When building a youth ministry, facilitating a dynamic worship culture can be a challenging, if not, grinding experience. From constructing ensembles to developing musicians, the road to ignitable liturgy is often far from ‘yellow brick’.
Thankfully, whether you’re a worship leader or a ‘leader of worship’, there’s always a way we can elevate our worship culture. Granted, starting points will vary; for now, let’s focus on three of the most applicative and go from there…
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” to be one of the most used and abused words in worship circles. While the model as a function of opportunity is constructive, to be effective it must also guard against the pride of ‘program’.
Hence, as youth and/or worship leaders, it’s critical we tend our unpruned routines (i.e. rehearsal times, visual aesthetics, service flows, team habits, etc.) capable of hindering full dependence 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.
As a Nashvillian, I’ve been around musicians and their tendency to identify value on ability all my life; however, as discussed in last year’s devotion, our identity, value, and call to worship center on having been made by God and being more like Christ.
Unfortunately, for many worship leaders and musicians, the bent to limit identity to ability and overlook prophetic potential is ever lurking. 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