Posts Tagged 'Bible'

Worship Philosophy: Empower New Leaders

One of the primary tasks of the Worship Pastor should be to train up other worship leaders. All great leaders multiply themselves. This is done not only through teaching and instruction but also through “life on life” relationships. Many of the most valuable lessons are “caught not taught.” A great worship leader doesn’t only spend time with his worship team in rehearsal, but he pours into their lives.

Leaders are made when they are delegated authority and not simply responsibility. A great leader lets go of control and allows others to have true ownership of the ministry. When a worship leader does everything on his own the ministry is severely limited to what he alone can accomplish. But when he delegates authority to others the potential for growth is limitless.

Jesus practiced this type of ministry, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Mt 28:19-20)

Empower New Leaders is part 2 of a 5 part Philosophy of Worship Ministry series entitled 5 Purposes That are Vital to a Thriving Worship Ministry

Creating an Engaging Corporate Worship Environment

Love the Lord with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind and all your strength.

The Schema

When Jesus speaks these words in the Gospels (Mt 22:37, Mk 12:30, LK 10:27) he is making a statement about worship. He is actually quoting the “Schema” a series of words written in Deuteronomy chapter 6:

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”

(In Hebrew the word “Schema” means “hear” as in “Hear, O Israel.” The first word is used to represent a larger statement in the same way some today might refer to the Lord’s prayer as the “Our Father.” )

The Jews of Jesus’ time took these words seriously. When they woke up in the morning they would repeat the Schema because it said to. When they went to bed at night they would repeat these words again because it said to. They would tie tefillin to their hands and foreheads and nail Mezuzot to their doorframes because it said to. This was part of the spiritual rhythm of each day. The Schema was also recited during services held in the synagogue and the temple. This passage of scripture was an important part of personal and corporate worship life in first century Palestine.

When Jesus quotes the Schema from Deuteronomy 6 the people who heard Jesus speak those words would have understood that he was making a statement about worship.

Worship is multifaceted. It involves heart, soul, mind and strength. Corporate worship that is engaging contains elements that emphasize each of these expressions.

Heart

To the Jews of Jesus’ time heart represented conviction. To worship with all your heart meant that you chose to worship with your volitional will. We see this concept in Psalm 119:30 when it says, ” I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws.” To worship with our hearts means to choose to worship even when we don’t feel like.

Engaging corporate worship provides opportunities to worship willingly through choice and action. People who worship with their heart don’t put God in a box by waiting to worship until “the spirit moves” but rather enter with a worshipful heart expecting God’s presence and worshiping from the start.

Soul

To the Jews of Jesus’ time soul represented emotion. To worship with all your soul meant to give God your all of your emotions and to be emotionally open to the flow of worship. We see this concept in Psalm 31:7 “I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul.” This includes both high and lows – worshiping God with your happiness and joy as well as your sadness and frustration.

Engaging corporate worship moves us to laughter and tears. It invokes anger toward injustice and inspires a feeling of triumph over what it right. People who worship with their soul offer their emotional response to God rather than stifling it.

Mind

To the Jews of Jesus’ time mind represented intellect. To worship with all your mind meant that you were intellectually engaged. We see this concept in Isiah 1:18 “Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” God doesn’t want you to leave your brain at the door, but rather he wants you to analytically think about the Christian faith.

Engaging corporate worship should challenge our false notions, teach us proper doctrine, and give us “something to chew on.” People who worship with their mind seek to deepen their understanding of God’s truth.

Strength

To the Jews of Jesus’ time strength represented the physical body. To worship with all your strength meant that you used your body to physically worship. We see this concept all over the Bible. In the New Testament a Greek word for worship is “proskuneo.” In the Old Testament a Hebrew word for worship is “barak.” Proskuneo and barak both literally mean “To bow down on the floor as before a king.” So even the word “worship” implies physical action.

Engaging corporate worship offers opportunities to respond physically to God’s grace and truth. People who worship God with their strength may use such physical actions as singing, raising hands, folding hands, clapping hands, shaking hands, kneeling, standing, sitting, dancing, shouting, playing instruments, or remaining still and quiet. Even the act of simply walking through the door can be an expression of worship that loves God with “strength.”

In Summary

The phrase “heart, soul, mind and strength” should be understood to mean, “everything that we are.” These four elements aren’t hard and fast rules, but rather they provide a framework to start a proper understanding of worship. Engaging corporate worship seeks to be multifaceted and employs a broad spectrum of response rather than a one-dimensional approach.

Notes

Experiential Worship by Bob Rognlien is an excellent book on the art of creating engaging corporate worship experiences. Many of the concepts here are paraphrases from this book. For some practical ways to implement this philosophy into your worship ministry visit Rognlien’s website: www.experientialworship.com

Creating an Engaging Corporate Worship Environment is part 1 of a 5 part Philosophy of Worship Ministry series entitled 5 Purposes That are Vital to a Thriving Worship Ministry

Hillsong United Lyrics: True or False?

