Thursday, January 30, 2014

The three C's of worship...part 1

I have a document on my computer that is titled "FOTP Worship Values".  In the document, we outline what we feel is important to a ministry that is called to lead God's people in the worship of his holy name.  The first line is our purpose as worship leaders and worshipers:

To create an environment of worship where craft, culture, and commitment help others realize their role in the story God is telling.  (Psalm66:1-2, 1 Chron. 16:4-7)

Those "three C's" are the values that make up FOTP worship.  (Yes, I realize that my Baptist roots are showing with my "three C's".) They define what it means to be a lead worshiper and to be a part of a team that ministers to the hearts of God's people via music. I believe that not only do these values relate to us as worship leaders, musicians, and vocalists, but they also can relate to all of us as regular attenders gathering to worship Christ together.  Over the next few weeks, I'll unpack these three values and talk about how they can relate to us all.


We always bring our best.  Excellence honors God, inspires people, and eliminates distractions. (Psalms 33:1-3, 1 Corinthians 10:31, Colossians 3:17)

Our Culture honors God:

Every place or environment that you can enter or be a part of has a culture.  When you go into a new work place or visit someone's home, you immediately begin analyzing things and trying to figure out the culture of the place.  As worship leaders and worshipers we want to cultivate and create an environment that is constantly pointing people to Jesus.  We should have a culture and habit of worship on and off the stage.

As lead worshipers (worship leaders, musicians, vocalists):

This area is what could be considered the "spiritual development" side of what we do.  Before you throw stones at me, I do realize that all elements of what we do are spiritual in root.  However, some things have more of a practical nature to them.  Anyway, the most important thing for us as lead worshipers is to realize that worship is not for us nor about us; it's all about Jesus.  We want to do everything we can to point others to Christ and show him as the true guest of honor.  The best way to assure this, is to continue growing in our personal relationship with Jesus.  If we aren't growing spiritually by prayer and spending time in the Bible, our worship leading will suffer for it.

Another way to cultivate a great culture of worship as a lead worshiper is to keep a positive attitude.  Acknowledge that you'll get feedback from your team members and you'll give feedback as well.  As with any relationship, you have to trust that you all have each other's best interest at heart.

Most importantly, enjoy yourself!  It's important that we see ourselves as lead worshipers.  If we aren't engaged in the moment and worshiping our Savior, people know.  We have the honor to worship alongside them and lead them in their prayers via song.  The coolest part about it is that it is fun!  Music is an incredible gift that God has given us, so when you're on stage, look like you're enjoying it.  When you have joy in your heart and on your face, people see that and it engages them.  It helps them see and believe the message that we are singing and playing about.  

As worshipers (audience, crowd, guests)

As with worship leaders and band members, the most important thing that any of us can do to help ensure that we are having an incredible experience on Sunday is to prepare our hearts during the week.  A.W. Tozer wrote, "If you aren't worshiping God on Monday-Saturday, I seriously doubt that you are worshiping him on Sunday."  That may seem a bit harsh, but his point is that worship is more than the 25 minutes of music and 28 minutes of sermon on Sunday.  Worship is how we live our lives in response to what God has done for us.  We live a life of worship when we love our spouses and kids well, when we are friendly to our neighbors and co-workers, when we're nice and honest, when we show grace to others that may not deserve it.  In short, we live a life of worship when our lives begin to reflect Christ.  

As worshipers, our weekly worship culminates on Sunday (or Saturday) when we can come together as one church and sing to Jesus and thank him for what he's done.  It's like healing to our hearts to have those songs, prayers, and words from the Bible preached and sung over us.  In Ephesians 5:19-21 we read that we are to address one another in songs and to do so with a thankful heart.  That is what our corporate worship services on the weekend are.  We sing together and for one another.  We worship through the teaching of the Bible and share and affirm that truth with one another.  

In closing, I encourage you to do your part this weekend as you prepare to come and worship at your church.  Pray.  Pray for God to speak to you through the song and the message.  Pray for your pastors that God would speak through them and use them well.  Read the Bible and continue to grow in your spiritual journey.  And most importantly...have fun doing it and worship loudly!

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