Last night I led worship at an area Praise and Worship meeting in the middle of our region. It was a really interesting experience, and I pray God was really blessed by our worship. Those gathered seemed to really want to celebrate what God is doing in their lives, and a colleague at DHQ brought a message all about ‘grace’…quite a blessing really.
The reason it was such an interesting experience for me is that I’m really learning a whole load about the way that I feel God is directing me in leading worship. You see, the Sally Army has adopted a particular method of worship known as ‘songbook sandwich’ to connoisseurs! What that basically means is that we say hi, sing a song, pray, sing a song, listen to a band or choir, sing a song, have a kids story, song a song…do I need to go on? Although God can use this to really create awesome worship, I found something confirmed deep within me that I fear may be on the verge of organisational heresy…I can’t do it anymore! I can’t just plan a programme in the same old way, blindly, without even thinking about it.
God deserves so much more. He deserves not to be constrained by our plans. He deserves more than just 10 cursory minutes spent thinking about his message to us. He deserves worship that is vibrant, raw and passionate. Where people meet together to experience something and hear the word of God preached in a totally relevant and spirit filled worship. Perhaps this might mean throwing the plan out of the window when God shows up and just listening instead of filling the time with noise.
I guess that this is one of the meanings of ‘authentic’ for me…worship that allows us to be broken, allows us to party our a**** off. Allows us think about the world we live in and give it all up to God. Allows us to realise that actually, God wants us out there doing the whole mission thing. Ritual and formalism has its place, don’t get me wrong. But so does sheer unrestrained blooming bonkers worship where it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been walking with God -you’re important. Worship which makes sense in one way but is beyond understanding in another…and yet totally accessible to whoever and whenever. Is it really impossible to let God do this?
I know this isn’t new, and it’s not entirely new to me either…but it just confirms something I’ve been thinking about lately. Thing is…am I brave enough to start doing this outside of a youth context? Hmm…I’ll get back to you on that!