You are probably thinking, “With your normal content creation, what…is…up with this post title?” Well, the truth is I heard these throwback lyrics in a box store this morning, a store I was only in for a few minutes, and I cannot shake them. I keep humming them, while of-all things-trying to prepare for a Sunday in the Word, over and over and over. The takeaway that just snuck up on me is that not only the world’s music but the local church’s music is much more sticky and impactful than we think and feel as ministry leaders. If random lyrics, without any volitional move on my part, impacted my morning, how much more are lyrics steeped in God’s spirit and in truth powerfully making a dent in the hearts and lives of our congregation?
While not a skilled musician myself, I wanted to encourage the worship leaders, teams, vocalists, instrumentalists, and all the behind-the-scenes A/V personnel in our ranks who invest so much to facilitate meaty, moving worship environments. Listen to me, your contributions to the kingdom are making much more of a difference than you may be tempted to believe.
Here are a few takeaways of how I am observing the local church’s capacity for worship being faithfully, strategically stewarded:
- Songs that are solid but repetitive are not a waste of time and often become the go-to “soundtrack” of a person’s week.
- The sing-ability of the songs we enter into as churches have the best chance of being personally added to the carefully curated playlist of your people.
- Musical selections that are carefully paired with the pulpit ministry of the church tend to move us not just in our emotions but our actions. (The “worship service” should be viewed as both elements!)
- The artistry and skillfulness you express in worship are not wasted and allow the beauty of Jesus and His Gospel to shine in a compelling, irresistible manner.
- Making worship less of a “solo” feel and more of a multigenerational and corporate feel allows everyone, no matter where they are at physically, emotionally, spiritually, to enter into God’s presence and power.
- Of the deluge of songs out there, the ones that we choose to sing in church matter and their theology, biblical or unbiblical, matters as well (Choose wisely).
- Churches that give room for other genres of music besides the perky, upbeat variety create emotional room for those who need to process doubts, fears, pain, and even grief (Laments and psalms are a great place to start as we recently featured in our “Mourning of Worship Sunday” at North Life.)
- The children and teenagers in your church will largely only remember and be permanently impacted by THE SONGS, not the gimmicks or even the preaching, that carry over into their adulthood.
- Please remember, as Keith Getty recently put it, “The congregation is the lead singer.” (Do everything you can in the lighting, arrangements, and instrumentals to position them for confidence success in singing their lungs out.)
- Nothing helps the lost, seeking soul to see and feel the gospel in an supernaturally incarnate manner like when you lead the church to do so Sunday after Sunday. (Exit interviews with new converts regularly reveal that the warm fellowship and worship had a large impact in the build up to their salvation!)
- Lastly, your faithful facilitation of believers worshipping their Lord and Savior is a weekly rehearsal for the ultimate throng of sacred veneration around the throne of God THAT WILL NEVER END! (What’s more epic or enduring than that?!)
I cannot remember the source, but this thought continues to guide my practical theology on worship, “Music make you feel a feeling. Words make you think a thought. A song makes you FEEL A THOUGHT.” What power. What staying power there is in the worship we are leading-especially when we are singing for and to “the ancient of days!”