Life Is A Highway!
There is a song that came out during my childhood called, “Life Is A Highway”. It was a great tune! It has been remade by several artists since then, but I still remember that original version with the great drum beat, harmonica and electric guitar in the opening, almost spoken first verse, and classic chorus. “Life is a highway!”
While I don’t necessarily ascribe to the entire worldview of the song, I think there are some helpful insights to offer to Worship Leaders as we look at life as a “highway”.
Let’s be honest, life has a LOT of distractions! Kind of like billboards and signs and other vehicles on the road, life has a lot going on. It can be hard to stay focused with so many distractions vying for our attention. As worshipers, we can certainly become distracted ourselves, but as Worship Leaders, we must recognize this constant pull that our people face and try to help them stay focused in the midst of the distraction.
Many times while traveling on a highway with my GPS (Global Positioning System) I will hear it say something like, “Merge left in 1 mile” and I realize that I had totally forgotten what I was doing! I was just going through the motions! That friendly little reminder from my GPS redirects my focus and helps me engage again. As Worship Leaders, it can be really helpful for us to look for ways to act as a sort of GPS (God Positioning System). We are not just standing up front to perform or to simply lead songs. Life is a highway! People get distracted. It is a good idea to remind people of what we are doing (even while we are doing it) to potentially help redirect their focus and get them ready to engage again!
Sometimes I travel through the night. I enjoy doing that because there is hardly anyone else on the highway and I can really cover a lot of ground! It is supremely important for us, as Worship Leaders, to do a fair amount of “night driving”. By that I mean that we need to spend a large amount of time in our prayer closet, being alone with the Father. Jesus, the Ultimate Worship Leader, often withdrew to lonely places to pray (see Luke 5:16)! We should, too! We are doing ourselves and our people a huge disservice if our main “prayer time” is on stage in front of others. Life is a highway! Get out there and do some lonely night driving!
With the exception of some night driving, most of our time spent on the highway will be in the midst of others. The highway is filled with other drivers! They have their own agenda, their own schedule, their own thoughts of how the driving should be done, etc. We may all be moving smoothly towards our destination, or we may wind up in a bit of a traffic jam. There may even be tragic moments when two (or more) cars collide, creating minor or devastating damage. Though this should be avoided as much as possible, it is a part of life. Life is a highway! Always be mindful of those around you. As a Worship Leader, be aware that your actions can help others move smoothly towards their heavenly destination or have devastating consequences!
So many of the highway travelers have entered at different points! Creating as many on-ramps as possible allows for as many travelers as possible! As Worship Leaders, we need to realize that some people are ready to “enter” into worship as soon as they walk through the church doors! Others are ready at the start of the first song. Still, others may not be ready to “enter” until much later into the set list, if at all. No worries! Just acknowledge this reality and offer as many “on-ramps” as possible! Personally, one way I like to do this is by saying a few words between each song, helping people understand why we are singing it, why I chose it, how it fits Biblically or thematically to the morning service, or what it means to me on a personal level. I also tend to speak the words of the next line of the song prior to singing it. This method serves as a sort of “on-ramp”. I know that the lyrics are typically displayed on the screen behind me, but this simple gesture helps communicate that I want people to sing along, and that they don’t have to stare at the screen. They can close their eyes and focus on God and I will occasionally be feeding them lyrics. On a practical side, it also helps the person running the overhead projection to know for sure where I am going, clearing up possible distractions.