Everyone comes to worship with their own level of comfort, experience and judgement. A guest in worship will often look around the room of a new church, take it all in and ultimately decide, “Are these people like me?” and “Do these people like me?” It speaks to the importance of a friendly congregation – friendly to guests, that is – and to the hospitality or guest services team who lead the way in making sure no one falls through the cracks.
But it also speaks to the witness of the congregation. When the congregation has a heart for God, the power of the spirit works through each member to help witness to others in that same space. It’s a powerful truth: “where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” (Matthew 18:20)
This is part of why it’s important to teach and equip your church to worship. Adding some training to the worship flow will open the doors to your congregation responding in new ways. In time, this will impact others who become part of your church, including the next generation who will be raised up in the church and will (very) soon be the adults in worship.
Of course, people will respond any way the Lord leads, and that doesn’t always translate to outward energy, action or fanfare. Worship is always about the heart. But scripture does teach that as our hearts overflow, we respond – with singing, dancing, praising and action. You can read more about that here.
I was recently reading Pslam 66 and this concept struck me once again – we need to do more than model (though, that’s a huge percentage of how this is done); we need to speak it out and teach worship.
Are you ready? Here’s some of what we can teach straight from Psalm 66
Direct From God’s Holy Book
Our encouragement to teach worship isn’t to always insert our own thoughts, but to take God’s word and allow it to form us. It’s common knowledge that many of the Psalms were songs. It’s part of the poetry section of the Bible. They include desperate prayers, poetry and amazing declarations and praises. It doesn’t leave out the lows in life, but somehow supernaturally encapsulates some serious stuff going on in the hearts of people and turns it around to point to God, his glory and grace. It’s a bit of what worship is like – a whole bunch of people who show up to a church service. They are coming from different backgrounds and situations in life. They are coming with various burdens in their lives and hearts, and at the same time, coming with joy and thanksgiving. The Psalms sum up the gathered church – a mixed bag of desires, passion, and humanity seeking to put God first in all of life.
For The Director Of Music
Like many of the Psalms, the heading says, “For The Director Of Music…” (NIV). The heading itself implies that the worship leader can utilize the Psalms as a tool for raising up the heart of worship in their congregation and in themselves. This quick heading to this chapter of Psalms gives some authority to the worship leader to speak out, develop and teach the congregation. The worship leader should always strive to support and partner with the senior pastor, so leadership, though a huge part of the ministry, should be done humbly, in connection with other senior leadership. Take up your mantle as the music director in your church and help people learn to worship.
Shout Joyful Praises to God
This is the first invitation from Psalm 66 – to shout joyful praises to God. In some settings, shouts of praise are common place. I’ve also been in plenty of churches where clapping barely happens. Again, worship is about the heart, but when most people get excited about something, they cheer – to some degree or another. Saying Amen, Clapping, Letting out a “Whoo” can all be joyful praise to God! The definition of shout is to “utter a cry or call typically with strong emotion.” Teach your church that it’s ok to say, “Thank you, Lord!” and “Praise the Lord!” both in worship and as we worship each day with our lives. Think of a shout more like responding to good news than yelling! How can you help your people respond?
Sing About The Glory Of His Name
The main goal for any worship team is to help the church sing. We want the worshipping congregation to sing loudly and robustly – because we’re singing of the greatest thing in the world! We’re singing for the glory of his name! You can help your church do this, but encouraging singing, by making sure you always have a least some really familiar songs in the mix and stopping the instrumentation now and then to let the voice of the church be heard well. This may be one of the easiest to teach – so start here.
Listen To Podcast Episode #85:
Say To God…
Verse three of Psalm 66 is what really caught my attention and was the springboard for this blog post. The verse says, “Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!” It’s a very concrete example of what to teach and how to teach it. As an example, you’re singing along, transitioning from one song to another and you may invite your church with this one scripture sentence: “Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!” And you can add other things here, too. Say to God, I’m yours today! Say to God, I trust you. Say to God, Thank you! The possibilities are endless, but it gives the opportunity for each person to worship personally. Maybe the first time you try this out, if you haven’t before, is to be playing music over the invitation. Maybe it’s a song intro or a bridge between two songs. During that time, speak aloud that one scripture sentence and let people respond as they feel led. You’re teaching people to worship – which includes music, but is much more than that alone. They can worship speaking praise to God, talking directly to him in prayer and worship.
Come And See, Come And Listen…
The gospel is about experiencing Christ at work in our lives. You can hear about it, but at some point, you have to just go and see where Jesus leads. Jesus even uses the, “come and see” phrase as he invited people in. In worship, we can invite people on a journey with a focus on Jesus. The music, the production, the artistry, the flow and the components are only vehicles and should all point toward Jesus and his invitation to respond to his great love!
Praise Our God, Everyone!
I like this call in verse eight. Though a decision to follow Jesus has to be individual, it’s also corporate. Let’s praise OUR God together. The church is bound together as believers, disciples and children of the one true God and we have the privilage of praising his holy name! When a church is taught to praise and worship God together, they become a powerful witness to the rest of the world!
And as we say these things, people learn it means to worship.
Our teaching can be part of the flow in worship or it can be a segment that stands alone. You can literally just stop the music for a moment and share a little bit of what it means to worship, then flow into the next song or component. Two minutes of teaching and training here and there more consistently over time may even be better than a day long seminar once a year. Both are probably good to do, but the little bit stacked on little bit will have extreme staying power.
So, what are some of these things you want to teach your people?
Praying for you as you continue to lead your church and lift up the name of Jesus!