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#ThursdayWorshipThoughts 09.20.18

Worship As A Journey

Lord Of The Strings

Who doesn’t like a great story, or an epic journey? I sure do!

One of my personal favorite stories is “The Lord of the Rings” -which is a journey of epic proportions! In the story, we follow our protagonist, Frodo Baggins, through various exciting episodes and many deeply meaningful moments. It is an adventure story, but also a love story. There are battles, but not on every page. There is plenty of dialogue, but also a generous amount of description. Parts of the story are lighthearted, while much of the adventure is heart-stopping. It is an amazingly well told story, from beginning to end. The narrative draws us in, causes us to care, and leaves us with hearts full of hope.

I really believe that Worship Leaders ought to think of worship as a journey. In reality, we have the unparalleled privilege of musically re-telling the greatest story that has ever been told. Our protagonist, God, has led His people through various exciting episodes and many deeply meaningful moments. His is a story of adventure, but also of redemption and unending love. The story that we get to retell includes hard-fought battles, but not on every page. The story of God is filled with dialogue, but it also provides a generous amount of description. Parts of God’s story are lighthearted, while much of it is heart-stopping. God’s story is one that has been amazingly well told, from beginning to end. His story draws us in, causes us to care, and leaves us with hearts full of hope!
Of course, there is (at least) one huge difference between “The Lord of the Rings” and the story of God… the story of God is actually true! When it comes to leading God’s people in worship, we should craft our Sunday set lists with this reality in mind. We are telling an incredible story, and we should aim to tell it well.

We need to remind our people of how exciting it is to follow Christ but also lead them in deeply meaningful, reflective moments. It is okay to include an upbeat, rousing song in your set list!  Maybe that song is not overly deep in theology. No worries! We are leading them on an epic journey, and it is okay to just stop and celebrate along the way! It is also okay to take a moment to go deeper. Perhaps that means leading a song that helps us to consider the depths of God’s love for us, or even the depths of our love for Him. Maybe both. This is an important part of the journey, as well.

Don’t forget that you have people in your congregation who are currently fighting their way through a vicious battle. In fact, our enemy, Satan, desires to kill us, steal from us, and destroy us every moment of every day. There is a very real spiritual war happening during every church service, whether we recognize it or not. I once heard someone say that when Satan fell from heaven, he landed on a sound board. While that is funny (and every sound man says, “Amen!”) the reality is that while we worship, we are waging war! Let’s remind our people through song that God is fighting for us! He is victorious! The joy of the Lord is our strength! We are more than conquerers through Christ! Yes, it is good to sing love songs to the Lord, but let us raise our battle cry, as well.

It is also completely appropriate to sing songs that allow us to dialogue with the Lord, or simply sing descriptive songs about who He is. I occasionally like to lead songs that are written from God’s perspective. Sometimes I encourage the congregation to simply listen and receive as the Worship Team sings over them. At other moments, we seem to be singing more about God than to Him. This is okay, also. We are together reminding our souls of the myriad reasons why God alone is worthy of our praise and adoration.

Worship Leaders, go ahead and mix it up a little bit. Provide light-hearted moments and illuminate heart-stopping truths as you lead us on this epic journey of worshiping the King of all kings. Be intentional about drawing us in, causing us to care, and leaving us with hearts full of hope.

For a printable version of this article, click here.

Artwork provided by my good friend, Brooke Gehman, an authentic and wonderful man of God, devoted follower of Christ, and an amazing husband and father. Brooke is a gifted Worship Leader, an incredible artist, and a Potter by trade (check out his website).

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