Hey worship leaders... MUSIC IS NOT THE CENTER OF YOUR MINISTRY.
Eeeek. Did I offend someone?
The more that I lead worship, the more I see that music is not the center of it all. Yes, we want to be striving for excellence and always growing, but more importantly we need to focus on the people that we are leading.
YOUR PEOPLE MATTER.
I recently co-founded a new church plant in Pasadena, CA, and it has been fun dreaming and planning a new culture of worship. Our church has been striving to create a multi-cultural group and it has been beautiful seeing our congregation take shape. There is such a beautiful tapestry of people... young and old, many cultures. I love it! It has been a challenge for me coming from a white-culture church trying to change the way I approach worship. But with the help of my people, I have been able to shape our service to fit our desired culture. Something I could have never done on my own.
I challenged myself a few weeks back and introduced "In Jesus' Name" by Israel Houghton. This white girl saaaaang it! I never would have done this song at my previous church, but I had a feeling that our people would love it. The first Sunday that we introduced this song, I had a beautiful eye-opening moment looking out at the people of our church. As I looked out, the old white dude, the young black college student, the asian mom, and the hispanic dad were worshipping with so much passion. It was in that moment that I found our people's voice.
Now take note, "In Jesus' Name" might not work with your people. Every crowd is different and it should always be moving and shaping according to your church's story. But it is your job as the worship leader to find that voice. Here are some practical questions you can wrestle through as you strive to find the voice of your people:
How are they responding?
What are they facing?
What is happening in my city?
What is happening in the world?
What lyrics will resonate with their story?
How can I take them on a journey in worship?
What songs are they suggesting?
What songs tend to break timidity?
So again I say... YOUR PEOPLE MATTER. Talk to them! Get out in the crowd and hear a story of heartbreak or life change. Listen to the heartbeat of the people God has entrusted in your care and take them on a journey!