Worship is a lot of things to me and probably to you as well. I’ll bet, though, that when you hear the word “worship” that there is a certain action that you think of, or something in particular that comes to mind. Perhaps hymns, maybe praise songs, dancing, and even prayer. But worship is so much more than that. In fact, in reality, worship is our response to who God is and what he’s done for us. In knowing those things we can more accurately discern what worship is and how to go about it. My hope is that by the time you finish reading this article that you will be challenged to step up and be a “worship leader” to those around you in your church, and in your community.
One of the most famous and most important verses that you’ve probably heard many times says this,
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
John 3:16-17 ESV
Another Scripture, perhaps not as well known, says this, “Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” Isaiah 43:7 ESV
And still another verse says, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31
Lastly, I’ll leave you with this, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” Revelation 4:11
I love looking at all these passages. I love that God’s Word leads us into a response. It teaches us something about God, and then asks us to respond. Sometimes very specifically, and sometimes in general ways. That’s what worship is: a response. Being a worship leader is merely an extension of being a worshiper by being one who continues to worship because of, or in-spite of, his/her place or circumstances. One of the most important things that we as Christians count on, is that God’s love for us is never failing. That He loves us so much that He sent his son to the cross to take our punishment. We deserve eternal punishment in hell, but God in His great mercy provides a way out: Jesus Christ. Worship is everything that we do in response to that truth. Sure, it’s the music that we sing, for God’s Word calls us to make a joyful noise unto the Lord. So, we respond in song. The Old Testament points to this idea over and over again. The reality of worship is that it goes far beyond that. It’s how we intentionally love others despite our anger or annoyance with them. It’s how we go to work and do our best there every day. It’s how we help the widows and the children. It’s the little choices that we make when no one else sees us. Those are also all acts of worship.
At my church we believe the Bible is true; that it is God-breathed. That means that our response to God’s Word is quite important, since we say that we believe it. As the new Director of Worship and Arts, my goal and vision for our church is to “respond” to God through music and art because of what Christ has done for us. We will gather every week as a congregation and give God all the glory, honor, and power. We all will join with the angels in singing, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” Revelation 5:12 ESV
I have to be honest with you, I am a fantastic sinner. I mean, I’m really good at it. My prayer is that God always allows me to see who He is in spite of that sinfulness. I pray that same prayer for all of you, too. I pray this prayer for US because I’ve seen the kind of response that it leads to when we truly understand the gravity of our sinfulness. I am a fantastic worshipper. I mean, I am really passionate in my praises for God. This, too, is only because I understand, have even glimpsed at, the gravity of my sinfulness. It’s not because I have done something great, or because I have the power to be great. Again, it’s a response. A response to the gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s also a choice that I face every time I wake to a new morning, or face a tragedy in my view, or when things go perfectly as planned; I choose to respond in worship.
I pray that I, and the leaders standing in front of you, can lead you all in worship as a response to God’s great love. I pray that you will be passionate in your lives as a response, as an act of worship for what Christ has done. Together as a church, let’s respond to Christ. Let’s respond in such a way that God would always be made much of. I want to invite you to be a worship leader with me; in fact, I want to invite you to be a response leader every day of your life! Let’s be “response leaders” to the community around us, so that Christ would be glorified and lifted high where ever you are!