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The Heart of Worship

Most of you know the faces of those leading the con- gregation in worship each week. You’ve seen us ev-ery week playing music, singing songs, and encouraging the congregation to join with us. What most don’t get to see is each of our hearts for worship - why we do what we do. Each of us try to make it a point to go out and connect with people in the congregation before we lead services each week, but we’re not always able to do that, or to even talk with as many people as we’d like. Part of this is due to the fact that a lot of what our worship leaders do is behind the scenes - practicing, preparing, setting up, and tearing down the stage. So, those conversations and these newsletter articles are intended to be ways to help the congregation better connect with those leading them each week and better understand our heart for worship.

Worship music today, especially contemporary music, has gotten a bad rap as being a “concert” or is only focused on the people on stage. The sad reality though is that this can be true of any service in the global Church, regardless of the style of music used. But as Louie Giglio has said, “We are not offering a show; we’re holding out a Savior.” The great thing about leading alongside the volunteers in our church every week is that I get to see the heart each of them have for worship. They don’t give up hours of their week, or opportunities to spend time in worship with their families, just so they can show off their talents or show people how great of a singer/musician they are. They do all of that - sacrifice their time, talents and energy - to point people to our Savior Jesus. They’ve seen the power of His grace and love in their lives and want others to experience it just the same.

So Louie’s quote gets right to the point: the heart of those leading our church in worship is to point people to Jesus and help them take steps in their relationship with Him. Leading others in worship is itself an act of worship. A worship leader is using music and lyrics to point people to Jesus.

Those songs we play, the melodies we use, and the lyrics we sing are all a vehicle used to point people to Jesus.

There is no person, no song, no riff that will ever be more important than that.

At the sametime, we do ab- solutely try tosing and play tothe absolute best

of our abilities. Scripture talks about doing work for the Lord and leading with excellence. Psalm 33:3 says, “Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully with a shout of joy.” We’ve all been in services where the leaders have struggled and their lack of preparation made for an incredibly distracting “worship” experience - if you want to even call it that. Often in those cases, not much genuine worship takes place because people are focused on the distractions or mistakes, rather than the glory of the Savior. John Piper has said about church leaders that “we will try to sing and play and preach in such a way that people’s attention will not be divert-ed from the substance by shoddy ministry or excessive finesse, elegance, or refine-ment. Natural, undistracting excellence will let the truth and beauty of God shine through.” That’s the heart in leading worship - to do everything with excellence so that people are led to experience the excellence and beauty of God in a fresh and powerful way. When that happens, worship happens and lives are changed.


Trent Barnett | Worship and College Minister

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