Worship is a topic that is written, blogged, and talked about very often. I hope that what I say does not fall into the vast ocean of opinions out there, and hopefully, I offer a new perspective.
A lovely worship experience is singing songs that have a history of the church that still has an impact today, even though they are centuries old. I am very fortunate that I have been able to grow up in a church where we sing hymns, gospel, contemporary and other styles of music in a worship service.
Now that I am getting older, hymns are so important. The words are straight out of scripture and it also reflects the history and heritage of the church in general. When we sit down and think about the words that these hymns have, it will lead you into a place of worship that is so holy it is overwhelming. Since these songs are directly from scripture, a God-breathed song, it does not get much better than that!
As I already hear the familiar grunt in everyone's voice, I think it is important to talk about this area specifically the area of what songs we pick in a worship service. As I have been involved in worship for a while now, and am doing a worship internship this year, I have been thinking about this topic a lot.
The other day for my internship, I had an assignment where you had to pick 15 worship songs, and out of those, pick three to do as your main worship set. I was becoming so frustrated because I could not think of what to put down. The problem was not that I didn't have any songs, the problem was that I did not have many songs that were as worshipful as they should be.
Now, let me put a disclaimer in here, this article is not bashing Christian artists. There is too much of that as it is. The goal, however, is three " strategies" that I have thought about and tried to implement into picking songs to lead.
Here are two key strategies to really consider when picking worship songs:
Choose Songs Wisely!
The big decision is to choose songs for a worship set— a pretty hard but important task. When picking songs, as simple as it may sound, choose them wisely! For myself, I fall into a trap sometimes when picking songs that I either choose songs that are easy or songs that make me feel good.
God created us to be emotional beings so that should be represented in our worship, however, it should not be the motive behind our worship. If we are worshiping completely out of feeling, then our worship will have an impact temporarily and we won't be grounded in anything. But if our worship is grounded in God, the one who lead us there in the first place, it will change us forever. There are a lot of good songs out there, you just need to find them with a heart open to God.
This leads me to my last point...
Pray! There are so many times I begin to plan a worship set and things were not going well. I find myself scratching my head wondering why— then I remember that I have not asked the one who knows all things to help me! This is also crazy, but God has a plan of what songs He wants you to sing and for the flow of the service.
Sometimes the biggest things we miss, and when you are leading we all need to be in the presence of God. If we are expected to lead people into the presence of God, but we do not know what being the presence of God is, how can we lead people there?
All that to say, worship leaders have an incredible responsibility— but it is one that God has outlined for us and knows how He can inhabit the praise of His people.
So, let's ask Him to guide us, and show us the way. When we rely on Him, it is amazing to see and experience how the worship comes together, because the man whom we are singing too is guiding us to get to Him, a powerful picture that changes the body of Christ.