I think in many ways worship* is something like a muscle. Everyone has a capacity for it, but you can also have an aptitude for it. Part of this aptitude could very well be how musically-inclined you are, but that isn’t really a very good indicator. There are some very musical people who do not worship and there are some people who just can’t carry a tune but are instantly caught up in it.
It’s partly to do with mind-set, as I blogged about here. It’s easy for someone who’s really into music to forget that the heart of worship isn’t about the music or the musician, but about the One that the worship is directed to. It’s very easy to get distracted about how the music is or isn’t picking up, how it is or isn’t good enough. It’s very easy to shift the focus of worship on to the worship itself.
I have had edifying talks over several nights with several people about worship and the state of our worship teams. It’s always encouraging to know that there are others who care just as much about the direction of our corporate worship and also very humbling to be reminded over and over that I do not always get it right and that there are other people striving for the same thing in their own ways.
That said, worship is really like a muscle because it can be built and strengthened – you can increase your aptitude and capacity - or it can fall into disuse or weaken from abuse. There are many times that I just want them to disband the worship team and start from scratch – and that was one of the things we talked about for both the youth team and the main service team (both seriously AND jokingly!). I also managed to be really mean and blunt, which I am when I’m really disillusioned (sorry, guys).
I don’t doubt that most of the people in the team once had a great capacity for worship. Maybe it’s just the way we’ve been running things (or the way we lack in running things, for that matter) that has gotten us to where we are. It could also be the way we tend to cater to the weakest, which is a nice thing to do in the short run, but can be pretty devastating for the long term.
Then Yuen Thern starts talking about really building the team, mentoring them and immersing them into worship; of working together to rebuild that culture and practice of worship**. And you know what? That really is a better solution. You don’t cut off your muscles because they aren’t working right - you go for physiotherapy. You work at it and rebuild it. It’s not going to happen overnight. It’s going to be a tough journey and it really is going to be for the long haul. But it will be worth it***.
I’m in. Are you?
* as in reference to worship in song, not your life as a worship. I suppose this always needs to be clarified. I don’t want you to get me wrong. Your life and how you live it is your worship and the work you do is part of it. Forgive me if I want to concentrate on a small portion of it. I’m pretty narrow-minded.
** I love it when he gets that way! It’s been way too long since I’ve heard this passion from him. Perhaps I haven’t been listening hard enough.
*** I'm also really excited about our current group of worship leaders. I do think that there is SO much potential overflowing here, and I think that we should hang out more. Who knows what may happen when all our visions align and ignite?