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In addition to visiting several congregations and their corporate worship recently, I am also in the midst of leading a middle/high-school marching band camp. I'm starting to wonder if we have confused the role of worship leader with drum major.

If you know what a drum major does, they give COMMANDS to the band. The band members don't really need to have ANY information about WHY they are supposed to do whatever the drum major commands them to do - they just do it. The drum major just blows a whisle, or yells a command, and the band responds - always in an affirmative response and usually by taking some action - like moving or playing a song. But leading worship is NOT the same as leading a band. We, as the members of the congregation, are not supposed to just blindly follow our leaders as a band follows the commands of a drum major. Why is it that all too often our worship leaders just say "Stand and sing" and we just do it ... no questions asked?

Worship leaders - have you stopped to realize that if you always just give 'instructions' on what to do that you really aren't leading worship - and that what you are doing could be easily replaced by instructions on the screen?

It's time for all of us to expect more from our worship leaders - and ourselves if that is the case.

Consider the following sequence - if you were in the congregation, just entering the room.

WORSHIP LEADER:

Good morning everyone, would you please stand and sing with us.

SONG:

Holy, Holy, holy! Lord God Almighty! .... God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!
Holy, holy, holy! all the saints adore Thee, Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
Cherubim and searphim falling down before Thee, Which wert and art and evermore shalt be.

Now compare the effectiveness of the following:

WORSHIP LEADER:

Isaiah told us: "In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: 'Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!"

SONG:

Holy, Holy, holy! Lord God Almighty! .... God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!
Holy, holy, holy! all the saints adore Thee, Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
Cherubim and searphim falling down before Thee, Which wert and art and evermore shalt be.

Now tell me honestly - which sequence will result in you singing in a more engaged manner with more focus?

Yes, the followers of Jesus Christ should be ready to give Him praise at any moment; however, we are still fallen creatures and we need some gentle reminders about why we are singing what we are singing - not just expected to stand and sing - and to automatically remember Isaiah's words.

CHALLENGE TO WORSHIP LEADERS:

Take a few extra minutes this week to review your worship flow and give your congregation just a bit more 'why' before you ask them to do something.

Oh ... and please leave the drum major's whistle at home!

 

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