Here are some of my thoughts about worship and ministry…
Worship is an ominous subject, this will only scratch the surface. Matt Redman says that worship is our ‘soul reflex’, I like that description. In its most simple form, worship is our response to God. Here are some of my thoughts on worship and how I approach ministry…
Personal worship is intentional. Romans 12:1 says we are to be a living sacrifice and this is our act of spiritual worship. I need to live my life in a constant state of grateful response to God, to let him live through me on a daily basis. I ask the Holy Spirit to fill me each day because worship is not something I can do in my own human strength. I must have the Holy Spirit guiding me in order to live sacrificially and honor God. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13) and this includes the desire and ability to worship God in all things.
Corporate worship is powerful, transformational and equipping. I enjoy teaching that worship is more than singing songs on a Sunday morning. I view the entire worship service as a worship experience. In other words, worship with the gathered local church includes singing, prayer, fellowship, proclaiming the gospel, communion, baptism, laughing and crying together, and so on.
True worship, as Jesus mentions to the Samaritan women at the well in John 4, is both Truth and Spirit. Our Heavenly Father is seeking worshipers. I believe that true worship includes an evangelistic element. Singing songs of scripture and praying with a contrite heart has an effect on non-believers. When our ‘soul reflex’ reveals the truth of the gospel it pleases God, encourages the believer and convicts the non-believer. I am moved by the example of the man falling facedown in worship and acknowledging Christ as Lord in 1 Corinthians 14:25, what an awesome experience that must have been and I long to see that every week during corporate worship!
God wants our best in worship. Therefore, as a worship pastor and musician I desire excellence as I serve God through my local church. I will always work to improve my craft and I expect others to do the same. With that said, I’m also humbled and comforted that Jesus serves as my worship leader (Hebrews 2:12). I am justified by God through the sacrificial life of Jesus Christ. In the same way that I have been clothed in righteousness through Jesus’ shed blood, my worship is presented as Holy through the living Jesus.
Gifting determines style. I lead the worship ministry in a way that best fits the gifting of those involved. I believe “style” is largely defined by the gifts and abilities of the people serving. God has given me the ability to work with musicians of all skill levels, allowing me to bring out their best in order to present a quality worship experience for the church. I never ask a person to do something they are not capable of. I love to mentor musicians and build quality relationships with them. My main purpose as a worship pastor is to equip the saints for service (Ephesians 4:11-12); this includes being trained in sound doctrine and being prepared to worship in Spirit and Truth.
The Holy Spirit is present during the planning process of leading worship. Over the years I have never repeated the same worship order. I ask God each week, “…what do you want your church to sing to you this this Sunday…?” God blesses diligent preparation as I consider the abilities and strengths of the volunteers and teams that I shepherd. I also build worship services that intentionally have room for adjustments – this allows me to seamlessly make transitions or changes as the Holy Spirit directs. Being prepared involves intentional prayer, reading, study, relationship-building (discipleship), personal worship, focused practice, and following through with numerous administrative tasks. As a result, quality rehearsals will take place and the congregation will be invited to participate in a non-distracting worship experience.
Corporate worship is not about style or a great worship set. It is about a genuine desire to honor God in worship by being single-minded (entire book of Philippians). Corporate worship will include sound doctrine, repentance, and the proclamation of the gospel. Corporate worship helps believers approach the throne of God with confidence through Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:16). Our ‘soul reflex’ , being truthful and authentic in the Holy Spirit, pleases God and brings life transformation to the non-believer. Corporate worship is about equipping the saints to be in awe of God during the week in order to help them share the gospel as they go (Matthew 28:19). The fruit of effective corporate worship lasts well beyond the Sunday morning experience. I love to see people encouraged and coming back each week with a worshipful attitude, celebrating what God has done in their life!