From the time I returned from Canada, there has been a lot of restructuring and reorganising in our church leadership and work culture based on the inspiration received from Pastor Shyju and Emmanuel Church at Montreal, and I have been absolutely enjoying the conversations as we try to brainstorm for ideas and strategies to enrich and upgrade the teams.
As a church responsible for cultivating worshippers who need to learn and understand true and genuine worship, in the last meeting with the worship team, I shared a few key principles on my expectation from them as their pastor, that I felt could be beneficial if shared here.
1. Worship starts at your home!
The church today is filled with are far too many professional worship leaders, who wouldn’t be able to “worship” until and unless they have a microphone, a great sound system and a responsive audience!
Can you imagine how much of a change the worship in church will experience if every one in the worship team have been spending quality time worshipping Jesus in secret before attempting to do so in public?
Don’t manufacture songs and worship on a sunday morning on the stage. What you serve on the stage on a Sunday morning has to be first offered to God in your private worship. Please note that I’m not talking about worship rehearsal, I am talking about worship itself!
2. Select your songs and lyrics wisely
If you have been in private worship through the week, it will automatically reflect in the songs that you select to sing for the Sunday morning. Additionally, its necessary to be very sensitive to the heart of God for the church, the season that the church is in, and even the sermons that are being preached at church while selecting the songs.
Don’t just look for melodious songs. Look for songs that will cause people to fall in love with Jesus afresh. I have often told my team to not repeat some songs every weekend just because people loved it and God moved during that song. We need to learn how to hear the heartbeat of God for our church now.
His mercies are always new every morning. Ask him also for fresh lyrics and new songs that you could sing to God every weekend that would be your own song. You will never have a day in your life when you won’t have a fresh reason to praise and worship God for.
3. Equip Yourself & Your team
Here’s something interesting to remember. Your anointing cannot replace your need for hard work. Sometimes we take it for granted that we have God with us and that’s all we need. That’s true, in a way. However, the worship that you offer is for God. And God deserves and demands excellence.
We wouldn’t care to give anything less than the best for our employers, for our families and even for our friends. But when it comes to the church, when it comes to offering something to God, we are OK with mediocre or even inferior standards for music, voice quality, stage presence, band cohesiveness etc.
You may think that you are not naturally gifted or talented with music or a great voice. That’s not a big problem. You can learn it. You can get mentored. You can equip yourself and your team. This takes hard work, submission and consistent desire to grow. If you’re willing to learn, God will bring the resources required to help you with the same.
4. Pray for the church
We just made it mandatory for the members of our worship team to be at the weekly prayer services we have for church before they come on stage to minister in worship. So many times, we think that worship and prayer is the same. It is not. Worship causes you to fall in love with God, prayer helps you to fan into flames that love for God.
So it’s necessary for you to pray for your church and break every spiritual barrier there is to falling in love with Jesus before actually trying to invite people into a place of intimacy with God during corporate worship. If you’re not willing to spend time praying for your church, you’re not yet ready to lead the church in the area of worship.
It’s not only the preachers who’ve got to pray for the church before they preach, even the worship leaders need to follow suit.
5. Be present and sensitive on the stage
As a worship leader who is genuinely passionate about God, and having selected the songs carefully, and worked, prayed hard towards the weekend service, it’s pretty possible that you would be totally lost in worship when on the stage.
As much as these are needed, it’s also necessary to be sensitive to your pastor, your church audience, other worship leaders and the musicians when on the stage.
Please don’t overshoot your allotted time, unless you really see that God is taking over the service and you have your pastor’s permission to do so.
When you are sensitive to God and also to the church while leading worship, you will be able to maintain equilibrium in your effort to take an entire congregation into the throne room of God.
My desire, hope and prayer is that God will cause our churches to move into a place of passionate yet purposeful celebration of God’s love week after week.