What is worship? Is it a service that we attend? Is it a mystical experience? Perhaps the shortest answer is that worship is our total life response to God’s goodness and grace in the believer. William Temple wrote that worship means “to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open up the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God.”
At Cornerstone we recognize that worship touches all areas of life, not just the worship service. So in many ways, every leader at our church can help people to live a life of worshipping God on a 24/7 basis. However, the worship team has a particular role in welcoming our congregation into weekly corporate worship experiences. We desire our corporate worship experiences to be…
Jesus said, “true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers” (John 4:23). Worship must not be mechanical. Whether planning or participating in worship, we must only proceed in complete dependence upon God. This will mean prayerful preparation, seeking God’s guidance. It also implies humble participation, having a heart that is tender to God’s voice.
Romans 12:1-2 reveals that the only logical response to God’s mercy and grace is to give all of who we are for whatever God desires. As we resist the world and His Word transforms our thinking, we’ll demonstrate what it is that He desires. Corporate worship is not an end in itself but facilitates growth in personal worship as a Christian lifestyle.
Worship should include celebration. Many believers are beleaguered by the evil and hurt that surrounds them. Worship leaders have the opportunity to minister to people by directing them towards God’s victory, peace, hope and joy. At such times, worship reflects the psalmist's testimony: “come and hear, all who fear God, and I will tell of what He has done for my soul” (Psalm 66:16).
In correcting extremes in the Corinthian church, Paul wrote, “But let all things be done properly and in an orderly manner” (I Corinthians 14:40). For this to occur there will obviously be preparation, practice, and a plan. In this way, the service will have unity and direction. But a service will only become meaningful when we depend upon the Holy Spirit to be the ultimate leader of our worship.
Worshiping in spirit and truth (John 4:24) means that we must be authentic in our worship. This suggests that services must allow people to appropriately express their praise to God. Some people are demonstrative and praise God with upraised hands or clapping. Other people bow their heads and close their eyes. At Cornerstone we appreciate a relaxed and informal atmosphere, which places less stress and expectation upon perfect music and encourages people to worship authentically.
For a worship team to lead well, they must have connection and conversation. There must be a shared understanding of what worship is and how to invite others to worship. That is why weekly worship team practices are important. They serve a greater purpose than just musical preparation. They are a time for encouragement and support of one another. When the hearts of the worship team are in relational harmony, it will have a big impact upon the way worship is led on Sunday.