Although I am a pastoral ministries student, I found taking a Worship Leadership class to be essential, in spite of where my personal musical talents may lie. What I particularly found most useful was learning about the pastoral (shepherding) heart of a worship leader/pastor. Related to this, I also found the worship leader/church pastor relationship to be of interest (more on this in later posts).
Throughout the next few weeks, I’ll be posting what I have found to be the ‘top ten’ most important aspects of worship and worship leadership that I have learned.
Let’s start from where we left off last week.
4. The Heart of Worship: It’s all about who?
Our worship reflects our maturity in Christ. “Childish worship” makes us the center of worship, and God being that certain something (like a genie) that grants my personal wishes. A recent statement made by Victoria Osteen on this subject has caused quite a stir on the Internet.
True worship is about looking at God as He is. Mature worship places God at the center; and when we do this, we find that we become so much smaller when He is lifted up.
5. Regardless of title, every Worship leader should be, in practice, a worship pastor.
The Worship leader is the one who brings together a congregation, a flock, into a simultaneous experience. He/she leads them—lovingly, into the presence of God, directly where the congregation should, and wants to go. The Shepherd leads the sheep to water. Sure, as the saying goes, he can lead them to the water but can’t make them drink. That’s fine. A shepherd only needs to gently lead the sheep to the well. Here, the sheep drink as they wish. But the sheep need guidance to know when it’s time to go, where (at times) to go, encouraging and leading them perhaps to go deeper, and that it’s time to take them back into the pasture to be fed by another shepherd.
The worship pastor (as well as other church pastors) is an example to the flock. The worship pastor is being seen worshipping, as well as being seen in other matters of his or her spiritual life. The worship leader needs to be an example as one who lives a lifestyle of worship, leaving upon the flock an impression (Gr., tupos) of Christ, an impression which means the type of impression left by a mark—such as the nails in Christ’s hands. Worship leaders, therefore are to pastor (feed sheep) by having the mark of Christ.
6. The ‘theater prompt’ illustration.
In the natural sense, a theater prompter is someone who helps feed the lines to actors on a stage in the event they forget. The theater has its performers, its prompter and its audience. We might have a more naturally tendency to think of worship in terms of the performers on stage as the worship team; the prompter as God; and the audience as, well, the audience. But true worship, if done correctly, should look more like this: The performers are the congregation; the prompter is the worship team; and the audience is God. This illustration is a good way of keeping our motives—whether we are the congregation, worship leader or a worship team member—in check.