“Sing spiritually – have an eye to God in every word you sing. Aim at pleasing Him more than yourself, or any other creature. In order to attend strictly to the sense of what you sing, and see that your heart is not carried away with the sound, but offered to God continually; so shall your singing be such as the Lord will approve here, and reward when he cometh in the clouds of heaven.” – John Wesley, 1761
In the Select Hymns with Tunes Annext hymn book, John Wesley a set of seven guidelines for congregational singing. One of those is the quote above.
The lesson to be learned here is: we don’t do this for us. It’s for GOD.
As a worship leader that represents God, He wants us to help others to put Him first and foremost in their offerings of worship as well. Before we rehearse and before a service we should always make time to turn our hearts and minds to God.
Asking Him to help us move past our problems and shortcomings, we can posture ourselves in such a place that people can clearly see God in us. Remember it’s not about how tight the arrangement is, how much shred the guitar solo has, or how much vibrato the lead vocalist uses.
Ultimately, it’s all about turning our eyes (and helping others to do the same) to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We should never forget that the primary purpose of worship is honoring God.
It is actually possible to be so wrapped up in the way the music moves us, or how the arrangement isn’t our preference, or how talented the performers are, that we lose sight of the reality of the situation: WORSHIP isn’t for us. Let us turn our eye to God in everything we sing or play!
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Russ Hutto is the Associate Director of Worship & Media at St. Simons Community Church, where he mentors, oversees and helps lead Family and Student worship environments. He is also the content curator and editor here at The Worship Community and at HighestPraise.com.