Monday, October 03, 2016

You Don't Need a Band to Worship (The Presence-Driven Church)

Getting ready to worship

In the early 90s at Redeemer our church's leadership and our worship leaders agreed that God wanted us to pull the entire worship team off the platform and go without a band. We were having internal problems and spiritual disharmony. For the next nine months we sought God, reevaluated, and worked on relationships.

Some members of the band left, which was hard and sad.

On Sunday mornings we did it with one guitar and one voice. When people asked, "When will the band be back?", I said, "We don't know."

You don't need a band to worship. You don't need instruments. You don't need a worship leader, at least in the sense it usually means today. You just need someone to start it off.

You don't need a stage. You don't need lights. You don't need amps.

What you do need is God's empowering presence, and at least one person with a heart of recognition. And that one person does not need to have an awesome voice. Anyway, their voice will be trembling.

How did the early church make it without a worship band? They did not have one, correct? We read,

What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. (1 Cor 14:26)

As much as I love the guitar, the apostle Paul never owned one. We read in Acts 16:25 that about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.

And all the prisoners griped, saying, "This worship is not good."

Not really. In the midst of this two-man a capella worship comes an earthquake, opening prison doors, and prisoners getting set free.

Years ago Linda and I went to a Jesus music festival where Chris Tomlin was closing the event. It was a beautiful summer evening. Chris came forward, with just his guitar and voice. We were two of 10,000 people, and we worshiped. God was the shining Star, Chris receded into the heavenly hosts. 

Our church learned a lot when we didn't have the band. We reminded people of the true heart of worship. Which is: a heart, meeting a Heart. And the people said, "It is enough. Amen."