Recently in a conversation with my brother, he mentioned that he had began leading worship for a church and had gotten a great response from a service he had put together because it had a couple of modern hymn arrangements.
It reminded me that hymnody has been a great way of bridging the generational gap that many churches face in a number of ways:
Every worship leader at some point has had to figure out what to do with the microphone before or after the song. Some incredibly important questions to answer to make our worship words more meaningful are: WHO are we speaking to? WHY are we speaking or singing? WHAT are we supposed to say? WHERE and WHEN is it appropriate? HOW do we do it effectively?
I’ve written some practical things to pay attention to here but I want to get more in depth in this post.
If we aspire to be more than song leaders and learn to be teachers and pastors, we have to find a way to integrate right belief (orthodoxy) into right practice (orthopraxy). Here are some things to consider when speaking in worship.
When I decided to go into worship ministry there were a lot of reasons swirling around. However, leading worship at funerals was no where even on my radar. In this past year though I have had to face the reality of what it means to worship in the face of death. I personally have lost two grandparents, one of which was my spiritual hero. Additionally I have lead worship for two funerals of our church family.
Before I illustrate some of the truths I learned about how to both worship and lead others in worship in these difficult times I’d like to set the stage a little.
If you’re a worship leader, by now you have probably begun to recouperate from your Christmas Eve services and are able to objectively look back and glean some insights about what went well and what didn’t. (And if you’re reading this in 2014 you might be in the process of Christmas worship planning for the next round of holiday services. In which case God bless and here we go again!)
I’ve been doing Christmas Eve services in my current ministry for the past 8 years and and it’s been a lot of fun as well as a huge challenge. Here’s some of the tips I’ve learned over the years.
You walk into a church and from the moment you pass through the doors something just feels right. The room was comfortable, friendly and enjoyable to be in. The service started on time and you were greeted warmly, given a brief scripture to help you focus on God’s attributes and the lights dim down to where you don’t feel like everyone is looking at you. The band and vocal team lead the congregation in singing and played with passion, sincerity and excellence. The lyrics were powerful and worked together to help express awe and wonder as well as facilitating prayer and confession. The video that came right before the sermon was funny, well done and helped set up a strong message based on God’s word. After the teaching time there was an opportunity to respond in obedience to God’s truth by going to one of four stations around the room. The instructions were clear on how to respond, where to go and why you might want to do so as well as making it comfortable for everyone to participate. Afterwords, communion was set up and explained in a fresh way that reminded people of what that ancient practice means for people today. From then on, every part of the service seemed very well thought out, planned and executed. The Worship design team has done it’s job and the producer pulled it all together.
Narrator- A person who gives an account or tells the story of events, experiences, etc.
Jesus was a great narrator. He told stories about a relationship between a father and his two sons, a farmer throwing seeds left and right, and the investments of 2 wise servants and one scared lazy one, and many others. Jesus used images, situations and people from everyday life that were familiar with to help communicate truth in a powerful, compelling way. Telling stories has always been one of the most effective ways to draw people in with a message that is memorable and has the potential to shape behavior and having someone on your worship planning team who can do so in video is priceless.