Every week, every worship leader has the hard task of choosing one song that will open the set and provide a spiritual and musical on-ramp to the rest of the worship experience. What if you tried something unexpected – like repeating the same opening song each week for a season?
Photo by Jan Tielens on Unsplash
You’re planning your next set asking the same kinds of hard questions you always do, in a similar order. One in particular leads the way…
The year is 1984, and George Orwell’s dystopian future has not come to pass. A 50-year old musician’s career has reached an all-time low. A song he is about to write, rooted in a word that is thousands of years old, will rise like a phoenix from his creative ashes – flying right into the popular consciousness of a generation.
He is sitting on the floor of his hotel room in New York City, clad in only his underwear, with numerous lyric-filled notebooks strewn around him. He is banging his head on the floor as he struggles to complete a song for which he has 80 draft verses; a song that has been stuck inside him for at least two years.
As worship leaders, we are often looking for a secret key that will make us more effective at what we do. But the answer to being more effective at leading worship hasn’t changed. It never will.
In my experience, we as worship leaders will do almost anything else in order to avoid mastering the following two areas. I know that I do. When they come together, however, there is a quiet increase in effectiveness and authority in one’s worship leadership.
What are the two things that every worship leader must master to become the most effective worship leader we can be?
I’ve now spent most of my adult life (30 years) thinking about, leading, and teaching on the topic of worship. It’s been central to my life’s call to reflect on why we do what we do in worship in settings like local churches, conference events, an universities. After interacting with contemporary worship ideas around the world over these past 3 decades, here are the top 5 most important things I believe every congregation needs to understand about worship.
As each of the following sections is a summary, I promise that I will leave out language about worship that is important to someone. But in this setting, the summaries will have to suffice.
Under each point, I suggest “What We Get Wrong,” and “How We Get It Right.” I hope these insights are helpful to our shared understanding of worship.
Friend Glenn Packiam (www.mysteryoffaithblog.com) recently posted his response to the current tide of voices calling for an end to the “modern worship” enterprise. It’s one of the best recent posts on the topic to date.
image from Glenn’s original post
I’ve written a few similar posts on this same topic, touching the idea that nuance is vital in conversations like these. Sweeping judgments of entire movements (megachurches, the “industry”, etc.) are unhelpful in moving us all forward.
Glenn, in this post, addresses the vantage point from which these articles are often written, and conveys why certain arguments lack care and – to put it simply – the due diligence of adequate research (primarily phenomenological research).
As a reader of my blog, I commend it to your reading and sharing. These are the kinds of words that must become as viral as any rant about the contemporary worship experience.
“What You (Probably) Don’t Know About Modern Worship” by Glenn Packiam.