Welcome to the section on Worship, where you will find relevant information on the many different aspects of worship.
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In Exodus 15 we have the story of God delivering the Israelites from Egypt and the Egyptians by safely bringing them through the Red Sea; Miriam then led the women in dancing and playing tambourines and singing. In 2 Samuel 6 David leaped and danced before the Lord as the ark was returned to its rightful place. In these and other instances in both Old and New Testaments the worship was a natural expression of joy at the goodness, provision, power and love of God; this is how our worship should be.
Worship is not just something that Christians do when they meet together; it is not just the singing of a few hymns and choruses at the start of a service, and the worship leader is not the warm-up man or woman for the main act that is to follow. How many times have we felt that we are struggling to get the congregation to sing, clap or even move their feet slightly at the beginning of the worship time only to eventually feel that we have got there as the final chorus is sung for the last time?
Worship should be the lifestyle of every Christian which then overflows into corporate worship when we meet together as the Body of Christ, ministering to one another in psalms, hymns, spiritual songs, testimonies, etc. In this age where everything from food to entertainment seems to come pre-packaged and ready for our consumption it is all too easy for us as Christians to come to worship and leave it all to 'those at the front.' This is not what God intended for His church. As brothers and sisters in the Lord we are to build one another up and encourage each other. One way in which this can be done is by sharing worship together with each person contributing to the whole.
As worship leaders we must be willing to move away from our prepared list of songs that must be got through at all costs and aim to encourage others in the congregation to participate, either spontaneously or through something they have prepared (the Holy Spirit will work through both). We need to develop a flexibility of approach within ourselves and within the worship team which will give others the freedom and confidence to contribute and, above all, allow the Holy Spirit to move as He wills, using the gifts that have been given to each one.
Some structure is still necessary (God is building His church at a higher level and so scaffolding is needed) but we should be aiming to move into a greater freedom where the scaffolding can be taken away to reveal the full beauty of the united people of God; then our praise and worship will truly glorify His wonderful Name.
author: Mike Forrest
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