What if there was no distinction between what we traditionally call a "Worship Leader" and a worshipper in the congregation? If you were to put yourself in the role of a worshipper in the pews, what would that do to your assumptions?
Should then the entire congregation be on the stage or should the entire worship leader team be in the congregation?
If the latter, wouldn't we lose the need for a stage?
Who would start the songs?
Where would the drummer sit?
How would we handle "specials"?
What IS the difference between what we traditionally call a "Worship Leader" and a worshipper in the congregation?
Are they just to start the songs?
Are they to "perform" specials?
Are they to model what "real" worshipping should look like?
One of the biggest dangers and pitfalls of a worship leader is to get in the way. I can't tell you how many times as I'm praying over a worship set that I have to ask myself, "Is this for You, Lord, or is this for me?" While I am glad for that sensitivity, (I have spent many nights on the secular stage, and believe me, it WAS all about me!) I hate the fact that I am still fighting and harboring a rebellious heart. Jesus knows this. And yet, He has continued to ask me to serve Him in this capacity.
Funny thing, though...
One of the biggest dangers and pitfalls of a worshipper in the congregation is to get in the way.
How many times have found ourselves not able to "enter in", or "get into" the worship service because of some personal reason:
You had an argument with your spouse before you arrived.
You had an argument with your kids before you arrived.
You had an argument with your parents before you arrived.
You stayed up too late the night before.
You had a horrible week at work and your boss attends the same church.
The pews are too hard.
The pews are too soft.
The music is too loud.
The sermon is too loud.
The pastor’s tie is too loud.
Do I need to go on?
What is it that one has to do to really "Worship"?
What is the key to LEADING one's rebellious heart INTO worship?
I believe there has to be a shift in our being. Not just in our thinking but in our entire being. Since it has to happen in our entire being, it cannot be like a light switch, turned off and on. It HAS to be constant and dramatic; like, you are 150 lbs. and *poof* now you are 450 lbs. Your entire world is different- in EVERY way.
A few years ago I lived and worked in Japan. One of my jobs was at Tokyo Disneyland where we lived in a section of Tokyo called American Village. All the homes there were like the nicer homes here in America; unlike the suburban houses surrounding us. Only Americans lived there, workers at Tokyo Disneyland shipped over from America, who spoke English and ate American food. However, the next summer I returned and worked in a small vegetable shop outside of Tokyo where no one spoke English.
Where do you think I learned and absorbed Japanese language and culture the most?
The more time you spend focusing on the object of your worship, the more it influences every aspect of your life. You will not be able to separate yourself from it and everyone and everything around you will reveal to you its effect on your worship.
So, is there a difference between what we traditionally call a "Worship Leader" and a worshipper in the congregation?
I believe there shouldn’t be. But in today’s church, that’s going to take a shift of being. On both sides.
But what if?
I’ll write more about this next week. I think you have enough to chew on for now.