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  • Worshipping with ALL of you...

    or performing? And what is the perception of the line between the two?

    Those are the two questions that have been on my mind since last Sunday. A little longer really after a conversation with one of our guitarists but Sunday brought them to the forefront of my mind again. Here's why...when I play, and when I *really* get into it, I start to move...swaying, rocking back and forth and then jumping. This tends to happen especially when I'm playing as part of worship. Personally, I know it's part of how I worship, but what about how others perceive it? Does anyone else struggle....wait. I *know* others struggle with it (the Bible says so). So how do others deal with it? Do you, like my guitarist friend and I try to control it...or do you let it happen and not worry about whether people see you as just "being on-stage?"

    Yes, I am planning on talking to my pastor/worship team leader (they're the same person) about this, but he's been away all week.

  • #2
    It sounds like you've got worship and performing on the wrong sides of the line. To me worship is expression. The Bible lists several forms of worship from falling on your face, to your knees, lifting your hands, standing to your feet, dancing, etc. To me, to hold back what could be your response to God and standing up front and simply playing IS performing.
    The question I would ask is: Are my movements a result of me playing and getting excited that people are watching me? or are they a result of an inward desire needing to be expressed outward?
    There may be people in your congregation who feel exactly the same way as you and would be encouraged by seeing someone passionately worshipping God.
    That's my .02 cents though so take that for what its worth and have that discussion with your pastor.

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    • #3
      Hey,
      I wholeheartedly encourage physical response ... and I think that you DO have to be sensitive to your "environment" and not cross lines (that are usually fairly obvious) that would make you become a distraction.

      If you catch Week 3 of the "Wired for Worship" series that our pastor taught (podcast), I thought our pastor made an awesome quote when speaking to our congregation. He said, "when your personal liberty in worship goes beyond the corporate vision" (or something like that), it can cause problems .. basically, he was saying that we all have lots of personal freedoms in our expressions of worship, but when your personal freedom becomes a distraction to the corporate body at large, it brings more attention on you than on God.

      That being said, I say GO FOR IT. You are the Leader, and you are demonstrating worship.

      But allow me to take this a step further. What if your physical response would be EXACTLY THE SAME if you were playing "secular" music in a club? Is that still OK? I say "YES". (assuming it's in not suggestive of inappropriate!).

      WHy? I think God designed our physical bodies to appreciate music and rhythm. I think we were CREATED to respond to music this way.

      You see, I love to groove, jump, smile, move my head, close my eyes, etc. I would do this regardless of whether or not I was worshiping. Can it be "worship" to God? I think so .. but I would probably be behaving that way if I were playing in a "club band" just as much.

      All that being said - I think it's OK .. I think it's FINE. God created groove - and if "groove" doesn't cause us to "move" ... how good is "groove"? (grin)
      Fred McKinnon, Pianist/Composer/Worship Leader
      blog: www.fredmckinnon.com

      Please check out my piano/instrumental music at:
      www.soundcloud.com/FredMcKinnonMusic
      www.youtube.com/c/FredMcKinnonMusic

      Comment


      • #4
        One of my favorite quotes from Paul Baloche:

        "But, it's important to realize that when we're leading worship we're more like a waiter. It's not our turn to sit down and eat our dinner."

        You can read the worship leader article that it came from.


        I think it has some good things to say about how what we do on stage is sometimes good worship leading and sometimes not.

        Comment


        • #5
          Good article. We teach servant/leadership using the "Table" method that I think comes from one of the sermon series from Ed Young at Fellowship Church.

          At our gatherings we are leading people to a Table, where the Bread of Life and Living Water is. Around this table we'll find 3 chairs.

          1) Those who are not believers.
          2) Those who are new believers, excited and ready to grow.
          3) Those who are maturing believers who are growing, and ready to serve.

          We encourage people as they move from chair to chair, not to get stuck sitting at the chairs, but to eventually learn to push away from the Table and grab a towel and start bring others to the Table, in essence, to become a waiter.

          What happens is people hang out in their "maturing" chairs for too long and it becomes an "I" chair...similar to a high chair. Why is it that so called "maturing" christians tend to act the most immature in our church culture? Because they never push away from the table and serve others.

          Sure we need to be fed. But there comes a point when feeding others becomes just as, or even more, important than serving yourself.

          anyhoo. It's a great visual, and it really helps people focus on becoming true "mature" believers as opposed to immature "mature" believers.

          I think we should be "performing" at our best when it comes to representing Jesus. And by this I don't mean being fake, but being real. Expressing appropriate worship responses and leading others to do so as well.

          I like what one of the previous posters said about it being more performance when we hold back and keep it all in for the sake of "what others might think"...
          Last edited by russhutto; 06-25-2007, 01:59 PM.
          Associate Director of Worship & Media at St. Simons Community Church .He is also the content curator and editor here at The Worship Community.

          Comment


          • #6
            I love to see worship leaders completely free and uninhibited. If you are led by the Spirit and giving the Lord what He wants, then your freedom will inspire and motivate others to worship even more!
            The question on our hearts shouldn't really be "How does it come across to others?" but "What is God wanting from me and from this congregation today?" It really isn't about us, but HIM. Whatever He is longing to see poured forth from our midst should be given to HIM, unreservedly.
            I know that we encourage and edify one another when we sing songs, hymns and spiritual songs, but I think worship primarily is about what the Lord is wanting from us. Worship is really our gift to HIM. If my husband bought me a cordless drill for my birthday, I would not be blessed. But if he got me a dozen pink roses, then I would be thrilled. Let's thrill God and bless HIM!!!!!!!

