When building a ministry, developing a dynamic worship culture can be challenging. From constructing ensembles to integrating musicians into leadership roles, no question, the ‘how to’ on facilitating ignitable liturgy is worth discussion.
Granted, I’m more of a ‘leader of worship’ than a worship leader. Still, as a youth pastor going on his sixth year, I do know a thing or two on fostering the merger between passion and power.
With that said, here are three points learned through trial and error that can take your worship culture to the next level.
1. Extend the invitation.
Regardless of where you are on the worship leading spectrum, we can agree the objective of our reverence is to encounter Jesus. But perhaps you’ve wondered how to sing about history-makers and planet-shakers in a way that convinces your audience they can be. If so, I submit there is a way to journey yourself and your audience to those deeper places of intimate belief together.
But Cam! What if the worship atmosphere grows stale?
To be honest, there’s not a one-size-fit-all solution; however, in my experience, whenever I sense a disconnected audience, my default is to exhort a reminder as to why they’re worshiping. For starters, people often approach the throne room with distracted hearts. So by offering those hearts an invitation to dig deeper (i.e. stand up, lift hands, close eyes, etc.), I broaden the engagement potential of the room. Of course, this doesn’t mean everyone will accept; however, by laying foundation for next level intimacy, I can carry on knowing I’ve done my part in inspiring surrender.
Bottom line: When in doubt, your role is to extend direction as the Spirit leads. Once you give what needs to be given, God will take it from there.
2. Prune your routines.
Over the years, I’ve found “rotation” (a framework term intended to preserve a liturgy’s freshness) to be one of the most commonly used words in worship circles. The problem with rotation, however, is that it often attracts routine which can hinder a worship culture if left unattended.
Thus, it’s crucial we’re attentive to unpruned routines (whether they involve default rehearsal times, visual aesthetics, pre-service flows, etc.) that can lead to over-reliance on external details over an inner reliance on the Holy Spirit.
Yes, musical discipline and organization are key ingredients to effective worship; however, if we’re forgetting to pray before practices and services, if we’re not proactive in stewarding community with team members and congregants, then we risk tolerating our motions over God’s movement.
Bottom line: Before you get too attached to certain set lists and setups, make sure you’re constantly carving out room for the Spirit to breathe his gameplan into you.
3. Utilize your prophetic embouchure.
Being a Nashvillian, I’ve been around musicians all my life and while I can’t speak for everyone, I’ve noticed they tend to identify their value, in large part, with what they can do instrumentally; however, as discussed in last year’s devotion, since we were all created to worship, then the emphasis should be on who we are rather than what we do.
Still, for many worship leaders and musicians, the temptation is to limit identity to ability and overlook prophetic potential. Why this is…I’m not completely sure. What I am sure is while we may not all be prophets in a five-fold ministry sense, that doesn’t mean we lack a prophetic mouthpiece (see 1 Corinthians 14:1-5). Contrarily, as part of our original design to worship, we were also made to prophetically pour out.
So when it comes to facilitating engaging worship cultures, I believe it’s imperative for “spotlight leaders” to not only utilize platform opportunities to speak prophetically, but to also anticipate them in quiet times behind the scenes.
Bottom line: If we truly want to see our worship culture transform where people engage the power and presence of God in a deeper way, then we must be willing to engage it in the closet space of our heart.
Stay tuned next time when we’ll unpack these points in greater measure, specifically knowing when and how to speak prophetically from a liturgical and bivocational perspective.
Photo creds: Pinterest