I've been leading worship at my church since July (the same time the new minister came and modern worship made it's debut at the church). The church is old-fashioned, but one thing that really is challenging me is getting any expressiveness out of this congregation.
I know raising your hands in worship doesn't make you a better worshiper, but any kind of expressiveness would be a welcomed addition to our worship service. What can I do to break that barrier in this church? I really want everyone who attends our worship service (right now holding strong at just over 100) to feel God like I do when I'm leading worship.
That's a great idea. I have been incorporating readings in to our songs, but I think the big obstacle we have is we're worshiping to backing trax. The elders think the congregation isn't ready to see drums on the stage (although there is drums in the trax we're using. I've been making the videos with the lyrics through Final Cut (it's amazing how God can use your skills from the past for the present) and editing the audio to flow. Music plays behind the readings, but honestly, there isn't the kind of freedom I think we need to really worship.
I'm making a move now to go to an acoustic set, I feel like God is really calling us to go live and let the spirit lead the congregation. Hopefully live acoustic will pave the way to quickly get the whole band up there.
What are your thoughts (that includes anyone who wants to chime in)?
TEACH!!!!! Have seminars and conferences on praise and worship.......Psalm 150 is a commandment not a suggestion! It will be uncomfortable for some to express themselves physically at first but it was uncomfortable for me to pray publically at first as well. It's a process and unless there is a major outpouring of the Holy Ghost over your congregation, it will take time.....
If you're interested it materials concerning praise, worship and Biblical Music, check out this website....
I'm all for live worship music (worship trax really annoy me!), and I think it's a great direction for just about any church body. One of the best aspects of it can be that congregation members can see others (worship team members) worshipping, as an example to them. But remember, live music vs. trax is a preference...
Bigger still is the truth that worship is not music. Music can be a part of worship, but it's not equivalent to it. Good music doesn't equal good worship, and bad music doesn't equal bad worship. Rather, it's the state of the hearts of the worshipers (including the leader). Whatever facilitates ushering our hearts to a place of honoring the Lord (and is Scripturally sound) is what you should do. Stay anchored to that. Keep following His leading.
Some of the deepest moments of worship I have personally experienced have been with very small intimate teams. One day in particular sticks out in my mind, 1 acoustic, 1 vocalist and bongos. It was very heavy. Its good to have these kinds of change ups.
You write--"The elders think the congregation isn't ready to see drums on the stage"
Those are wise men you have there. Sometimes we see the full bands on display at the big churches and think "We need to have that" when the truth is that we don't. Most will more than likely see one instrument as an improvement over backing tracks. A good chunk of the time our church, with just a few more people than you have, has acoustic guitar, keyboard, percussion/sax, and 3 or 4 singers and it fills the place beautifully. It could be a good idea to start off with a d'jembe or congas for your drums as they go great with an acoustic set.
Disclaimer: I am not a worship leader, but a congregant, former sound/vid butler.
Relationships - nothing takes the place of relationships. Do you know your saints? Does the fellowship have smaller groups meeting during the week? This is where the joy and the comfort in worshiping freely originates.
Idea/Object lesson. I always thought it would be masterful to initially have one person on stage, w/ an instrument, who starts the song. Maybe (s)he would invite one of the older saints up to help him/her with the song (xtra mic optional). One by one, other team members could start playing from their seats in the congregation, and joining in (wireless mics would be a help, but in a church of 100, definitely optional).
The intended paradigm would be a planting of worship "sprouts" as opposed to broadcasting seeds from a platform.
One of the increasing problems in a fellowship is the apparent elevation of all the "ministers" above the congregants. Usually, there is a separate ministers area 2-3 feet higher than all else. Then there is the technological separation, where there are the miced and unmiced, instrumented and unadorned. Thirdly, todays church is mimicing the entertainment model.
This kind of modeling would upend that paradigm, making the "we are all humble worshipers, we are all congregants" statement.
Amen to that! More often than not, it's a perceived "elevation" on the part of congregation members (although I have found myself subtly, gradually succumbing to and subconsciously supporting that perception as a worship leader too!). It's a battle with that must be fought intentionally.
Building and maintaining relationships between worship leaders and non-worship leaders is one important way to combat pedestal-ism. Encouraging worship team members to be involved in small groups is a great idea.
I've also known a couple of church bodies that structure their worship times in such a way that congregation members are expected to prepare/bring something to the worship as well, whether it be some Scripture, a testimony, or even a song. During the worship service, some time is set aside or interspersed for that, and a mic is available in the front.
It is important to scatter the "team" into the small groups to sprout worship in those settings. Often there is a worship cell group, home group or kinship that specializes in raising up new instrumentalists/vocalists. This can be very effective. However, it can also perpetuate the team vs. congregant perception if all the worship team attends this. It can become a magnet for the ambitious.
It seems always to work best when the team members attend different home groups and find musical disciples. The member leads, but spots other potential worshippers, gradually raising them up.
When every you are breaking the foundations of tradition it is frustrating. But pray and time changes alot. But wow I really didnt think this was so common!!!! Its amazing how you feel like you are the only one in the boat. I feel the same frustrations but I want to thank everyone for all of the suggestions. This helped me also.
Just skimmed the other replies, so I may be repeating what others before me have said, and if I am, please forgive me......
I was asked a few months ago after the loss of a church family for job reasons, to take over the role of worship leader.......
Tho I LOVE to sing, I know NOTHING about music, keys, pitch, etc. Our church, to me, seemed to have LOST its worshipping spirit, and I had a great desire to see it come back....... so, I began to pray to God ABOUT worship......and He impressed on me to learn more about worship. In researching and learning on my own, I have learned that worship isnt about how WE feel, what blessings WE receive, or even about the music........TRUE WORSHIP is laying aside US, and focusing on HIM...... before service, I try to spend as much time as possible in prayer, seeking GOD'S will for the worship portion of the service, listening to uplifting, inspiring worship songs, praying for GOD to move in the worship.......when I go into prayer before each service, I try my best NOT to bring my problems to GOD, but to ONLY pray for a worshipful spirit, and for God's spirit to move freely among the congregants in worship...... There have been some really good worship lessons I've run across online, and I'm also reading Holland Davis' book, "Let It Rise"...... God has helped me to understand that I shouldn't be searching the congregation for jumping, shouting, arms waving, etc......, but rather, that I should ONLY concern myself with worshipping Him in spirit and in truth...... Our congregants have been feeling something MORE during praise and worship, and are more freely worshipping God......once again, the spirit of the Lord is free to move during praise and worship.......because I have learned to take myself and the music out of the way, and put everything there for God's glory...... not saying that you don't do these things already, just saying that when I myself, took myself out of the way, and sought God's desires, I was able to better understand worship and what it truly is.....and that is the least that any of us can do for God.......sometimes we have to forget our own desires, and return to the ROOTS.....not just in our daily walk, but in other aspects of of spiritual lives.... good luck, and keep on glorifying God......