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Meredith L Curtis View Post
              I love to see worship leaders completely free and uninhibited. If you are led by the Spirit and giving the Lord what He wants, then your freedom will inspire and motivate others to worship even more!
              The question on our hearts shouldn't really be "How does it come across to others?" but "What is God wanting from me and from this congregation today?" It really isn't about us, but HIM. Whatever He is longing to see poured forth from our midst should be given to HIM, unreservedly.
              I know that we encourage and edify one another when we sing songs, hymns and spiritual songs, but I think worship primarily is about what the Lord is wanting from us. Worship is really our gift to HIM. If my husband bought me a cordless drill for my birthday, I would not be blessed. But if he got me a dozen pink roses, then I would be thrilled. Let's thrill God and bless HIM!!!!!!!
              This is totally true! But at the same time, being a lead worshipper/worship leader/worship pastor is more about training and equipping others to do exactly what you said WHILE doing it yourself. If you only come into a corporate gathering and proceed to "dive" into the deepest depths of worship, while leaving everyone else behind, you may might have well just stayed home and "worshiped" in the privacy of your own home.

              Don't get me wrong, I'm all for being a great example of worshiping with abandon, but I believe that means abandoning the cares and worries of the world, the fleeting pleasures of self, and the boundaries of religious obligation, but it doesn't mean abandoning the people you've been given the privilege of serving.

              I've been in many places along this spectrum of being totally "tuned" in and just being a "visual" example of surrender versus trying to "make things happen" in my own efforts and being an example of stubborness.

              I don't really know where I am right now, but I'm not saying that the middle is the place to be. I think I'm striving for somewhere that includes both example and edification in the mix. By that I mean I really want to lose myself in worshiping God and at the same time I want to really help others come to the place where they lose themselves in a time of worship.

              OPINION ALERT:

              I believe it's selfish and wrong (AS A WORSHIP PASTOR) to be in front of people and "worship" God to the neglect of the spiritual needs of those given to serve.

              Just my 2 cents, which sometimes is only 1 cent, but I'm a work in progress.
              Associate Director of Worship & Media at St. Simons Community Church .He is also the content curator and editor here at The Worship Community.

              Comment


              • #8
                Trying to make this MORE clear than murky

                I should have made myself clear-er!: When I talk about being uninhibited, I am not thinking of being lost in personal worship--you always need to be taking people with you where you are going when you are leading worship. I meant being abandoned in what kind of worship the Lord wants as others follow you to that place. Congregational worship is corporate, not personal. If the Lord is leading you to do whatever you are doing as a leader, the people should follow! They may not always follow, but that is between them and God. I don't believe that you should make worship leading the time for personal worship, my point was that you should check with the Holy Spirit to ask what HE is calling forth from the congregation.

                I'm not sure that I explained myself well. Does that make sense?

                Comment


                • #9
                  First, by limiting the definition of worship, or the expression thereof, to the corporate gathering, one will have a tendency to sense a lack of fulfillment in worship. By expanding and broadening your understanding of what worship is in a biblical and theological sense, you will find that true worship is when we serve God and others out of a thankfulness to God for Christ and His work. The use of our spiritual gifts is, broadly speaking, the truest expression of our "worship."

                  This will help free you from the "struggle" of "worship vs performance." Musicians, by nature of what they do, are performers. You will never get away from that. Perform within the context of the ministry you are in -- understanding this will take many different forms.

                  Because I regularly lead worship in a variety of settings, with different groups of people, I must be aware of the context of each service. If this were my only expression of "worship" I could easily become discouraged, or trapped, by other people's sensibilities. Because my understanding of worship is much broader, I am able to serve those I lead with both passion and integrity -- helping them find comfort in what they know, and sometimes leading them to places they need to know.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Corporate worship should NEVER be our only expression of worship. Private worship times overflow and give our worship leading integrity.

                    We can speak of worship in a general sense---our entire life being an act of worship....or in a specific sense---defining worship as setting aside time only or with others to honor, glorify, exalt Jesus with words, songs, music, movement, etc in order to express devotion, adoration, and affection.

                    If we talk specifically about worship in a corporate setting, the kind of worship that should take place should be up to the Holy Spirit and confirmed by leadership, not focused on what we think people think or feel.

                    It is a difficult tension to stay focused on God, the music, and the people you are leading into the Presence of God. Certain ways of worship are not always appropriate, but not because of how they make people feel or not feel; but because of what the HOLY SPIRIT wants or doesn't want.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Mmmm good stuff here. Tough line to walk you've got a big God and a room full of people and your own desires, opinions, ego, preferences, etc. I try and I'll stress 'try' because it's hard but I try to ask what will please the Father. I think I'm already in a congregation where my leading style and expression fits with the congregation so I'm comfortable and confident in what I'm doing up there is appropriate in the setting I'm in. However, that being said, I am much freer and expressive that evening at our Youth Service so I suppose there is some context there but in each of the settings I think we have to ask oursevles if God was pleased/honored by what we've done. I think we need to ask the congregation to ask that question.
                      Obviously I'm a Passion head b/c this is the big thing happening trying to breatk the consumer mentality of worship. Sometimes things aren't going to be comfortable. There's a sacrifice in worship. Its not entertainment value before the sermon.
                      Obviously, God doesn't want you to offend and disturb your entire congregation which is why there's that line there. Which is why we have a weekly Worship Planning Meeting to discuss all elements of our service. It's a constant discussion where each answer may be different depending on your church in your area for your congregation.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        nice post...we do wosrhip planning as well. I think this essential because things change constantly

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