4 things worship serices need

4 Things Your Worship Service Needs to Better Help People Know God


How to Be an Engaging Worship Leader


Let’s Stop Pointing to David’s Half-Naked Dancing to Justify Pop Worship


4 Things Your Worship Service Needs to Better Help People Know God


When Music Equals Worship: For Musicians, Worshipers, and Worship Leaders

One of the most frustrating misconceptions borne out of the commercial Christian worship movement is the idea that music equals worship. This misconception can take on several forms, at least.

  1. That the music part of a liturgy, mass, or service is the “worship time,” and everything else the “preaching” or “teaching time.”
  2. That music activates deep emotions that become worship when paired with spiritual feelings.
  3. That music itself is a sacrament, ushering worshipers into God’s presence. In fact, I would argue that the contemporary church has made music into a substitute Eucharist.

As a result of these and other facets of the music/worship conflation, those of us who play a part in facilitating music for worship often find ourselves with titles thrust upon us, such as “worship leader,” “lead worshiper,” “Minster of Worship.” I’ve found that many of us, actually, are unsure as to what role we actually do play in worship, and when in the performance of that role we are actually worshiping.

Chuck King, a personal mentor of mine and the former Music Pastor of College Church in Wheaton, Illinois, wrote this column to his Chancel Choir a number of years ago. I’ve referred to it many times myself when trying to get my mind around how my job relates to the worship of the church, and my own personal acts of worship. I think it’s good reflection for this time of year, especially as many of us are heading into a long, stressful weekend in service of God and God’s people’s worship.

We enjoy a rare and glorious privilege . . . to sing God’s praises and his Word in the assembly of his people. But is this worship? Well, yes and no.

Music-making, even music-making that is supremely centered on the biblical revelation of our glorious God, is not by itself “worship.” Or at least is not by itself “authentic worship.” It may be idolatry, it may be self-centered, it may be culturally significant, it may even be extraordinarily emotional. But when is music-making worship?

It is no secret that those who prepare and “lead” also get the greatest benefit from their labors. There are three elements of worship in this task:

Labors: Our worship is our work at what we do for God’s glory. In a ver real biblical sense, Thursday rehearsals are a “worship time”! Worship is giving God his due with the devotion of our bodies, time, and energy.

Preparation: Our worship is what we do with our hearts and hands. “Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? He who has clean hands and a pure heart . . . [S]uch is the generation of those who seek him” (Ps 24). So for us it is not only the musical work, but our heart’s and our life’s connection to what we sing.

Leading: Making music in corporate worship is never for ourselves, but always to draw others into the joyous understanding of what we have learned and sing. Leading is worship when it is “the fruit of lips that confess his name” (Heb. 13).

Ours is a special joy and obligation. May we become “living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God.”

Sing on!

Comment: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/ponderanew/2018/12/22/when-music-equals-worship-for-musicians-worshipers-and-worship-leaders/

Worship Is Not a Spectator Sport: Increase Your Church’s Participation


5 examples of what to say or pray in worship

Have you ever struggled with what to say in between songs as a worship leader?

I do not think worship leaders need to say much, but sharing brief thoughts in between songs can significantly help your congregation connect the dots in worship and encourage them to engage.

I usually have one or two places in the worship song setlist where I will share a thought or lead the congregation in prayer. Here are five types of things you can share with your congregation. I included some scripts of things I’ve said in the past to give you some concrete examples.

1 – Call to Worship

One of our responsibilities as worship leaders is to give our congregation a compelling reason for why they should engage. People are coming into worship distracted by life situations, the 24/7 stream of media they have in their pocket, or what they are going to eat for lunch, and we need to help them focus on God. I’ll say something like,

This morning I want to invite you to engage in our time of worship by singing and focusing all of your attention on God. The next hour is not a time to be a spectator, but a time to remind ourselves of the truth of the Gospel and give God the thanks he deserves. Allow God to work in your life this morning by being present and active in this time of worship.

Another thing you can share for a Call to Worship is a passage of scripture from the book of Psalms. One of my favorites is Psalm 100. “Shout for joy to the Lord all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” There’s nothing quite as powerful as scripture itself to inspire your congregation to worship. Make sure you read with enthusiasm!

