Sunday, June 2, 2013

A Few Thoughts On Worship - Part Two

In the first post, I quoted A.W. Tozer as an intro into asking the question, "as worship leaders and worship team members, what are we striving for?" I'll include the original quote here for your convenience.

"Worship is no longer worship when it reflects the culture around us more than the Christ within us."

What I'm getting at here is pretty simple. I have a suspicion that some of us, some of the time, are trying harder to be relevant, to impress humans, than we are to impress God and to point people towards Him. I don't know if Tozer had any problems with the sung worship sounding modern - I don't believe he did - but I assure you I take no issue with that. In fact, I believe that our worship music, in most congregations, needs to sound current (that's a subject for a different post). So, what am I saying then? Well, I'm trying not to say anything. In the tradition of the leaders of the leaderless Emergent Movement (which I do not endorse) I am rather asking the question, again, what are we striving for?

In order to more effectively ask this question I have devised a series of other questions. There's no scorecard or anything, but you'll be able to see where I am going with this as you answer these questions.

Remember, this quiz is concerning your ministry as a worship leader, not your spiritual life in general. I'll start by telling you I didn't do too well... Also, some answers are purely for comedic value.

1) Do you spend more time
a. Praying and studying the Word to align yourself with the Spirit before choosing a set.
b. Searching the CCLI Top 100 in order to stay "now."
c. Working on transitions and artful musical interludes to engineer an emotional response.
b. Choosing an outfit, squeezing into your skinny jeans, and styling your hair to look un-styled.

2) When building a band, what is most important in the musicians/singers? What's least important? 
a. Musical skill
b. Spiritual discipline
c. Stage presence
d. Wardrobe
e. Hair (of course this includes beards!)

3) What percentage of the time during your personal practice and band rehearsal do you spend working on your:
Ad-libbing skills?
Dramatic facial expressions?
Dynamic stances?
Just standing and looking natural in skinny jeans?

4) How often do you do any of the following? 
weekly, monthly, every few months, yearly, almost never, never
a. Thoughtfully and prayerfully choose a set based on the pastor's sermon theme or Scripture
b. Thoughtfully and prayerfully choose a set, but not in relation to the sermon theme or Scripture
c. Choose a set arbitrarily, but being mindful of keys and frequency of new songs
d. Choose a set arbitrarily, not being mindful of keys and frequency of new songs
e. Just straight up copying a set from a past service
f. Rewrite a secular song to be used in your set
d. Cram a secular song into the service somewhere, regardless of lyric content, you know, as a hook for those people that will only get saved if the band at church is cool enough to play a Bruno Mars song right in the middle of the service

5) Why did you get into worship ministry?
a. A leader at church recognized the call of God on your life and/or musical talent, and the rest is history.
b. You learned to play/sing in order to be used of God in worship ministry in response to what you believe is the leading of the Spirit.
c. You just KNEW that you could do a better job than that other guy!
d. You are aiming for KLOVE and you know that the easiest route is on the stage Sunday morning.
e. You want to break into the mainstream music industry but don't want to compromise your morals and play in those icky bars, and coffeehouses just don't have enough space for the kind of audience you want, so you are using the worship ministry to get to KLOVE, and then from there of course you'll do an article in a trendy music magazine about how you don't believe in music that's Christian or secular, because all music can contain spiritual truth, or some crap like that
f. other (please use back of blog to write in your answer)

I hope you had fun with the quiz, but more importantly I really do desire to get us all thinking about some of these little nuances of worship ministry. Are we enjoying our extremely-minimal-local-celebrity-Christian-rock-star status just a little too much at times? If so, there's the strong possibility that we may be compromising in some area or another in order to "reflect the culture around us" while possibly neglecting to ask ourselves if Christ in us is shining out as brightly as possible.

I covet your feedback, and of course those "follow" and  "share" clicks :)
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