Photo (c) Emerald Rose Photography used with permission
A few comments over this past week triggered a new post here regarding worship and the company that you worship with. Let’s differentiate between worshiping with someone and worshiping before a group for the purpose of evangelism or ministering in worship to a congregation.
I worship -with- my church family, in my home with my children and other family members, at a home group with friends, anywhere I happen to be called to worship with banners, and at gatherings for prayer etcetera.
I worship -before- a group of mixed faiths and new believers to demonstrate the beauty of free worship, anywhere I happen to be called to worship with banners and to invite others to enter into banner worship and experience first hand the peace of the Presence.
I minister in worship by invitation only. This position requires intercession because it has been prearranged that I will come and bring something the Lord has given me, as well as walking through prophetic acts so the Lord will do what He wants to do in that place. This is also part of my calling at my own church since I have been given invitation to minister as I am led for the congregation though I prefer to stay at the back where the worship is more intimate.
Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. John 4:22-24
Who I worship with IS important because if I am filled with the Holy Spirit and seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit in my life and especially my worship, to worship with others who are also seeking that leading creates a mirror effect. If you have one candle and put it next to a mirror, the reflection will be the light of two candles. We reflect eachothers light. If you have ten candles and a mirror for each, the light in the room multiplies exponentially. Some people have really big mirrors (magnifying mirrors if you will) and others have really big flames, some people are bonfires!!! These people are instigators of an encounter. They seek to invite the Lord to meet them. (He always responds!) They set an atmosphere to woo Him.
Others (many don’t know it) aren’t actively wooing Him in worship. They go to church and expect the atmosphere to be set and for others to facilitate that atmosphere and encounter. They will go along for the ride and enjoy the same encounter but not really magnify the Lord. They aren’t really doing anything the make His presence greater. I have no condemnation for that. This is a season for many, and as we learn and grow, growing out of passive worship is an important step in our faith. I am not saying that everyone should flag all the time. We need those who facilitate as musicians, singers, dancers, hand wavers, ushers, child care workers and more. We even need those who simply receive! But not all the time.
If you are like me, then you come out of a ‘good’ worship service exhilarated, encouraged and wanting more! Usually these are the services where the Spirit has moved so strongly even the usually passive worshipers are drawn out of their seats and the presence is almost tangible. I love that! On the flip side is the worship time where it feels as though everyone is a cup of coffee short of starting the day. There isn’t really a point where the songs lift off of the ground and people engage.
I feel as though part of this is song selection itself. Jeremy Riddle said something along the lines of there being types of worship songs and times to use specific categories of worship songs, tho it is a delicate balance to set an atmosphere with music without being manipulative. Usually a modern worship session starts with something loud and fast to wake people up and gently slows down to soothing worship.
Call to worship type of songs ‘Come let us worship and bow down’ point the congregation toward worship. Declaring Praise, to tell the Lord as well as our own spirits of the goodness and power of God ‘You are Holy’. Warfare songs declare victory and kick the enemy’s butt like “The Battle Belongs to the Lord”. Gratitude songs give thanks to God for what He has done. Community songs also declare unity and fellowship “We Are One”. Invitational Songs ‘Holy Spirit Come’ invite the presence. Intimate songs dialogue with God “My Soul Longs for You” and woo Him. Those are my favorites. all of these types of songs are good, and are part of a balanced song selection tho not all sessions require all types, none is complete with just one type. (Some songs are mixed categorically.) Some songs sing to the congregation, some to creation, some to the Lord.
Another part is the responsiveness of the worship leader to the Holy Spirit in the moment. If a leader sticks to a set list and plays each verse and chorus then finishes with 2-3 rounds of the chorus before moving into the next song because of the time limits, then often an opportunity can be lost. If in the moment the congregation is caught up in a movement of the Presence, the wholly Spirit led worship leader simply cannot break away from the sweetness of that song, those lyrics or a Selah, a spontaneous lyric or musical progression.
So what is the part of the individual? That is the heart of the matter, your heart in fact. Seek to encounter God in worship, be responsive to the leading of the Holy Spirit and worship with others who do the same! Yay for fellowship and unity of the Body of Christ!
Psalm 35:27 Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favor my righteous cause: yes, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified…
Psalm 40:16 Let all those that seek you rejoice and be glad in you: let such as love your salvation say continually, The LORD be magnified.
Psalm 69:30 I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.
Luke 1:46 And Mary said, My soul does magnify the Lord,