Even as I wrote yesterdays post something inside me twisted as, well, I know people that lead their church's worship service and people that have just tried so hard. These people are people that I love more dearly than my own life and the idea that they would read my blog and click away hurt or feeling as though they've failed makes me sick to my stomach.
So I'm back again to talk about worship vs. singing.
I don't think it has one thing to do with what songs are sung. I can worship my little heart out to "Victory in Jesus" or I can worship myself to pieces to "Lord I give you my heart". Some songs are just appropriate at different times. I still love "Oh, how I love Jesus" but adore the new version of "Amazing Grace" that includes "My chains are gone".
It's not about what you sing - though I find it hard to imagine worshipping to "Bringing in the Sheaves" - but it is entirely about how you sing it. I've loved my worship at every church I've been to. Whether it was my brother leading it, or another leader, or, on the off night that people didn't show up - the older lady that can't keep time. If you worship, I will do everything in my power to worship with you.
But here's what I get.
Sometimes, other people aren't worshipping with you. And it's hard to lead people into worship when they aren't going to go - or when you feel like you've left them behind because they just refused to follow you into worship. I get that. And quite frankly, I've never figured out what a good leader is supposed to do with that.
My gut? My (often angry little gut) says church is about God, and if they don't want to worship God then phooey on them - I'm worshipping till I'm done.
Then there's another little part of me that steps up and says "That just sounded really really selfish - they just need help"
I was in a church once that had people come in that led an incredible worship service and yet everyone around me sat there appearing to simply be waiting for the people to finish. I was fostering kids at the time so when I took one of the children away from an older woman so that I could stand up and worship with the child, the older lady looked at me and said "That music doesn't do anything for me."
I nearly bit my tongue in two trying to not say something.
It shook me to actually hear what people were thinking. It was almost better to imagine what people were thinking than to actually hear someone say it unrepentantly and not even realize what they'd said.
Worship isn't just music and song - truly, when I'm worshipping at my best I can't even sing. Worship is simple adoration, love devotion. Described in the Bible it's as simple and awe-striking as the angels calling out to each other HOLY - HOLY - HOLY. Imagine if we had a service today and all the speaker did for 30 minutes was call that out. I don't know what would happen, but I'd sure like to be there just in case.
By telling any church that hears me what happened to me last Sunday I, by no means hope that they will all simply follow those specific steps to accomplish what I had. Because truly, only one thing on that list is what brought it about. The leader worshipped and the people worshipped with him.
The people are so responsible for what happens in churches today and I think we honestly just don't realize it. One person sees another person worshipping and it moves them a bit deeper into worship, a 3rd person sees two people worshipping and it moves them deeper until more and more are turned towards worship.
I'll gladly raise my hand to be the first person to say "YES it's embarrassing" when you're one of the few and you're moving along at a far faster clip than everyone else. It's right up there with shouting hallelujah during a corporate board meeting. Worse still is that if I did it in the world they'd just think I was eccentric and weird. In the Christian world all too often you might get hit with another type of stick altogether. It's the stick that says "That's disruptive" or says that they're "over doing it for attention", I've even heard it being blamed as someone wanting to take control from the pastor by pulling a Holy Ghost spell that takes over whatever was going on in the service.
Sure those things happen. There is a reason Paul wrote specific verses about their being order in the church and even wrote guidelines about how to handle people speaking in tongues in church.
But for the most part, it's the people who are to blame. Not the leaders, not whether you sing off the wall (but seriously, that is just so handy - if you want to sing a song people don't know, POW it's right there on the wall, start singin') it's not about whether you sing too fast, or too slow. It's about leaders worshipping as people, and people worshipping as leaders.
And I just made that last line up on the fly, and I've got to tell you I think it's catchy.
Regardless, to my song leader friends out there and yes, I'm talking to you both, mother and daughter - I love you more than my own life, and I think you're wonderful leaders, and you have the most beautiful voices. Don't give up. Don't be discouraged. Don't weary yourselves thinking "I need to do better". It's not about trying harder.
I love you.