Monday, August 18, 2008

"Worship Leader"--I hate that term!

As I begin preparing again for my role as “worship leader” this week, I’m struck again by how much I don’t like that terminology—“worship leader”. This term seems to suggest that the preaching/teaching of the Word is not “worship”. We come to church and for the first 30 minutes or so (or much longer, depending on what church you go to) we “worship” and then…the sermon. I’m not going to begin a series on what I think worship is (I’ve already got two series’ started that I don’t post to as often as I’d like!); I’m just venting over this popular term that’s used to describe what I do two or three Sundays a month.

I really don’t have an alternative term to use at the moment. And even though I’m sure that what I do at our church may differ dramatically with what other “worship leaders” do at other churches (different styles, different emphasis, etc.), the use of the term in question still conveys a sense of (at least) two different things going on within any given church service. We certainly come to church to worship our God and Savior, but it almost seems as if when the “worship leader” is finished “leading the worship” and sits down…well…now we’re finished “worshipping”. But of course, we stay a little longer (sometimes a lot longer :-) because we’re still supposed to listen to what the preacher has to say.

I’m sure we don’t always consciously think this way, but I’ve seen it too often (not at my church, of course :-) where people seem to get a “rush” when “worshipping” through the music and then just “settle in”, so-to-speak, with a board expression on their face and in their body language as the preacher does his thing. But, on the other hand, I’ve also noticed times when people seem to just “grin and bear” with the “first part” of the service (usually the music, of course) in order to get to the good stuff of the second part of the service (usually the preaching). Sometimes I wonder if people understand that it is all worship. If our very lives are to be “worship”, then certainly everything we do in a church service is “worship”.

I can’t count the number of churches I’ve attended in the past where, no matter what time the service is scheduled to begin, people are walking in sometimes as much as 15 minutes late! Do they not like the “worship” part of the service? Or, on the other hand, people will be at church on time and participate in the “worship” and then just “tune out” in various ways when the “worship” is over and the preaching begins. Do they not like the “sermon” part of the service?

I think if we were to consciously start thinking about the whole service as “worship”, then we may begin to take each “part” of the service seriously and with the same eager anticipation. I don’t know how much the term “worship leader” contributes to this mind-set, but words and terms convey “ideas” and it is very easy for…well…umm…let me put it this way: it’s very easy for “not right” ideas to seep into our thinking and sometimes very difficult to recognize and then remove them. I’ve never thought about how I used to “worship” before I became a “worship leader”; but looking back I can see where I’ve created the artificial distinction within my own mind between the “worship” part of the service and the “sermon” part of the service. It can be a subtle distinction within a mind, but it can easily lead to a despising of the Word. When I see 45 minute long “worship” services and a 25 minute “sermon” tacked on at the end, well…you get my drift.

“Worship leader” is a term that I don’t like using for myself. But is there an alternative?

Ok…I’m finished “venting”. Time to prepare for “worship”! :-)

9 comments:

jeleasure said...

Jason,
I apologize for missing the comment section. I posted a comment in the previous post on 'annihilation' that was meant for this window.

Great Googly Moogly! said...

That's fine, Jim. I'll take comments anywhere on anything! :-)

Thanks for the link. I'll have to check it out tomorrow--I'm packing it in for the evening.

Your friend's condition sounds terrible. I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to lift her up before our great and mighty Lord. As children of our heavenly Father we certainly should be concerned with one another--to love one another. This is befitting our status as Brothers and Sisters in Christ.

Thanks Jim.

jeleasure said...

Thanks Jason
Befitting - love one another.

preacherman said...

Wonderful post.
Thanks for sharing this with us.
We all should be leading eachother in worship.
It is in worship if our focus is truely on God that we, the entire body experiences His glory.
Keep up the great work you are doing!
I hope you have a great week!!!!

jeleasure said...

Hey Jason,
I'm busy networking tonight. Here is a blogger you may want to add to your blogger's link list.
Her name is Amanda. She said she would link with whomever I sent her from my network.
Do You Really Have to Kiss Frogs?
Tell her I sent you,
Jim

thekingpin68 said...

As I begin preparing again for my role as “worship leader” this week, I’m struck again by how much I don’t like that terminology—“worship leader”. This term seems to suggest that the preaching/teaching of the Word is not “worship”.

Hey, I hope this goes really for you.

We certainly come to church to worship our God and Savior, but it almost seems as if when the “worship leader” is finished “leading the worship” and sits down…well…now we’re finished “worshipping”. But of course, we stay a little longer (sometimes a lot longer :-) because we’re still supposed to listen to what the preacher has to say.

I think a type of active worship has ended for a time once the music stops. I personally worship the Lord through interacting with preaching.

I can’t count the number of churches I’ve attended in the past where, no matter what time the service is scheduled to begin, people are walking in sometimes as much as 15 minutes late! Do they not like the “worship” part of the service?

Some persons love the Lord but do not like Christian worship music for the most part...guess who?;)

My answer is no. But I realize many persons are reached through the music.

I have a couple new articles.:)

Russ

Great Googly Moogly! said...

Preacherman,

You said it well.

Thanks for the comment!

Great Googly Moogly! said...

Thanks Jim, I'll check it out when I have a little more time.

Great Googly Moogly! said...

Yeah...I can appreciate that the singing part of worship is "active" and therefore lends itself to a more "worship" feel; but as you said, "I personally worship the Lord through interacting with preaching."

Someone once said that our singing is our active communication with God, and the preaching of the Word is God's active communication with us; but that it is all worship. I can live with that, but I still don't think a vast majority of contemporary worship services elevate the "sermon" to its proper place. While I believe that the whole service is "worship", I still believe that the preaching/teaching of the Word is the highpoint of the worship service.

Call me old-fashioned, but I still like singing the classics from the old "hymnbook" (which we do at our church :-) And I like singing every verse! I don't go for this, "We'll sing the first, second and fourth stanzas..." What's up with that? Is the third verse heretical in every hymn? Do you save that much time leaving out a verse. And why do you need to save this precious little time when the pastor is only going to be "preaching" for 25 minutes?

Here I go again... :-)

Thanks Russ, I'll check the articles out.