Simple Worship: Have We Made This Too Complicated?

David Santistevan —  — 11 Comments

2055189101_9d55accbd4_zThe other day I was reflecting on the amazing, glorious responsibility we have as worship leaders.

We get to stand before God’s people and declare His greatness – to usher people into His presence with singing. But we also have the responsibility to do it well.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to waste the church’s precious moments with God in corporate worship with mere performance, a disorganized team, and a lack of passion. I want to connect them to Jesus.

The best way I’ve found to do that is to get back to the basics. Corporate worship isn’t simple. There’s a lot of organization, both in leading your team and engaging a large room of people to sing in unison. I don’t want to minimize that or paint a wrong portrait of what we do.

However, reminding ourselves about the basics can cause us to approach our complex task with simplicity – so the most important things are at the forefront of our minds.

Why Do We Gather?

While you have to pick out songs, schedule your band, rehearse your band, know your music, and lead in worship, don’t forget these few truths about simple worship.

1. God is in the Room – To be the best worship leader you can be, you need to be preoccupied with God. You need a deep sense of His majesty as you lead. Not only are you singing “about” God, you are singing “to” Him. He is in the room. And that, my friend, changes everything.

2. Corporate Singing – If people aren’t singing, you’re not doing your job well. Either the music is too distracting, your songs are in bad keys, or people don’t know the songs. Our goal is to unite the room in worship, encouraging everyone to lift their voice together. That’s why I step away from the mic so often. I love to hear the people of God sing at the top of their lungs. Don’t forget this.

3. People – I’m sorry, but worship isn’t about your talent, your preferences, or scratching your creative itch. It’s about the church. It’s about serving people, making it easy for them to take steps towards God. It’s not your job to worship for them. You need to create a context where they can get lost in His presence.

4. The Cross – Every gathering is a celebration of the cross. The cross of Christ isn’t old news that we merely pay homage too. It’s the very foundation of our worship and the centerpiece of our lives. Corporate worship is a reminder that we don’t do life on our own.  You were “bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (I Corinthians 6:20).

Now, what do you think?

How have we made corporate worship too complicated?

How can we return to the basics and ensure it is pure, God-centered, and alive?

Share your thoughts in the comments.

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11 responses to Simple Worship: Have We Made This Too Complicated?

  1. Thanks for the powerful reminder to visit the basics. I agree that a very reliable litmus test of how things are going in worship is to peel back the music and listen for the voices in the congregation. It’s a very telling moment that provides answers and also tends to stir the congregation to come to the table with their heart and voices.as well, rather than to just sit back and let the worship team do their thing. I find that because we are up on a platform with lights shining in our faces, every Sunday I need to “erase” the imaginary line or dividing wall in the minds of the congregation that secretly separates us. Being one pleases our Heavenly Father and from there is where the anointing flows. Thanks again for your wise words.

  2. Amazing post David, every line will speak to any worship minister who reads this.

    I believe returning to the basics in corporate worship is an overflow of returning to the basics in personal worship & spirituality also.

  3. Maybe it makes that simple ideal of once rehearsal is over, forgetting about results in the moment and joining in true fellowship with your community important. Great post!

  4. Great reminders, thanks David!

  5. Awesome post, I had the opportunity to step in for our worship leader last week and while I have experience in leading smaller groups, preaching and teaching, I felt this would be a challenge. The amazing part is, I stepped up to the front with the “Basics” in mind, God took over and things went well. While I feel I have some talent as a musician and singer, I think that connection with congregation and God is by far the most important. For me realizing I am just a tool and a worshiper just like everyone else helped me choose songs I felt would focus us on God rather than entertain or stir an emotional connection. I realize worship can be emotional but its so amazing when we pour ourselves out to him because in return he fills us up. I appreciate your posts and emails. A few weeks ago you sent an email about naming our year I picked the word “useful”. I just want to do anything to see Gods glory in my life and in my church. To some it may not be the grandest of ambitions but this week I found myself useful and I was so blessed by it. Thanks and God bless you.

    • Chris, thanks for leaving a comment. This really helps to stir discussion. I’m glad you stepped out and led. Sounds like you approached everything with a humble, serve-the-church, outlook. I love it.

      • I was grateful for the opportunity. In every situation God has a lesson to teach us and their is an moment we can reach someone else. A part of leading in the church is planting inspiration and knowledge into those we are leading. Helping them find their gifts and cultivating them into future servants and leaders. I’m grateful to have found your blog and inspired by your churches worship. Thank you

  6. Excellent reminders David of “WHY” we sing. We are not singing for ourselves, we are singing for God and for the congregation.

    If we always have that mindset in the forefront, it helps to keep everything in the proper perspective.

    And the point you made about stepping back and letting the congregation sing…yes I do that as well. That is an awesome way to spark the worship to a higher level as well as a barometer to how that particular worship song is working.

    Thanks David!

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