Monday, November 23, 2009

Some thoughts on worship leading...

i will be dispensing with capitalization this post-- i'm not being paid to think this week so i'm trying to avoid it as much as possible :)

I want to post part of a note between a friend of mine and me. I've been thinking about this for years, honestly, but the word "midwife" has come to mind a lot-- since watching my friend Elizabeth (my midwife and friend of more than 20 years) and thinking about her job and her role in the delivery room the day Ben died, and the role she played when she guided me through the weeks leading up to his birth (and ultimately, death, much much much to our surprise) and the weeks after his death. she literally "came alongside" me in so many ways.

i believe that the same can be said for pastors, teachers, worship leaders, small group leaders, intercessors.... we are midwives to what the Lord is doing in the lives of His people.

and as believers, we need to be having conversations about what our callings look like. as academics, we have conversations all the time about educational pedagogy -- as believers, we must be fluid in the language of what we believe and why we believe it, and what we do and why we do it.

here is a portion of a note i sent to my friend paul, who is currently leading worship at our church. he has a gigantic heart and profound love for the Lord. i'm on his team and we keep experiencing His presence in our midst. this has to do with something we were talking about...

i was just thinking about [the idea that] the worship leader can't worship while the congregation worships and at first it made me mad-- it's ridiculous! how can you lead where you haven't been?

but then i remembered the word the Lord has been speaking to me lately: midwife. truly, it's like leaders-- pastors, teachers, worship leaders-- of all kinds are midwives to what the Lord is doing in the hearts of His people. the midwife's role is different from that of the people he or she is leading.

the midwife's head has to be in the game in a way that is different from the congregation, but that doesn't mean that he/she isn't worshipping-- it means that the anointing is different. i think that [he] meant that the worship leader can't sink down into the emotion of it b/c he has to be watching and that's true to some extent, i think. BUT it means that they walk into leadership having spent hours of time alone, worshipping, praying, seeking His face, on his or her own before leading in whatever way they're leading. they are worshipping, but they are watching, too, for what the Lord is doing, letting Him lead and watching to see if the people are coming, too, listening for what to do if they are not.

that's why i like the house lights up, too.

because we're not just song leaders. we are worship leaders; worship teachers. as a teacher, i come into my classroom with a plan (i'm prepared, ready, having grasped the concepts that i am teaching them about), but if i don't gauge where my "audience" is, how will i know if my kids are coming? i have to adjust what i'm doing if they're not. the worship leader comes out to say, "this is the way to the holy of holies-- i've been there and just came to say that this is the way-- come with me and we'll enter in." it's a LEVITICAL act! he or she has to be able to see them in a thousand ways. that's why you're totally dependent upon the anointing. upon His presence. it's all about Him anyway. as worship leaders, we have to adjust what we're doing if the congregation isn't with us.

for us, if the congregation isn't entering in, we are praying while we're on the stage, "Oh God, what are you doing now? Where do you want us to go?" or if they're fully engaged, "thank You Lord-- please help us come closer." He's doing it all anyway. it's all for Him, by Him, through Him. and it blesses the mess out of us.

anyway, i hope that's what he meant...because if you, the human leading worship, aren't worshipping, what is the Lord going to have to anoint? i mean, He set things up the way He did on purpose and He wants to pour out His anointing. you're having a different worship time
from the congregation because of the different roles, but you know, you can't control when the Lord swooshes in with emotion no matter what the role is. and i just LOVE that about worship.

it's not clinical, but it's not easily understood. it's profound and none of us has gotten to the bottom of it. it's the cry of the heart. it's important and necessary. the levites led the troops in worship-- i believe that we need it before teaching. the Holy Spirit is working in us, preparing the soil of our hearts. plus, He says that if we only GLANCE at Him, His heart melts.

alright. gotta go melt the heart of the Lord while i pack.
sam

I will enter His gates with thanksgiving in my heart.

That is where He lifts the robes of mourning for just a second and ministers to the still-broken mother's heart in me, and where He has grafted Himself over that torn spot.

He is faithful and mighty.

And I will worship Him no matter what. I didn't know before that I meant that. I know now...



1 comment:

Tom said...

good stuff Sam..........love you
dad