For many churches the criteria to lead worship may simply be the following. The person should show evidence of love for God, show signs of maturing in character, and be able to play music and/or sing reasonably well. I’d like to challenge us to press that standard just a bit further.
I remember once hearing Matt Redman say in a workshop I attended that we are teachers as we lead in worship. It is actually a responsibility we take upon ourselves when we choose to lead the ‘family’ of God. (James 3:1)
Growing up in evangelical circles there was often a distinction between the ‘worship’ time and ‘the sharing of the word’. And rightfully so… to an extent. However, much theology is shared within our times of praise and worship together. It may be bad theology, simplistic theology, or great theology. Nonetheless it’s happening, loud and clear. Those who hear will get a sense of what we believe (and what we emphasize) rather quickly when listening to us sing.
The Things We Remember Most
As you probably have heard, music actually helps people remember things. Whether it’s units of measurement, the alphabet, whole phrases, lists, or ideas. The depth of thought and doctrinal truth in our songs does matter. Lyrics in our tunes may be some of the only content people will rehearse in their heads or remember post service!
Creeds and hymns with theological truths built into them have been common place in the Church since its inception for this very reason.
Love God With All Your Mind
Jesus added an element to the Deuteronomy 6:5 commandment in Matthew 22. He stated we are to love the Lord with all our mind.
It may be helpful to think of our times of worship together in the modes of loving God that Jesus prescribes. We should have worship that loves God with all our strength. Emotion, out-loud-vocalized praise, passion are all rational responses to so great a God and grace given. Loving him with our heart and sincerity. And loving Him with our mind. In thought and deed, and with our intellect – which God made as much to bring Him glory as any other part of His creation.
My mother’s favorite hymn has a few lines that sum it up pretty well:
“Take my lips, and let them be filled with messages from Thee … Take my intellect, and use every power as Thou shalt choose … Take my heart; it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne” – From “Take My Life And Let It Be” by Frances Ridley Havergal
Step Up To The Challenge
Our worship can go deeper in so many ways (what an encouraging thought to us all!)
As for those that facilitate our services: we can do so in a manner of excellence and with content that is substantive, timely, and riddled with truth. Let’s take on this task ever improving in skill both in our craft and in the word of God, rightly dividing it. In turn this will cause joy for those who hear it.