The 5 Myths of Worship

When you think of the word worship, what comes to mind? Most of us think of church, but worship is much more than that. As we’re developing the worship cultures in our churches, it’s important that we address the stereotypes of worship. Many believers don’t know what worship looks like because worship isn’t being taught. If worship isn’t being taught, there’s a good chance that it hasn’t been experienced. Here are my thoughts of what worship was before I realized what it is.

1.Worship is music, particularly slow music.
I’ve thought this for most of my walk with God! When we understand that worship is a lifestyle, we recognize music as a way in which we worship (Psalm 28:7).

2. Worship is a gesture (lifted hands, running, shouting, etc.).
Worship is more than an emotional response. Worship is a posture; posture is defined as “the attitude a person or group has toward something or someone”. As we endure different circumstances, we develop a confidence in God because of his history of deliverance. The more we walk with Him, the better we know and trust Him (Psalm 103).
Worship requires a gift (“I have nothing to offer God”). If God blessed us by the types of gifts we gave, many of us would be out of luck! Worship requires a sacrifice and that sacrifice is us! God created us, His gift, to worship Him (Psalm 141:2)!

3. Only “good people” can worship God.
God is not pleased by our works. He’s drawn to the hearts of His children. Those who are willing to be used by God are lead by their “yes” to God, yielding to the Holy Spirit and obeying the Word (Ephesians 2:8-9).

4.Worship is an event on Sunday.
Can you imagine going to the same place and doing the same thing over and over again? As exciting as the church service is when you first visit or become a member, eventually the excitement wears off. If you’ve felt like this, then your focus was in the wrong place. Worship isn’t about a program. Worship is an encounter with God that grows into a fruitful relationship. The Bible states that God rewards those who diligently seek Him (Heb 11:6). The more we seek God, the more we experience new characteristics of God’s nature.

5. I have to feel good/be happy to worship.
Worship is not about emotion, but about personal choice. Choose to worship God in your pain because you know who He is; if He is your Savior, then you know that your pain isn’t permanent. We serve a High Priest in Jesus Christ who has experienced humanity, so He knows about worship and suffering (Heb. 4:15).
I challenge you to write down your thoughts of worship and allow God to reveal His thoughts through the Word. Your seek of true worship will allow you to experience God on a deeper level.

Sonja R. Jones is a wife, mother, educator, author, and a Virtual Worship Pastor. Her assignment is to spiritually cover music ministry leaders, help churches develop and retain music ministry leaders, and equip and send music ministry leaders to churches. Connect with her online at www.sonjarjones.com

10 Traits Of Spiritually Mature Worship Leaders

I love it when God blesses me with something that I know will benefit the body of believers as we all strive to reach higher heights in our music ministries. The only thing I love as much as sharing something God gave me is sharing something He gave someone else.

Easily the most popular topic here on the blog as well as the Fan page is praise and worship teams. Worship leaders and team members all over the world are seeking more knowledge about how to serve God better in this calling. I ran across this powerful article on a site called Ministrytodaymag.com called 10 Traits Of Spiritually Mature Worship Leaders. What I really love about this article is that not only does it get right to the content, going almost immediately the list, but it’s so intently focused on the one thing that I think many of us don’t focus on nearly enough; that being spiritual maturity in our service. This one is a must-read. Click on the link below to go straight to the article.

10 Traits of Spiritually Mature Worship Leaders

Does your church's worship leader possess these character traits?

 

75 Great Altar Call Songs

Someone sent me an e-mail recently asking me to give her some suggestions for Altar Call songs. Every music ministry needs altar call songs. Well, the Fan Page family loves making song lists, so I took it straight to them. And as usual, they delivered in a big way. There were over 80 comments in this thread at this writing. I chose 75 to allow for some possible duplication. The actual thread is below. Allow a couple of seconds for it to load if you don’t see it. It may not work in Chrome.

Just click the comment button below to be taken straight to the live post. If you haven’t already, please click the “Like” button in the top right corner and join the family!

20 Questions To Ask If The Audience Won’t Get With Your Praise Team

I’ve seen and even written about the subject of unresponsive audiences in regard to praise & worship or even just selections from the choir. If you’ve ever done any research on the subject, chances are your search led you to articles that list some of the common reasons audiences are unresponsive to the praise and worship music going forth. I think they are important things to consider when you’re trying to figure out why your audience is unresponsive, so I’m going to list some of the most common questions you should ask if you find this situation.

