excellence" that scares others away from developing their gifts for God. We need to balance our passion for an excellent sacrifice with the need to develop new people for the worship ministry.

Principle 6

Because God does not accept worship when sin is unconfessed...

Joshua 7:19-20; 1 Samuel 15:22; Psalm 51:15-17; Isaiah 1:11-15; Hosea 6:4-6; Amos 5:21-24; Matthew 5:23-24

Application for corporate worship:

We must not knowingly allow musicians to minister whose lives do not demonstrate personal holiness.

It is each individual’s responsibility not to serve with unconfessed sin.

Bringing "outside" musicians in to assist our worship is not inherently wrong, but should be carefully scrutinized for several reasons:

1. Only believers worship in spirit and truth.

2. God does not accept worship when sin is present in the individual’s life.

3. Every person should be encouraged to use their giftedness and talents to serve and worship God in their own local church where they can be held accountable.

Notes:
There are significant benefits to bringing in outside worship / music participants. For example, second chair instrumentalists, not qualified or comfortable to play on their own, get the chance to use and develop their talents for God. However, the risks associated with not knowing the lives of the outside participants could outweigh these benefits, and accordingly, reasonable effort should be made to determine their spiritual maturity and faithfulness.

Principle 7

Because we worship God in spirit (not in a temple)...

John 4:21-24; 1 Corinthians 3:16; Philippians 3:3; Hebrews 9:24: 10:19-20; 1 Peter 2:5

Application for corporate worship:

We should not be overly concerned with buildings, decorations, and humanly engineered atmosphere to "produce" worship

Principle 8

Because we worship God in truth...

Psalm 145:18; Proverbs 9:10; Hosea 6:6; John 4:21-24; 1 Corinthians 2:14

Application for corporate worship:

Only the regenerate can offer acceptable worship to God.

We should not knowingly allow the unsaved to lead.

We should ensure theologically correct words.

The words (theology) and the music (medium) should be compatible.

Principle 9

Because corporate worship should be conducted without offence to weaker brothers...

Romans 14:13-15,18; 1 Corinthians 8:11-13; Gal 5:13-14

Application for corporate worship:

We will strive to be sensitive in our selections of music to avoid needlessly offending some.

We will not elevate the pursuit of "musical excellence" above shepherding people with compassion. The people involved in the church and music ministry must have first priority.

Those leading in worship and music should maintain an appearance and modesty in dress that will avoid temptation to "weaker brothers."

Principle 10

Because Christ became relevant to man through His incarnation, and because Paul tells us to be all things to all men...

John 1:14; 1 Corinthians 9:19-22

Application for corporate worship:

Music should be relevant to the congregation. Relevancy does not equal popularity; it means familiarity. We should use styles and texts that are capable of effective communication, so that the music becomes a tool the people can use in worship, not a hindrance to it. This music should be easily transferable to their daily, personal worship.

Reproduced from Grace Church of DuPage Warrenville, IL 60555


I. PRELIMINARY

 

A. Leadership Unity
1. Primary Leader in line with Church Authority in areas of expectations, resource allocation, regulations, doctrine, culture
2. Primary Leader determines plan for team criteria & development and approves plan with Church Authority


B. Church Unity

1. Church Authority publicly places authority on Primary Leader
2. Congregation affirms selection
3. Primary Leader begins search & identify possible Leadership Team of potential Team and Section Leaders according to approved criteria


II. INITIATION

A. Team Gathering Event/Retreat
1. Primary Leader imparts fundamental information including expectations, goals/vision, regulations, initial concepts for later development, role definition
2. Team begins working on relational building with one another and leader
3. Team takes ownership by exploring what unique gifts they bring and how they can complement the rest of the team


B. Congregational Event
1. Church Authority and Primary Leader publicly place authority on Leadership Team
2. Congregation affirms selection


III. CONTINUATION & DEVELOPMENT

A. Relational Events
1. Through structured all-group gatherings, Leadership Team builds unity through prayer together, ministering to one another through foundational gifts, sharing, laughing, humanity
2. Through smaller gatherings Primary Leader builds relationship with individuals and couples


B. Equipping Events
1. Individual practice & training, structured or unstructured as needed
2. Group practice, training & review
3. Smaller gatherings with Primary Leader for evaluation, review and direction as needed


C. Congregational Events
1. Leadership Team functions for Congregation in practical demonstration/application
2. Congregation, Church Authority & Primary Leader supports and approves Leadership Team


IV. DUPLICATION


A. Individual Reproduction
1. LT members individual repeat this entire process at their level with their recruits
2. Final evaluation of Leadership Team members by CA & PL
3. Congregational Recognition of accomplishment & completion of this process
4. Primary Leader meets with LT member groups or individuals as needed


B. Church Authority Review
1. Process reviewed and adjusted as necessary
2. Primary Leader receives affirmation & correction

 

Reproduced from Let Every Voice School of Worship

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