When talking about what elements are crucial in church services, programs, and ministries it’s very easy to leave out the most important. We love to talk about technology and media. We ooh and ah over equipment and facility. We place high priority on method and even message.
Honestly, we should enjoy implementing all of that “stuff” into our church culture. But one thing that we should never overlook is people. People are crucial in the life and impact of your church.
As worship leaders, one way that we can create a culture of crucial is to always be aware of CONNECTION. It’s important to connect with God and to connect with people. In fact, I think most of us get that basic function of the church: love God and love people.
But let’s get down to the nitty gritty. How often do we think about creating worship spaces that exist solely to help our people connect with God and with others. Oh, I’m sure that we acknowledge that’s what we’re doing every time we strap our acoustic guitar on and lead the latest Tomlin tune, but how often do we pray and strategize to really create a connection there?
Worship leaders and pastors, never forget this line of thinking. People need to be trained and equipped not only to do the work of ministry but also to minister themselves. They need encouragement and challenge. We are supposed to be pastoring people. I’ve always thought to myself how exactly do I pastor people when my preferred skill set includes transposing on the fly, strumming a Cadd9, or laying down a nice string pad.
The answer doesn’t lie in the music, it lies in the people. Each person that comes to “sing and worship” with you during your gatherings is a living, breathing stone that God has built into His building, His worship space. They are necessary and vital to corporate worship.
I can hear you thinking, “What? Even the old guy who crosses his arms and frowns at me the entire set?”
Absolutely! I think people need to hear from the worship leader’s mouth that they are valuable and are crucial to what’s going on there in that gathering. We need to do our best to connect people to the “flow” of worship. And honestly, this isn’t going to happen through a brief “mini-sermon” between songs.
We need to do two primary things to make this connection.
- Teach our team members (by example) that we are not the “elite” of the church. We are not the cool crowd because we have guitars and wireless mics. We are not the ministry upperclassmen. We do that by rehearsing what we need to rehearse and building time between the end of the rehearsal and before the beginning of the gathering. This empty space is time that we mingle at the lobby area. We are not official greeters, but I encourage our team members to help the greeters and to at least introduce themselves to one new face that morning. On top of that I ask them to try and initiate meaningful conversations with people that they have met before. There’s nothing better than coming to a new church for the first time, talking to a guy who welcomes you warmly, and then when the music starts realizing that that guy up front is the one who welcomed you that day. It creates instant connection.
- Talk TO your people. Don’t preach at them. Don’t talk to them as one large multitude of nameless people. As you, and your team, get to know people and introduce yourself to them you’ll see people as individuals coming together to worship corporately…not just a crowd.
Now, I know it is entirely impractical to think that we could know every single person in our churches. I’m not suggesting that you try. But I know that if you implement these two simple suggestions you’ll begin to see worship times as so much more than a “corporate worship time” – you’ll begin to see the individual faces, stories, and lives that make up this unified chorus of many voices connecting in worship to our God.
And as you begin to make connections with individuals, you’ll be speaking volumes to their individual worth as a part of the whole. People are crucial. Without them we wouldn’t have corporate worship.