This post is a continuation of a series that started HERE.
Ok, so if the Performance Machine is a no-go for worship bands, what is the alternative?
When I was younger (before the beard was grey) and a brand new Christian, my first worship pastor sort of took me under his wing and mentored me. I’ll be forever grateful to God for pairing me with this fella, because I was a real mess (much more of a mess than I knew) and my worship pastor, who probably noticed more of my issues than I did, was very patient in his approach with me.
One very well-remembered mentoring moment was when a small team of musicians was getting ready to lead worship for a service at a church that wasn’t our own. Our worship pastor was talking to us before the service. The conversation went like this:
Worship Pastor: “Everyone on this team is a worship leader.”
Younger Eddie: “Um… I play the saxophone. How do I lead worship?”
Worship Pastor: “Just worship. Our job is to model worship.”
That was a simple set of words he spoke, but it was a break-through moment for me. If what this guy told me is true (and can we really doubt that it is?), it has some profound impacts on the goals we set for ourselves and the tactical decisions we would make in preparing for and participating in a worship service. What this means is that my role is not to provide the best musical performance that I can. It means that my role is to use the musical gifts I’ve been given to worship Jesus. Sound obvious? Sure, it sounds obvious, but if we aren’t intentional about lining up our personal priorities with this rather obvious idea, we’re going to be a bunch of musical performers pretending to worship. What are we modelling then?
To take this just a step further, we’re not just to model the “Jesus and me” notion of worship. We’re to model corporate worship, which means many people engaging in the same worship activity. This implies relationship, which we know implies love. So now if we can avoid using this lofty language to ice our performance machine cake and realize that it is our role as worship team members to bring something more awesome to a worship service than awesome music, we may be about to discover the worship team’s better alternative.
That sound you’ve just heard in your mind may be the performance machine grinding to a halt.
The next post or so will define corporate worship. It’ll be fun, but what do you think of all this so far?