Sunday, February 19, 2012

Real Worship Evokes the Presence of God, Not Audience Applause

Linda bought me a Taylor guitar
for my birthday 2 years ago.
I was 20 years old and leading Sunday morning worship in a Lutheran Church on the campus of Northern Illinois University. I would arrive for Sunday worship after a long night of drinking, drugs, and partying. Sometimes I was really out of it. Being a good guitar player, and used to playing drunk, I was able to pull it off. I could play better drunk than most worship leaders could play straight. They paid me $10 A Sunday to do this. Even though I was far from Christ, and could care less about God.

I can't remember how I was asked to do this, who asked me, and why I was never asked about my spiritual condition and fitness as a worship leader.

How important is musical skill in worship leading, or in playing on a worship team? The answer is: not very. My standard for our worship musicians is this: you must be able to play well enough so as not to distract people from worshiping. Obviously, if your guitar playing is hideous, people will be drawn to the dischordant carnage more than to God. My recommendation is: on your instrument, be adequate. Take that part seriously. Get lessons and grow.

Instrumental ability without a Christ-formed heart creates "performance" without God-presence. Worship is all about God-presence. Real worship is corporate and communal, and is and feels like a movement. If the God-movement is not in the hearts of the "worship leaders" than we have a situation where great instrumental ability may actually shut the door to true adoration of God.