For the past 8 years, I’ve had the privilege of being part of a worship team ushering people into God’s presence on Sunday morning. Since 2011, I’ve had the honor of helping lead worship at our home church, Trinity Bible Church of Richardson.
One of the on-going discussions I’ve had with various people centers on the topic of performance. Specifically, what role does performance play in leading worship Sunday mornings, if any at all.
Honestly, some people balk at the hearing the word “performance” associated with worship.
Longtime worship leader Paul Baloche has said that worship is “better felt than tellt”. However, he stresses that preparation and playing skillfully are part of stewarding the privilege of ushering people into God’s presence.
“Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.” Psalm 33:3 (NIV)
Being faithful as a worship musician requires having both a heart for the Lord and the discipline to practice your instrument. A lack of either one can lead to us being a distraction from the very One we are calling others to worship.
When you are on stage, you don’t want to be a distraction. You want people to see the joy-filled, loving heart for the Lord that the Spirit is empowering you with. Indeed, you want your cup to overflow, not underwhelm because of a poor countenance.
Yes, it’s hard sometimes.
At our church, our Pastor likes to preach a series, going through an entire book or letter in the Bible. There are times when I feel like I’m living what he is preaching that week. Sometimes, life is a beating. But, I can’t burden the congregation with that. It’s simply not right for me too. They are depending on me to play skillfully and perform joyfully, helping them draw nearer to the Lord through offering Him a song, whether it be a song of praise or hymn of devotion. Whatever troubles I may be facing, I must take them to the Lord in prayer, hand them over to Him, and leave them there. I must trust in the Lord and lean not on my own understanding.
As a worship musician, it’s important to cultivate a heart for the Lord. Stay in God’s Word, talk to Him in prayer, and trust Him to complete the work that He started in you. He’s got you; so there’s nothing to worry about, no matter how uncalming the storms you encounter first appear. He can do all things; for Him nothing is impossible.
You must have a heart of worship while striving to perform with excellence. As worship leaders and musicians, we are called to give our all—heart, mind, soul and strength for Him who alone is worthy of all honor, glory, and praise. Hallelujah!