I am a worship leader and a missionary. I have lead worship not only at my home church, but other churches in America, Mexico, Nepal and across the world. One of my personal passions is teaching on worship as well. I feel sometimes we just need to study worship and reflect on worship. This is one of the reasons I am connected with All About Worship. The organization is designed to provide resources for worship leaders. So for this page, which is a permanent header on the site, I wanted to give some of my philosophy of worship. Some theological things, and some practical things. Some that are common, and some that are unique.
1. 2nd Chronicles 5 gives us some great insight into worship. This is the passage where they are dedicating the temple that Solomon commissioned. Almost all of Israel is there in joyous celebration because God has a home on earth. The Levites bring the ark in, they purify, and then they lead worship. This ends with the presence of God so thick it becomes a cloud that everything stops and the people just wait in the presence.
This gives us some great insights. First we need to be seeking to build a place for the presence of God to dwell. A place for His presence to rest. This doesn’t simply mean in the sanctuary at church, but that is a special place that is dedicated for the glory of God. (I love the local church. Thank God for Local leaders who are continually leading the body into the presence of God.) However, the scriptures say that The Lord inhabits the praise of His people. (Paslm 22:3) So anywhere you worship is a place you are dedicating to the Lord. This is much like the people of Israel who built altars to mark that a territory belonged to God, or to remember a victory the Lord had given to them.
Furthermore, we see the Levites purifying themselves. This is important because Purity is important to God. He wants us to be Holy. (1 Peter 1:16) Remember also that Pure water and Salt water cannot come from the same fountain. (James 3:11) So it is important for worship leaders to live a pure life free from sin and then when we release our songs, the pure sound of God’s heart freely flows through us.
Finally, as we move from chapter 5 to chapter 6, we see Solomon come up to preach. We as worship leaders often can fall into the trap of pride thinking that we are the end all be all of the service, but in reality, we bring the people into the presence and then prepare them for the word of the Lord to come from our Pastors. We are not rock stars, and we are not buskers playing for money on the street. We are leaders drawing people to the presence and preparing their hearts to receive the live giving word of the Lord. Remember that. Meet with your pastors, grab a hold of their vision for the church and run with it. Tap into their heart and join it.
2. Another thing I think is vital to express is flow. I have a particular way I like to flow in worship. I like to choose songs in the same key, and I often will medley parts in that have the same chord structure. The reason for this is that it allows me to move from one song to the next without stopping, without changing the key. So the flow is smooth, and easy to follow. Further, the continuing flow of the music keeps the congregation engagedand helps to keep minds from wandering.
I admit that this is somewhat difficult to do with a team at first and requires working together well and getting to know each other well so you flow as a team together. The KJV Bible says on the day of Pentecost in Acts, that the people were in “One Accord” this word in greek is Homothumodon this word actaully means that they were like drops of water coming together to form a river.
I believe that a proper flow allows us to worship together with the voice of mighty rushing waters (Revelation 14) Which is a powerful moment. So Keeping the songs in the same key and not stopping the music is a simple practical tip that helps facilitate the One accord, or the rushing river of worship.
3. I like to vamp on a song and allow for instrumental praise, spontaneous worship, or prophetic song. How this works is that after you finish a particular song and before you move to the next, you keep in on the chord structure for a moment and leave a space for the spirit to flow spontaneously. Now this isn’t going to happen every song, but by allowing for it you ensure that when the Spirit of God breathes on a moment, you are ready to breathe it in.
A physical example of this is seen in a tower of champagne glasses. I am sure you have seen in the movies or TV where the champagne glasses (flutes is the technical term) are stacked like a pyramid. Then someone pours champagne from the top and when the first flute fills, the champagne spills down and eventually the flutes are all filled. This si how I view worship. We begin the flow singing a song and as it draws to a close it pools in a flute until it overflows down to the next song. , and this allows us to make a large pool for the spirit.
Now technically you can fill each flute individually, but it takes much longer. So if we allow for a continuous flow it moves quickly and we see the filling occur faster. So this is how I choose to approach the worship. However, if the flow is not connecting to the congregation, its ok to adjust, switch, or change your flow. It is key that the congregation be connected to the flow as well as the leaders. Sometimes this means that you need to to make adjustments on the fly, and quickly move on from something hat doesn’t work.
Well that is all for now, but I will update this as I feel more things need to be answered. Please feel free to let me know if you have specific questions that I can answer in greater detail.