There is certainly a place for the worship team to sing a song to the congregation, where the congregation is expected to participate by listening …
But for the vast majority of worship leaders out there, our heart beats with the command from the scriptures such as Psalm 150:6 “Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD.” or Psalm 100:1-2 which says “Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.”
We want to see the entire congregation fully involved in worship, communicating their love of God with all of their heart, soul, mind and strength. There are many blessings that we receive when we do this, but the primary reason we praise God is not in order to get blessing, but because HE ALONE IS WORTHY!
What would it look like if people were fully engaged?
Would we even notice? How would be be able to tell? Only God can see the heart and sometimes people who look like they aren’t engaged — are actually quite engaged… we just can’t see it. And there is quite a variety in personality and physical expression as well. Some are just naturally stoic and reserved, not just in church, but in all of life … and others jump up and down and scream if they win a free soft drink at a restaurant. And finally, we all know that some are really good at playing the game … full of outward praise in church and yet their lives don’t show it the rest of the week.
Still… those can all be cop outs to the issue of really dealing with the question of engagement. We can all agree, that as a general rule, if people are sincerely, passionately engaged in real worship, not only willl their behavior during the week change, but their participation in worshipping through music will grow as they engage in communication with the one truly living God, worshipping him with at least their mouths, singing along … and ideally their facial expressions and rest of their bodies too.
How then? What are some practical things we can do to encourage people to engage in worship through congregational singing?
Start with Prayer!
The first step is understanding that God truly desires that kind of passionate interaction from his children “But the time is coming–indeed it’s here now–when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way.” John 4:23 (NLT)
Well, if this falls in His will, then surely we should be praying for His will to be done!
Father, in heaven, may your name be honored. In all of our lives, including our singing!
True worship comes from an encounter with the Three-in-One True Living God … and God responds to prayer.
” The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” James 5:16b
“If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.”
“Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.” Matthew 18:19
Action Step: Spend some time in personal prayer, as well as with your worship team, asking God to reveal to you what HE wants from the worship time, what success would look like in His eyes! For our worship team it was helpful to break up into small groups and go out in the pews and pray for the people that will be coming and ask God to do what only He can do: meet us and cause us to worship … and ask Him to reveal to us the things that we can do!
Have you ever spent time as a team praying for the congregation and asking God for His insights in how to help people express their love to Him?
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