Home > Faith, Religion, Worship > Eh…worship. What about it?

Eh…worship. What about it?

What is it exactly? Everyone has their own opinions particularly built upon personal experiences, traditional values or emotional intimacy. One person, in particular, find worship to be a two hour version of “Doxology” along with three alter-calls to make sure “we got all of ’em” (true story). However, I believe that worship is a beast that is hard to tame, or even try to define it; but, worship is something that I have been questioning lately.

Personally, I been a worship leader longer than…well, I ‘ve probably been a Christian, so I feel as though I have a pretty hefty foot in the door when it comes to the conversation of, “What is worship?” I been a part of many experiences in worship such as:

1. Two high school students leading worship for a youth group while only having one acoustic guitar between the two of them, and each one only knowing 2 songs.

2. 2 years of touring coffee shops in Texas, cutting two CDs, and asked to step aside from a gig because someone better came into town.

3. The emotional roller coaster and over-demanding, opinionated youth pastors during church camps.

4. Leading worship bands full of untalented middle/high school musicians/singers, with big hearts for the Lord (and big egos).

5. Adult contemporary Christian music cover band. Thank you Michael W. Smith for your contribution to the Christian music world.

6. Cultivating and integrating electronic/techno music into the Sunday morning church worship service.

7. Being asked not to come back to lead worship during the Sunday morning church worship service.

8. Creating and producing a techno Christian music CD.

9. Leading the congregation in an instrumental rendition of “Santa Claus is coming to town.”

10. Playing harmonies to “Heart of Worship” with a trumpet.

11. Trying to remember how the words, melodies and choruses go as the band plays the intro 4x longer as it is written.

And still, to this day, I find myself on a stage on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights asking people to join with me in song and hopefully, somewhere in the words and music encounter Jesus and have their life changed by his presence. It’s an interesting beast, worship. But I can only speak for myself  (as my wife pointed out to me so non-gently).

See, many years ago I found that I had developed a technical ear that overpowers an intimate heart. For a musician, worship (on Sunday mornings) is 80% performance and 20% hope, at least this is the case of me. There is preparation, decisions on what song fits with the sermon, listening to what’s popular on the radio, chord-charts, practices, run-throughs, a change in the song set when the pastor doesn’t like a particular song, making sure the sound boards is done right, amps, monitors, drumers, power points, lights, changing the song again when you find it is written for a girl,  sound, tuning, telling the other band mates their out of tune…and so on, and so on.

“Five minutes till the service starts,” the pastor says, and your expected to take hundreds of people who have fought to get to church with all three of their children, act as though life is okay when asked how things are going by an elder, and downing their fourth cup of coffee to take the edge off, and then, usher them to the throne of God in worship. At this point, the 80% of performance began with the set list, but the 20% of hope steps in and says, “I hope we don’t screw this up.” (That is usually the prayer the banding is offering when huddled around the drums before playing a note)

In my own personal walk with Christ, I find it near impossible to come close to God during the worship time, simply because I am listening to all those things, picking up on the “out-of-tune” instruments, noticing what singers are not turned up (on purpose), and watching how people respond to all the hard work that we have put into this morning’s service. Often times, I find myself watching other people with their hands raised, eyes closed, and singing at the top of their lungs; and I think to myself, “I wonder what they are thinking or feeling,” or  “I wonder what they have spiritually that I don’t.”

So, I have been actively exploring this subject lately in songs, churches, blogs, books, or whatever else there is out there. However, it was not until my wife laid down her “divinely-inspired” smack upside my head that I began to realize that I was over-looking a major aspect in worship.

It was a Saturday night, after preparing for the service the next morning and watching the clock count down to “show-time,” I turned to my wife before drifting off to sleep and said, “I am having trouble with the whole worship thing. I don’t know if I believe in it anymore. I just can’t get into it.”

After a very annoyed flop to the other side so she could face me in the dark, she said in disgust, “It’s not about you, Curtis! Some people find great intimacy with God during song. So, suck it up and get over yourself!” Followed by many Christian expletives (crap, freaking, etc.), another annoyed/frustrated flop to the other side, and a loud sigh that rattled the walls of the house.

“Wow!” I thought to myself. “My wife should be more obedient to her husband…psh!” But, then after pondering her words she spoke, I realized, she was right. To many people song is their expression of homage, or worship, to their God and King. Music strikes a certain chord within the heart and tugs at a particularly form of intimacy. Sure, it might be more of a performance for me, but the honor is found in being the tool for which God uses to grow closer with his people.

They may just be chord charts to me, but for other people, they are the foundation to an experience with a living Christ. There might be to many repeats and words to remember, but it is another’s opportunity to pay tribute and worship their savior, the one who set us free.

It’s not about me! It never really has been. And, you might not see me lift a hand, or shed a tear, during Hillsong’s “Came to the Rescue,” but I will do my best to prepare, plan and play my heart out so that you may experience Christ in a real way, so that you may draw close to Him in spirit and truth.

So when you come to church on Sunday, don’t stare at me with eyes that say, “I read your blog, and I know that you don’t believe in worship! I can’t believe you are up there and going to ‘lead’ me in worship.” Instead, stare at God on his throne, and forget about me. That truly is the heart of worship, it’s about Him, the Christ, the Messiah, the Savior of the world. And when you see me and band huddled around the drums praying before service about not screwing up the lyrics or missing any notes, that prayer is so that we can be a tool for you to draw close to God

…and so we don’t screw up. That’s just embarrassing.

 

< Disclaimer 2: my wife doesn’t cuss or use Christian expletives, and I am sorry for using such profound untrue statements. I hope she doesn’t read this.

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Categories: Faith, Religion, Worship
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