“If out of forgetfulness or inattention our worship doesn’t take place under the cross of Jesus, worship almost inevitably becomes an exercise in wish fulfillment, and praise becomes self-congratulation – private needs and emotions given religious sanction.”
Eugene Petersen, The Pastor
As we gear up to worship with others tomorrow, I am struck by our motivation for it. It is the joy of the grace we are given in Christ! This from Montgomery and Jones in Proof:
“This joy is the fuel that drives Christian worship. When a church proclaims God’s undiluted grace, the deadly delusions of human religion are drowned in a flood of gospel-fueled freedom and intoxicating joy. The response of the redeemed is to “sing and shout, teach and admonish, and experience the rich joy of God’s indwelling Word. We sing with grace, and we sing because of grace.”
Let us sing!
We like the idea of God’s love for us. But we tend to think it is far off or something only to be experienced occasionally, when we are really good or sufficiently in need. In Christ, when you believe in Jesus, you exist in this love. It is your atmosphere. It sounds weird, but its true. Be encouraged today. This love never leaves. It never forgets you. It is yours in Jesus.
I have had the privilege to work with some amazing worship leaders. People of talent and passion. But I have never had to search for a worship leader. As we sat in Florida at Coral Ridge Presbyterian church this last Sunday I thought through the things in the musical portion of worship that I highly valued. Emphasis on congregational singing. Musical ability and creativity. And the expressed heart of the leader to glorify Christ.
Beyond what I value, what should be baselines for finding a worship leader? I have a few friends looking for leader in their churches and I thought this list of marks of a healthy worship leader from Alex Duke was worthwhile and even important.
Among the marks that Duke sees of a worship leader are these that stood out to me:
“3. Your worship leader should be invisible (almost).”
Here the emphasis is on the whole church singing. Can a quest walk away thinking “wow those people can sing” or is it “wow that one guy can sing?” This is a big distinction in the performance versus worship category.
“5. Your worship leader should work in close tandem with the preacher.”
This goes without saying… I hope.
“7. Your worship leader should be committed to the explicit worship of Jesus.”
The tune doesn’t matter much but the words sure do. Are our songs theological (and right) exalting Jesus? They should be.
“9. Your worship leader should be chiefly concerned with honoring God and upholding Jesus and the gospel, more than reaching the next generation or any other pre-determined demographic.”
The leader’s focus should be on revelry in the gospel. This means they are not there on their own or others’ determination to reach a specific preference group in the church or without. In the modern church we sadly put too much on the worship leader to “attract” when their role is to bolster the worship of the church in pursuit of Jesus, without preference.
Duke’s whole list is worth a look. Now get to worshiping!