I’ll only ever give my all.

I’ve been trying to wrap my mind around this lyric and it just doesn’t work. I’ve been listening to Hillsong United’s Take It All non-stop for the last week. Musically I love this song, but I’ve been having trouble trying to reconcile the lyrics with what I know to be true about God. Until today, I was reading some blogs and I think I’m a little closer.

Warning: Thinking out loud post ahead. I may be wrong and I reserve the right to change my mind.

Sarah, first pointed it out to me by asking,

Are we really never ashamed of Jesus?

The Hillsong United lyrics “We’ll never be ashamed of You” and “I’ll only ever give my all” don’t seem congruent with non-perfect people. If we were prefect it seems we could sing these lines, but I’ve yet to met a Christian who never made mistake and only ever gave Jesus his all. It seems like at some point even the most authentic Christians give Jesus less than their all.

Bob from In the Clearing writes in Whitmanesque Worship

The reason I need a savior is that I have not loved God with my whole heart. If I say that now I do love him with my whole heart, I needn’t any longer speak of Jesus or long for Him, because in fact I no longer need him.

(ht: Shannon Lewis)

Bob’s argument is that we can’t with a good conscience sing, “I love you Jesus with all my heart” (or possibly even “I’ll only ever give my all.”) because it is a lie.

I disagree with this argument. I think we can sing it truthfully. (Just like the 10 verses of scripture that use “all my heart.”)

God calls us to love him with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength. Essentially to love God will all that we are, not simply our minds, but also our emotions and our actions as well. Worship works the same way. It’s multidimensional. So I worship God not only with my mind, but at times I worship God emotionally, even if it doesn’t make sense to my brain.

For example:

I love my wife. I mean I really love my wife more that I ever imagined I could ever love any other person. She is 15,000 times cooler than I even ever imagined a woman could ever be and I’m desperately, passionately, head-over-heals, crazy in love with her. This emotion is so powerful I don’t have words to describe it but I would definitely tell Sarah,

I love you with all my heart.

Do I mean it? 110% If we’re speaking emotionally. Now, in my actions do I love her with all my heart? Not even, close. I’m a pretty second-rate husband sometimes and I am way fortunate that my wife is so gracious. The the statement is true or false based on your perspective. Emotionally, it’s more than true, in action it is not.

How much more do I love God?

So can I logically worship God with my mind and sing “I’ll only ever give my all” ?

No, I don’t think so. That would be a flat out lie.

But emotionally would that line be a decent attempt to describe the indescribable way I feel about God?

Yeah.

Would it start to express what I want to say to God from the inner depths of my soul?

Yeah.

I believe in a huge God that wants to be worshiped with all of me. He’s big enough to be worshiped by my mind and my emotions. He’s even big enough to accept that worship even if I’m not using my mind and my emotions at the same time. If you’re like me when it comes to matters of emotion you start to use hyperbole. You exaggerate more and more trying to express what you feel. It’s not a lie. You fully mean every word of it and God knows that.

I’ll only ever give my all.

Jesus we’re living for your name and we’ll never be ashamed of you.

In our praise. In all we are today.

Take it all.

I mean those words. At least as much as David meant Psalm 26.

Don’t you?

Wedding as Worship Part 5

When Sarah and I were planning our wedding we decided we wanted the event to be first and foremost a service of corporate worship to God and only a wedding on secondary level.

This is the 5th of 7 sections of video from our wedding on March 11th, 2006 to show what that looked like.

Part 5 – The Bride’s Entrance – Vows:

Billy’s Vows:

SARAH!! I take you to be my wife, confident in my soul that you will be my lifesaving helpmate, true friend and loving companion

Today, in the presence of God, our family, and our friends, I give to you my sacred vow that as your husband and Eve-Marie’s Daddy,

I will always protect you, cherish you, and sacrifice myself to love you as Christ loved the Church

Not only in health but also in sickness,

Throughout our laughter and our tears,

Whether we are blessed with abundance or struggling with want.

I promise to

Love you completely

Giving you my heart, my body and my commitment

And to lead you in the adventure that God ordained for us

As long as we both live.

Sarah’s Vows:

Billy, I take you to be my husband and Eve-Marie’s Daddy, confident in my soul that you will be my faithful protector, true friend and loving companion.

Today, in the presence of God, our family, and our friends, I give to you my sacred vow that as your wife,

I will always help you, respect you, and submit to you as to the Lord–

Not only in health but also in sickness,

Throughout our laughter and our tears,

Whether we are blessed with abundance or struggling with want.

I promise to

Love you completely

Giving you my heart, my body and my commitment

And to join you in the adventure that God ordained for us

As long as we both live.


 

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