After several years away from it I started playing bass at my church a few months back. My question to all of you experienced worship leaders and musicians is, what are we supposed to be feeling when we're up front and playing at a church service? Personally I'm thinking about a large number of musically technical issues (setting up for the next chord change, following the worship leader, trying to work out where he's going off-piste next, tracking the drummer, listening to the keyboard player to work out what frequency space he's giving me to work in, generally attempting to tie it all together). As a result it's basically a technical exercise for me, the idea of the 'heart of worship' seems a bit distant from the rhythm section. I'll admit to not being an especially emotional type (I work as a scientist so I can do empirical rationalism), but is there supposed to be more to it?
So, firstly, what scripture can you suggest that might illuminate this a bit? Also, what are the experiences of the rest of you? Is this just me or is it one of those issues that several of us are quietly thinking about?
I fall in love with my wife "all over again" many times, but none of these are quite exactly like the first time (though flowers and dates never fail!). The Boyoyiiiiing! thumpthumpthump that Thumper felt, as wonderful and consuming as it was, transmutes into something finer, and a far stronger bond than emotion (which I have to say was about 77% of it at the start) could ever accomplish.
This is exactly how I am feeling at this time, and was beginning to think that I am doing something drastically wrong, and not quite knowing if it was anything specific. I have been trying all the things that your pastor has talked about, and still not feeling God's blessing upon me. Oh, I know it's not about feelings etc. but hey, I am human and get it wrong alot of the time.
Wow, thank you my dear friends for helping me see it differently, 'cos you know the whole thing has been holding me back. I think though that it is amazing how God answers prayers and reveals things through others. The ironic thing is, if it were someone else that was going through a time like this, I could probably be able to see it, but when it comes to yourself, sometimes I can't see the wood for the trees!
1) Forget about how you "feel" and instead seek to be faithful... to God, to be led by the Spirit, to serve the Worship Leader and the congregation and the other players in the band. "Feelings" are sensory and so subjective, whereas "faithfulness" is a choice and an act of the will.
1Pe 4:11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
2) "Own It", meaning: become skilled with your instrument, the songs, the arrangements, and most of all being freely led by the Spirit; so that... when it's time to worship, you can just worship (while being attentive to the changes that may present themselves). Don't forget: Distractions come as a result of fear, being preoccupied with failure, reputation, acceptance, etc.. Instead...
Php 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Re 2:10 "Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
Everything that you do is worship. Everything. Either you are worshiping God, or you are worshiping something else (yourself perhaps?). As far as what you should feel? There is no real clear definition. When it comes to your worship offering of music, hopefully you are feeling what the music is trying to convey. If you are singing a happy song about God, hopefully you are happy. If you are singing a sad song, hopefully sad.
As noted in other threads, we don't want to discount the importance of stage presence, which, of course, you don't actually agree with me on.
Good stage presence in your worship offering is a matter of spiritual maturity. Good worship leaders will humble themselves in accordance with Romans 12 and give their bodies as sacrifices to God in worship. Actions are more meaningful than words, something that all leaders need to keep in mind.
So while in this case, the young lady isn't mature enough in her spiritual life to give a worship offering that follows inline with Romans 12, there is nothing wrong with encouraging her to grow here.
"I would contend that at times, we are not worshiping. I don't think humans are created with the 24 hour worship capacity like those guys in Revelation who never stop worshiping."
You are right. This is part of our sin nature. We cannot always worship God and will not always worship God. The only way to do this would be if we were completely without sin and whole.
No, I agree with you on stage presence, it was another chap who took the other side.
As for the worship part - I'm not sure how that will work. If you define every act as some form of worship yea or nea, then it is true. But I think even after we're glorified, we won't always be in the act of some form of worship, only that our behaviour will always be glorifying to God.
Worship is simply the demonstration of respect. You are either respecting yourself, or somebody else, something else, or God. Of course, if you respect God, you are going to respect all others (and things) as well.
However, it is possible to work God out of the equation in lieu of the three.
Stage presence. We're may be put off by that term, and suspicious of the church's general renaming of the "choir" into the "platform", and more recently to the "stage." But these are just physical places; it is what is done, said and thought on them that counts.
God is capable of using people who have no stagey habits at all (e.g., Jonathan Edwards read his carefully crafted sermons with a "dispassionate" voice), but who share the insight of the Holy Spirit and care for their listeners.
But at the same time, acts of communication can be strengthened through art (Edwards' choice of words, by example). The attention of the listener must be gained, at least!
At the lowest level, "stage presence" begins with eliminating distracting habits that are also "speech" but conflict with the message: hands in the pockets say, "whatever"; scratching, sneezing, blowing the nose, chatting with team members. If we keep our bodies disciplined on a public platform, the congregation will sense "maybe something important is going to happen here."
Then we have a higher level of discipline that might be described as "focus." Not just our bodies, but our internal thoughts are calmed as we close all programs except God's program. If we are attuned to His presence, the congregation (or at least some within) will recognize this and refocus as well.
Another element of communication is the attention-grabbing device. Here we get into dangerous territory, where the holy place may be turned into a theatre. This is where our choices of how to communicate may draw attention to ourselves, or to God. We desperately want the people to listen to the music, but may need to "sacrifice" some of our favorite strings to pull. This is really not that much different from what we find in secular stage, where good actors are those who have managed to act "real" (while somehow talking four times as loud as real), but bad actors spoil the reality by exaggerating every gesture, focusing the play on themselves, and undermining its message. But all communicators consciously use devices to make the picture they are painting more vivid. Those who gluttonize the devices are called "hams" or "Hot dogs"; those who don't are called "monotonous."
I think we ought to be wary of judging those who are higher or lower on the stage-presence scale than we are, and refocus our attention on how much we desire the people present to hear the word of the Lord, to associate the Word with beauty and reality. Those things which we do to obtain the undivided attention of the people (=stage presence) will take care of themselves, as we are freed to worship Him and lead in worship.