[Today's post is an excerpt from my most recent newsletter. Due to such positive feedback, I wanted to feature it on the blog. If you're not subscribed to my newsletter, I suggest you do. I consider it the "Insider's" group and it's one of my favorite things to write. You can sign up here.]
When it comes to preparing for a worship service, what is the first question you typically ask?
What songs am I going to do?
We all ask that.
We get in frantic mode to pick the best songs everyone will like, that every church is doing, that is on the radio. Then, when it comes time to lead worship, we sing through our songs.
A job well done?
Well, not exactly. I want to share with you a different approach to preparing for (and leading) corporate worship.
It doesn’t start with a frantic hunt to find the most popular songs.
It doesn’t start with fresh, interesting arrangements. It doesn’t even start with your skinny jeans.
It starts with listening. Yep, listening.
If there’s one thing you get out of this post, I want you to remember these questions:
- “God, what are you doing?”
- “God, what are you saying?”
The best corporate worship leading starts with tuning into the voice of the Holy Spirit (you can tweet that, if you like).
Then, when you hear from Him you can more effectively pick songs to lead your congregation.
The Father is always doing great things and speaking to us. Worship leader, it’s your job to tune into His voice. I don’t care if you sing “I Exalt Thee” for an hour. That’s not the point. It’s not your goal to be the most cutting edge, write the most music, or sing the newest songs.
Innovation in worship is meaningless if it’s not paired with a heart to know Jesus and an ear trained to hear His voice.
Remember what Jesus said in John 15:27? “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
Corporate worship isn’t just the skill of choosing songs. It’s the skill of hearing God – hearing God in your preparation and hearing God in the moment of worship.
Songs are not an end in themselves. Successful worship leading isn’t getting through a songlist without mistakes. Songs are meant to take you somewhere.
Think about an escalator. The goal of an escalator isn’t to give you the ride of your life. You don’t go on vacation to ride escalators (unless, of course, you’re 3 years old). The purpose of an escalator is to take you somewhere.
It’s the same with songs. The purpose of a worship song isn’t to enjoy singing them or feeling good while you listen to them. The goal of a well-written worship song is to lead you to Jesus – to lift you to the main event – to carry you to another level of Scripture-declaring, truth-believing, lay-it-all-on-the-line worship.
The most important worship song isn’t the one someone else has written. The most important worship song is the raw, possibly-out-of-tune, tear-filled, desperate cry of a heart longing for Jesus.
So as you prepare to lead worship this weekend, ask the questions:
“God, what are you doing?”
“God, what are you saying?”
Your most Spirit empowered, Christ exalting, Church strengthening worship services are on the way.
OK, my friend. I want to hear from you.
What would it make possible if your entire team asked these two questions: “God, what are you doing?” and “God, what are you saying?”
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