Sunday, 2 October 2011

PREPARING FOR WORSHIP LEADING


IT HASN'T CHANGED IN THIRTY YEARS

I love to lead worship. I love the fact that under the anointing of the Holy Spirit I have the opportunity and ability to bring people into the awesome presence of God, to be touched by Him, ministered to, healed, set free and to see yet another facet of His glorious beauty. 
And yet each time I do, there is a feeling, almost of anxiety, nerves, will I do it right, will I honour God, will what I do be good enough? I don't know about you, fellow worship leader; maybe for you it's different. Maybe it's easy to select your songs, to think of the right words to say, to pray the right prayer, to tap into the Holy Spirit. 

PREPARATION FOR WORSHIP STARTS EARLY

For me, the week leading up to the church service is a whole week of preparation. Not that I piously sit in front of piles of books and devotional material at every spare opportunity, or that I spend hours and hours in my prayer closet, (I don't actually have one of those), praying and interceding. I'm not that Holy. Maybe if I was, or maybe if I had the time, my preparation and lead up would be much easier.  
However, I do think about the coming Sunday often, and I will shoot up silent prayers like: "God, what songs would you have me do this week? What are you saying to me, to this congregation? Lord be present in our worship this Sunday, I can't do it without you!" 
In 3 decades this hasn't changed. In fact, if anything, I have become more conscious of the weight of what I do. The ministry of leading worship is for me more than just about picking my favourite 4-6songs for the week, arranging them into masterpieces of instrumental magic that will enrapture the congregation into emotional rollercoaster rides of pure enjoyment and amazement... I'm just not that good, and it's not about that!  

I am increasingly aware that this Sunday morning, I have one opportunity to honour God, to prepare the hearts of the congregation to receive the anointed Word of God from the preacher of the day; to set the stage, as it were, or to create an atmosphere for great things to happen in our service; for hearts to be changed, for spirits to be renewed and refreshed, for God to do amazing things in my Church, for the lost to be saved. 
I view this opportunity as a great honour, and a tremendous responsibility. 

IS WORSHIP MORE THAN A BUNCH OF SONGS?

Maybe I'm the fool. Maybe I've put too much emphasis on what I do? Maybe it is only about picking some songs that the congregation will like to sing along to, so as to get them quietened down, focussed, ready for the collection and the church announcements??? 
I have seen what happens in congregations when careful prayerful preparation has gone into the song service and I can easily compare that to other services where that hasn't been the case. I'm not saying that God can't move where He wants to, He certainly can and does. However, when I read scripture, both Old Testament and New Testament, I see what is required of this who would minister to the congregation in the house of God. 

EFFECTIVE WORSHIP LEADING REQUIRES PREPARATION

If you want God to do great things in your church this Sunday, you will have to do some work. 
This for me includes prayer, self examination, and confession, reading of the Bible, checking out my devotionals, and going over my song list. Most times I will do a final list early on Sunday mornings. I may have a short-list of about 12 songs leading up to that day, but by 6:30am on Sunday morning I will have it down to the final list. 
Now I must add here this one thing. Worship Leading is tremendously rewarding for me. It is exhilarating, rewarding, exhausting and fun. Yes, fun. I get a real buzz from doing this. It is not all serious piety; it is fun. I believe God wants it that way. Why would He ask us to do something (other than a specific thing) that has no enjoyment in it? He wants us to enjoy His presence. After all, who else than His kids can get an audience with the creator of the Universe so readily?  We are privileged! Let's enjoy the audience. 

This Sunday, think about your preparation time, both physical (song list and arrangements) and spiritual. The better prepared you are in your heart, the more God can and will use you to draw people to Himself! 
God bless you, have a great week! 

Erick. 

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