I've been thinking on this subject quite a bit and I wanted to find out what others are thinking. Are we planning out our worship services to the Point that we are not allowing Christ (by his Spirit) time and space to really commune with his Church? How often do we deviate from our planned list of songs to flow into a new song or to allow a prophetic word to come forth? Please understand I'm not talking about not preparing, I'm just asking what are we preparing for?
Do we prepare and rehearse just for a good time singing praise and worship songs? Or are we preparing for a move of the Spirit of God in our midst. Do we really allow the Holy Spirit to control our services?

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I think our church divides this up between us and the Lord which is a bit sad. I prepare the song lists with much prayer, we prepare those songs at rehearsal and sometimes swap them our based on the Spirit's prompting. We work out the dynamics and transitions we want to use, and iron out the routing of verses, choruses, etc. On Sunday morning we are very sensitive to listening for the Holy Spirit to guide us on the dynamics and routing or swapping song order, but not usually on song selection. I will also lead an prolonged instrumental section for prayer and reflection if I feel so led.

I'm not sure how we would follow the Holy Spirit in altering our song selection on Sunday morning. I've got 5 back singers of all different skill and experience levels, I've got 2 other guitar players besides myself, I've got a bass player, keyboardist, drummer, projectionist, and a congregation that seems to flounder and fall out of worship if the praise team shows much hesitation or confusion. We have about 300 songs in our catalog and we don't usually repeat any of them often enough that we have them on instant recall. We don't have the chord/lyric sheets for those on the platform, only what we prepared. I lose my team now if I accidentally forget to capo or uncapo and play a planned song in a different key.

Sounds like a lot of lame excuses doesn't it?

I have led much smaller gatherings where I was able to switch into songs I had memorized and that I knew the small group also knew. Just something I felt led to do in the moment. That was very powerful. If I could only figure out how to do that with our much larger Sunday morning services... Sounds like I've got some things to work on.
I don't think these are lame excuses at all, Pete. I really don't think the Holy Spirit waits until Sunday morning to let us in on His plan. If you select your songs as carefully as you say, you should be confident that these are the songs He wants you to do. I believe the flexibility is in the flow. Do you add an extra tag? Do you repeat a verse with just guitar or acappella? Do you make space for meditation or a word of knowledge? Do you come back to your first song at the end? How you arrange your set can depend on how the worshipers are responding, but some things, when changed, may just cause a train wreck, and there's only one "being" that I know of who's interested in that.

al
www.everydaypraise.com
good word man, just go with the flow.
you can add a medley in the set if you know the chords to the song youre grouping in. the band wont be able to follow, but thats fine. they can chill for a minute til you move back into the list.
The same Spirit that leads in the moment leads in preparation.
A beloved pastor/teacher at our church led us through studies in Acts and other passages which make it clear that making plans and preparations is wise and pleasing to God. Pastor Don taught us to "make our plans in pencil and give God's Spirit the eraser."
Preparation is certainly important and I prepare sermons, services, etc., and have led my people to be preparers. The key is to keep the heavenly window open so the wind from above can blow freely and move us as God leads. Always prepare but strive to be so in tune with God as to have spiritual flexibility
I agree that we should prepare for worship and we should definitely be led by the Spirit. I, for one, always expect and prepare for a move of the Spirit of God. However, not everyone on your Praise & Worship team or in the church come with that mindset. Our team always start out with a planned list of songs, but there are many times we deviate from the list due to the move of the Holy Spirit. Although all of the people may not be "into worship", I find that when I go into worship and let the Spirit lead me, God will show up and some one(except for me) gets a blessing! Do we really allow the Holy Spirit to control our services? No. And that, I've noticed comes from the leaders of the church. Whether it be the pastor or an officiating minister, sometimes they just will not allow God's Spirit to come in and have His way. Now that's sad. Most of the time it's a Time Issue but God's time is not our time--it's not about us--it's all about HIM--I say let Him have His Way! Let Him please Himself. That's what TRUE WORSHIP does.
Also, again I see this term, "TRUE WORSHIP" in yet another context. How many requirements are there for "TRUE WORSHIP?" I hope there is a simple answer, it's really bogging me down!
If you chase down the word root of 'worship' you'll find 'obeisance' as an English root, which derives from 'to obey'. Can't get much simpler :)
Hi Jeremiah - You can't really take an English word and construe the meaning of a Hebrew word from it. You mean shachah? The word itself is a root having different meanings at different times. The most often used sense is to "bow down" and could be construed as the unifying meaning to all of it's uses. Obedience is one form of worship and one way to play it out. But Worshiping God in scripture seems to mean giving Him the praise and recognition that He's due simply because it's fitting.

What I was asking is related to what Toni said - that TRUE WORSHIP lets God please Himself and has the Spirit controlling the worship service. I think that's curious. I thought God asked ME to worship HIM. So why is it now true Worship to let Him "Please" Himself? What He really wants is for us to worship him freely and voluntarily from our own thankful and joyful hearts.

So where does it ever say that God wants to control us? That's not a Biblical theme. The whole point of redemption is to have His creatures voluntarily worshiping and adoring Him out of love and adoration. The LAST thing He ever wants to do is control us!

Oddly, I'm reminded of a Star Trek movie where a crustacean was put into Chekov's ear to turn him into an automaton.

So I propose that if you need the Spirit to control or lead your worship service, then you're not worshiping from a pure heart the way God wants you to. What you need the Spirit to do is guide you into a pure heart and understand the joy of his mercy so that you eventually have an overflowing spirit that says "Yes! Our God is great!" That's "true worship" in my mind.
No I mean the english word. Since most of us here speak english, it seems rather fitting. I'm not going to argue - as you seem rather argumentative. I was merely trying to be humorous. We'll just chalk it up to a *fail* :)

God bless.

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