Although I am a pastoral ministries student, I found taking a Worship Leadership class to be essential, in spite of where my personal musical talents may lie. What I particularly found most useful was learning about the pastoral (shepherding) heart of a worship leader/pastor. Related to this, I also found the worship leader/church pastor relationship to be of interest (more on this in later posts).
Throughout the next few weeks, I’ll be posting what I have found to be the ‘top ten’ most important aspects of worship and worship leadership that I have learned.
1. The main business of the church is her worship; everything else is secondary.
All aspects of a church are important, from the preaching and evangelism to the mopping of the floor and repaving of the parking lot. But if a church’s main goal is not to worship the Lord, then everything else is in vain. Worship is more than just one particular activity that eats up roughly a quarter-to-half of the Sunday morning service. Worship is the church’s lifestyle. In all things, the church must be in a constant state of worship—when there’s preaching and evangelizing; when its floors get mopped and its parking lot gets paved—they should all be done with an attitude of worship.
2. There is a difference between Praise and Worship? Why didn’t anyone tell me that !
Sure, we’ve all heard the phrase ‘praise and worship,’ but the phrase is often used as if the two words are synonymous. They’re not. This brings a greater perspective on what it truly means to worship. Praise is to thank God for what He has done, but Worship is to glorify God for who He is. This is a much harder task and more difficult concept at times; because we as humans tend to more easily focus on thanking God for what He has done (more on this later). It can be easy to stop and ask, “But who is He apart from that?”
God is God. He is Holy. He is all knowing, all powerful. God is love. The Prince of Peace…reflecting on these aspects of God brings us closer to Him, and He closer to us.
3. The Fatal Flaw of Familiarity.
As a pastoral ministries student, the correlation of the two stories of Uzzah (2 Sam. 6) and Esther in relation to the fear of the Lord was an eye opener, and certainly a topic for a sermon someday. I had not fully understood why Uzzah was struck dead for basically (what I saw) doing God a favor. He was trying to honor God, it seemed, and God struck Uzzah dead—that’s an odd way to thank a guy. But, Uzzah’s death came to him as a punishment for not properly (fearfully, in reverence) worshipping God Almighty and understanding the holiness of something Uzzah must have become fatally familiar with—the Ark of the Covenant: God’s personal throne.
Esther, who had the opportunity to become familiar with her husband, an earthly king, still showed fear and reverence. Admittedly, it might have been easier for Esther to be reminded of the consequences of her actions, and therefore might have been more easily prepared for what she needed to do. But this point can be argued considering the history of God’s involvement with the Israelites. At any rate, Esther knew that her timing, her appearance and her reverence brought her acceptance and favor. We should be reminded not to take God for granted. He is holy. We are not.