How To Approach Sunday Morning With Fresh Vision

David Santistevan —  February 5, 2013 — 9 Comments

As I wrote in my book, Beyond Sunday, it’s too easy to go through the motions on Sunday morning.

Your mind is swimming in details. Your psyche is preoccupied with pleasing your Pastor.

You not only know the songs, you know the proper inflection points and how to pronounce words for maximum impact. You even have your list of exhortations that work. You’ve become an expert at working the system and getting people’s hands in the air.

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I kid, ever so slightly. But it’s possible to get to a place where you don’t rely on the Holy Spirit or show up with vision, expectant for God’s presence.

You know how to lead worship or play your instrument mindlessly.

But imagine your worship team shows up ready for game time – spiritually alive, musically alert, and ready to serve.

“Going through the motions” is unavoidable, to a certain extent. There are motions to your ministry – routines that keep you organized and effective. Carving out routines that will help you approach Sunday with fresh vision, expectation, and passion.

5 Routines to Keep You Focused

Here’s a list of what I’ve been doing:

1. Relax – I know this can be difficult. It’s like telling an Olympic gymnast to relax – “Don’t worry, either nail this balance beam routine or we lose.” You feel the pressure of responsibility. But the more mindful you can be about relaxing and enjoying yourself, the better you will lead. A tense, stressed out worship leader doesn’t have a clear enough vision to lead well. Smile. Chill. Have fun. You’ve done the necessary preparation. Now go enjoy it.

2. Use Songs…Don’t Worship Them – Songs are not an end in themselves. They find their greatest value in the context they create – uniting people around a theme, engaging the church, encouraging participation. But the real magic happens when you stop just singing your verse, pre-chorus, chorus, bridge and start leading worship. Think – “What action do I want people to take during this song? What truth are people believing?” This opens up a whole new world of possibility when you realize each song is an opportunity for you to lead, God to move, and people to take action.

3. Prepare Your Heart Before You Come – The more I lead, the less I feel I need to prepare. But the truth is, the better, more experienced, more effective I become, the more I need to prepare my heart. Otherwise, I go on auto-pilot. I’d rather rely on God in every moment I’m leading. I’d rather have my heart so in tune with the Holy Spirit that I’m a vessel, ready for use.

4. Give Team Members Spiritual Ownership – What if you appointed a new team member each week to prepare a challenge for the worship team? What if they chose a Scripture and came ready? This would keep your team members “on their toes”, showing up with passion. It’s also a great way to disciple your team members and teach them that this is more a spiritual exercise than it is a musical one.

5. Schedule a Discipleship Focus – You know what energizes me? Seeing new worship leaders and worship musicians grow. One of the ways I approach Sunday morning with fresh vision is by scheduling a discipleship focus for every weekend. I ask myself, “Who am I discipling this week?” If it’s a musician, I’ll work with them very closely, meeting early to coach them. If it’s a worship leader, I’ll let them lead a song and give them feedback. Every weekend is an opportunity to make disciples. Who are you raising up?

OK, my friend, now it’s your turn.

How do you approach Sunday with fresh vision?

What routines help you stay focused?

Let’s start some discussion in the comments!

9 responses to How To Approach Sunday Morning With Fresh Vision

  1. Great post. Love the 5 routines and this tip – “What truth are people believing?”.

    For me, I’ve found #1 “Relax” to be most helpful – rely on God and the Holy Spirit to do the heavy lifting. Also, #2 “Songs”, it’s really helpful to be spirit-led and purposeful in song selection, and again, they will do a lot of the work for you.

    A routine that would add to the conversation – Stay Desperate and On Your Knees. “Auto-pilot” is neither posible nor an option for many of us!

    Thanks for the great article David!

  2. Hey David,
    could you please elaborate what you mean by a challenge in point 4?

    cheers!

    • By “challenge” I meant a devotional or an encouragement for the whole team. We have a team devo time on Sunday morning and occasionally I’ll pick different people to prepare to share for that 15 minute moment. I think it’s a great discipleship tool.

  3. Great post!!! It is extremely helpful and it reminds us(worship leaders) that we really do have to prepare all week for worship on Sunday.

    One thing that I do is over prepare and ask God that I hear Him clearly as to what the people in my congregation needs for that Sunday! Even if come Sunday morning the Holy Spirit says to sing a song hat is not on “the list”. There are times when I had it in my mind that we have to sing the list but the list may not be for that service. So I am working more and more on point #1 to relax and rely 100% on the Holy Spirit to be the worship leader and I be the vessel that He uses. Point #2 is something I need to focus on as well, but it goes beyond Sunday to reach theses points!

    Staying focused on worship!!!!

    • This is a great point, Lauren. How often do you go “off the list”? Does this happen frequently? I think this is a good discussion point for worship leaders. We need to balance careful planning but also being sensitive to the moment.

      • I only lead worship every other Sunday but most of the time it is just about every Sunday that I lead. I may sing one or two from the list it really depends, it may be a whole new list. I always pray Holy Spririt you take the lead. I always want to be able to connect the heart of the people to the heart of God. At first I was terrified (still nerves now) but the more I get out of the way there is a greater release of the glory of God in the service.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. ANTI ROCK STAR INTERVIEW #2: DAVID SANTISTEVAN | MOUTHFUL of GOSPEL - May 14, 2013

    [...] You said in a recent post that “preparing your heart” is an important part of leading worship: “The more I lead, the [...]

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