But then I want to get into another aspect of unresponsive audiences that I don’t see covered very often at all. More about that a little later in the article. First though, let’s look at 20 possible reasons why your congregation may not be responding

 Song Selection

It’s important you know your audience well and what they respond to. This can sometimes be harder than it looks, because honestly most of us choose songs based not on whether or not we think our audience will be blessed by them, but by how much we like them ourselves. Sometimes we can get so caught up in the musical arrangement or the beat that we don’t pay as much attention to the message as we should. Sometimes it’s the style that’s losing your audience.

1.  Is it too contemporary?
2. Too dated or”old school?”
3. Too much of one or the other?
4. Are you doing too much new material (it’s hard for your audience to participate if you’re never doing anything they know)?
5. Are songs easy to catch on and sing?
6. Are the songs really praise and worship songs?

Musicianship

7. Is the music being played with a level of competence?
8. Can the audience recognize the song?
9. Is the volume too loud or too soft? (ok it’s never too soft, lol!)

Vocals

10. Is the harmony right?
11. Are the group members well-versed and learned on the material (do they know the song?)
12.Are you putting competent leaders up to lead songs?
13. Are your leaders and/or group members screaming?

Sound

14. Are the microphones too loud?
15. Are they feeding back?
16. Are the house speakers too loud?

Leadership

17. Is the leader actively exalting and leading the audience?
18. Is the leader reprimanding or scolding the audience for not participating? (don’t ever do this!)
19. Is the leader moving quickly between songs with little to no dead time?
20. Is the leader being led by the spirit and allowing for unscripted, organic worship and praise? (real praise and worship can’t always be scripted)

All of these issues and more are very common issues that audiences find very off-putting and distracting. It is very difficult for the audience to overcome those things and concentrate on praising and worshiping when these things are not being addressed regularly. And while it may seem almost unfair to some people that really haven’t fully grasped the importance of perfecting music ministry, the truth is it can be any one thing. Everything can be perfect, for example, and the microphones are way too loud or feeding back. Or everything is sounding great but the music was way too loud. Or the group sounded great but the leader didn’t really have the skill that the song required.

But let’s flip this coin for a minute and talk about something almost nobody touches on. Because you see, if we’re all being honest here, there are times when absolutely everything is the best it can be. The band is on point. the song selection is perfect. The group/choir sounds great. The leader is bringing it. And the audience is STILL unresponsive.

There are just days when despite your best efforts, the audience simply won’t be with you. Who knows what it is from one day to the next, but it does happen. It is on those days that worship leaders and song leaders make the worst mistake they can make. I touched on it in question number 18 but it’s important enough to elaborate on more here.

I’m speaking of the tendency many leaders have start reprimanding the audience to get them to participate. Understand what I’m referring to here. I’m not talking about the act of encouraging the audience to open up and feel free to worship. Encouraging them to lift their hands, stand, or sing along.

I’m talking about those who actually, in a sense, scold the audience for not being more engaged or participating more. Listen, nobody understands how frustrating an unresponsive audience is than I do. But scolding them will only cause them to resent you. which will only make them close off even more. Only now it may very well extend past the musical selections to the Pastor and the word of God itself.

That is why when you worship and praise God in song, your worship must be for real. It has to be about God, and NOT about the audience. I wrote in an article a while ago that it’s not a good idea to sing your entire selection with your eyes closed. That’s absolutely true. But much more importantly than that, you must never allow your worship or praise experience to depend on or be affected by the reactions of the audience.

When we sing, we should always sing to the glory and honor of God. As one speaker once told us at a choir banquet, we are to minister to Him, and He in turn ministers through us to His people. If you’re always looking for the audience’s reaction when you sing, you could find yourself very discouraged when you don’t get what you expected

It’s really not our job in music ministry to “make” the audience do anything. Any number of things could be the cause of unresponsiveness. I’ve seen times when, heck the people are just tired! The church has been in revival all week, or we’ve had back-to-back services, or a Saturday night service of some kind so everyone is kind of tired Sunday morning.

So yes, it is extremely important that we do everything we can to perfect, enhance, hone and polish every aspect of our music ministries. But at the end of the day every single minute we spend on any of that has to be for one reason and one reason only. That God be glorified. And when we stand before His people knowing that we’ve done everything we can to prepare ourselves to minister in excellence, even when they’re not responding we can then just worship Him from a pure, honest, deeply sincere place that has nothing to do with how many people stood up while we were singing. Or how many didn’t. For more praise team training check out my new e-book Praise Team 101