Revelation and Response

I stole this title from a chapter by Matt Redman in his book The Heart of Worship Files. He says some really interesting stuff which I’ve been thinking about more and more lately.

Essentially, worship is a response to God. That being said, the response has to start with a revelation of God. I noticed that practically at O2 this week. We had Dallas Miller come and share about Justice (check out the sermon here) and people sang way more after the message than they did before.

I (and probably every other worship leader out there) have struggled with how to get people to engage with worship. I’ve questioned if I need to pick simpler/more well known songs, change keys, be less flashy, be quieter, be louder, give more verbal cues… just about anything to get people to engage. Truth be told, people will engage with God when they see God, and that’s where I have to live as a worship leader. I need to be constantly pointing people back to God – His word and His truth. Songs can be both revelation and response – music is one of the best teaching tools out there – but so often people need a transition between the busyness of life and corporate worship singing. I want to continue to challenge people to see God in new ways before responding to Him.

The other big thing that I’ve been challenged with is how to know if I’ve served people well as a lead worshipper. So often I feel more useful when I see tangable response (using the ‘clap-o-meter’ as Redman says) than when I’m leading a room full of people who are anywhere between singing moderately and staring blankly. I’m reminded  that I often engage with God in the time after a worship service after I’ve sung and heard the message and when I have the time to reflect upon those truths in my life.

Part of it is cultural. Right now, I seem to live (and lead worship) in a culture that’s not very physically expressive… or even verbally expressive. They sing well, but often they don’t look like they believe it (from what I can see and what I’ve heard expressed from others leading worship). As a leader I have a responsability to guide and change that culture, granting that change in culture is a healthy biblical thing. That takes time and determination. Sometimes I wish I could see instant change in people, that people would throw their hands up in the air and surrender everything to God in a physical way. I need to learn to accept the way that God works (often slowly) and yet be constantly trying to reveal more of God to people as I lead so that they might know what to respond to. It’s a fine line that I think I’ll be wandering back and forth on for the rest of my life.