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When Worship Leaders Worship: A Call for Comments

Over the next several months I will be involved in conversations with several local worship leaders (whether called worship pastors or ministers or whatever).  A part of the conversation will be to dialogue about our worship needs.  Is the worship they lead on Sundays enough?  If they were able to go to a worship service they had not planned as nothing other than one of the worshipers, what kinds of things would they hope to find in that service?

Please read or add comments by scrolling to the end of the post and opening the comments section.

Of course, this is hardly a new question.  I know that many worship leaders find the single greatest aspect of going to a national or regional conference for worship leaders comes in the times of intentional community worship.  Some of this might be the impact of have so many gifted musicians singing together at once.  But, other things seem just as often to be central.

Used in Advanced Worship Final Exam
It is interesting to hear how some have described the worship times at these large conferences.  Sometimes, if you listen, it sounds like they are as excited by what is not in that time of worship as they are by what is.

"The service didn't seem overly programmed."
"There was minimal use of technology and stage lighting."
"It felt slower.  But, at the same time, it felt more intensely engaging."
"There was some liturgy.  I know a lot people at my church would be turned off, but, since I do contemporary all the time, I found it to be very meaningful."

If you are a worship leader or church leader (again, by whatever title), then I would like to hear from you.

Do you have any kind of regular fellowship with ministers in similar roles in other church in your area?  If you do, is this something you have ever talked about?  Any insights from that?

If you could slip away one Sunday and go to another worship service just to deepen your own experience of worship, what kind of worship service would you be hoping to find?

What do you think might be the biggest challenge to your own personal worship of God that you face in your life and ministry?


D. Gene Lakin said...

The sanctum of the sanctuary is scuttled when the sanctimonious soft shuffle shoes in shifting showmanship as superiors skip out before the sacredness of prayer.

Tom Lawson said...

Wow. Super comments. Seriously. (and certainly true when the worship band skips out at youth conferences after the music and before the sermon).

Luc DiMarzio said...

I imagine you were wanting "local worship leaders" to be people who lived locally where you are, but I couldn't help and notice that no one had replied to this blog. I usually check your blog quite regularly, but hadn't since the business of the holiday season. i would like to answer your questions, in order to help you with your dialog and maybe continue a further conversation with you.

A few years ago we were challenged as a church staff to reach out to other ministers who serve in our certain areas at their respective churches. This was based on the fact that we ALL serve the Church, but we often remain only connected to our particular congregations. I then started to attend a meeting in downtown Denver that is ran by Confluence ministries, which consisted of a bunch of music ministers gathering to pray, sing, and fellowship with one another. It is out of this group that I started to befriend other ministers in this area. Since then I have become friends with quite a few more music ministers who don't attend the third thursday meetings, and we just happened to get coffee in the same place and start conversations... etc. Anyway, it's very cool to meet with other ministers and hear stories, wisdom, perspective, ideas, or just to feel like the world is a little smaller and we have a teammate trying to accomplish the same things within their community. We pray for each other, share song ideas, and we have even written some songs with each other. It's a different environment than that of my own worship staff, and these relationships are some that I value the most.

Luc DiMarzio said...

Your second question brings out the selfish Christian in me. My immediate thoughts make me sound like the person we would often complain about who felt uncomfortable with something we had done in our own service. I realize that once we step through the church doors we aren't supposed to be comfortable. This is a place where we are probably more susceptible to hearing God speak and move, and when He does these things, I don't think it is a comfortable experience. But I know you want a straight answer.. so I'll try. I would hope whatever service I visit would be preaching the gospel, and that Jesus would be evident in the community. My selfish desires would be hoping for music that is current - either a song written in the last 6 years, or a hymn arrangement from the last 6 years... I would hope the song leader is there not just to sing, but to lead - the leader who doesn't know the music well enough so he or she is head down looking at their music stand with no engagement or awareness of the tone or mood of the set is not a leader I would prefer. As far as liturgy or contemporary... or the instruments used.. I actually don't feel like I care about those so much. I play guitar but don't feel it's necessary for every service to always have a guitar... the same goes for any other instrument. I'm not picky about how much or little light is used, I think God can work in the dark and in bright light. Mainly I am left feeling encouraged if the service I have attended has effectively conveyed the message of the gospel in an excellent way.

The biggest challenge I face in life and ministry is paying attention. Some would say I have ADD but I think I am just lazy. Or maybe I am just focused on the wrong things. Like "is that chord just a G or a G°" or "what clever thing can I say before communion?" Rather than "How does God want to use me here?" In my personal life it's the same. I get caught up on binge watching the next hip TV series or playing Candy Crush on my iPad rather than taking time to spend in relaxation with my wife, or reading the bible when it doesn't feel like it is my "job" to do so. These are things I have been earnestly praying about and working on lately. Thank you for your invitation to share.

I hope I haven't replied to your post too late. I look forward to any thoughts you would have to offer. I have always appreciated your thoughts on worship music even when I was your student and hope to continue to be encouraged and challenged by what you write here.

Thank you

Tim Hayward said...

I do not currently meet together with other ministers in my area. I would love that opportunity. But I live in a small town so there are few churches locally who have worship ministers.

What I would be looking for in attending a service would be a sense of purpose. I think that worship becomes so much more meaningful when you learn something about God before you worship. Often the most powerful times of worship I have had came after great preaching, a scripture being shared, or me being challenged in the way I worship (such as worship postures, a time of silence, etc).

My biggest challenge in my own personal worship is busyness and to much time in the "spotlight." It is hard for me devote the time that I should during the week to just worshiping God and hearing from him when it feels like there is so many things for me to do to help improve our church. Being the worship leader all the time can wear me out sometimes also, simply because I love to be led in worship by others and I rarely get that opportunity. I think this is good in some ways because because it has helped me realize the importance of teaching others on our worship team how to occasionally step up into that leadership role.