2 – Song explanation

Some of the best things to say in a worship service come from explaining songs. Remarkable songs are being written today, but for your congregation member who is hearing a song for the first time, it can be difficult to process the lyrics while learning how to sing it. In 10-20 seconds, you can shed light on song meaning for your congregation.

For example, a few weeks ago we played the song, “Touch the Sky” by Hillsong United. I think this is a well-written worship song. I also believe that this song needs a little bit of context for people to understand what it is about.

It is a song inspired by the Sermon on the Mount and the upside-down nature of God’s Kingdom. If you want to be first, be last. If you want to be great, be the least. If someone slaps you on the cheek, turn to the other. Love your enemies. If you want to find your life, lose it. The lyrics of Touch the Sky brilliantly express this theme from the Sermon on the Mount, but that is not immediately apparent if you are never given the context. Before singing this song, I would say,

We are going to sing a song that reminds us of the upside-down nature of God’s Kingdom. The world tells us that if we are to advance or make progress in life, we need to acquire more, become greater, and more independent. The way of God’s Kingdom is much different. If you want to ascend in status, you must descend. If you want to be great, humble yourself. If you want to find life, be willing to give it up. It’s a tough message, but it’s how God does incredible work in our life. Let’s sing this together.

3 – Personal Story

Sharing personal stories are a great way to allow your congregation to get to know you so that they trust you and want to follow you. I like sharing personal experiences that are super brief, and I can leverage them to make a teaching point about worship. For example, one time I shared something like this,

Friday evening my wife and I went to a Rockies game at Coors Field. Honestly, I’m not that into baseball, and I find it quite boring. But I love when it gets to the seventh inning stretch. Although it is so routine, there is something powerful about all thousands of strangers standing and singing “take me out to the ball came” together. I transformed from a passive spectator to being a passionate bandwagon fan for all of two minutes singing that song. Singing is powerful, and that’s why we do it together at church. But we have a much greater reason and purpose other than sports tradition. We get to unify our voices together to praise God.

4 – Prayer of invocation

Prayer of invocation is a fancy way of referring to a prayer that asks God to be present with us in worship and transform us. That’s the essence and goal of Sunday worship. We want God to transform us whether it’s through the preached Word, communion, or singing songs. All of it is worship, and all of it has tremendous power when God is present and working through it.

Sometimes in between songs, I pray,

God, we ask for your presence to move powerfully this morning. We need it badly. We are broken people. We need to be made new. Speak your truth to us through your Word. Remind us of your love for us through Jesus. Shape our hearts, so we love you more and love our neighbors more. We know that you are living, and active. You have the power to change anything.

5 – Prayer of confession and assurance

One thing the contemporary church in America lacks on Sunday morning is a good dose of honesty concerning the human condition. I have seen God do the most work in my life when I confess my sins.

As worship leaders, we want to help our congregation get in the habit of confessing their sins. To clarify, I think there are two forms of confession. First, you confess your sins in a personal setting to a trusted friend or mentor. Everyone must have this as a part of their private life. The second type of confession is corporate. Corporate confession is when we as a church body acknowledge together how we have wronged God and our neighbor. That’s the kind of confession which I am advocating we lead our congregation.

I think we need to help them learn the language of confession and help them practice admitting their sinfulness by doing it corporately as a body. Then that will translate into a greater willingness to do it in their personal lives. Sometimes this may be a prayer I lead them in.

God, as we worship you this morning, we are in awe of your greatness and holiness. But, we look at ourselves and realize how far we have fallen short. We have wronged you, and we have wrong our neighbors. We ask for your forgiveness, and we ask that by the power of your Holy Spirit we will walk in your ways and live life as you intended.

Sometimes I use a traditional prayer of confession reading like the one in the Book of Common Prayer. It’s always important to follow up a prayer of confession with an assurance of forgiveness. Maybe read a Bible verse about forgiveness through Jesus or sing a song after that emphasizes forgiveness. We never want the congregation to be stuck navel-gazing in their sinfulness but be inspired and moved by the hope of the Gospel!

Whatever you say in between songs, I encourage you to keep it brief and put some thought into preparing what you will say. It’s a crucial step in the worship planning process that I think is often overlooked.

Correspond with Jake at: hello@churchfront.com