I am a preacher, a pastor and a teacher. I am not a worship leader, or am I?
I think in many ways, we have relegated the topic of “Worship” to simply being expressed in music, whether its in church on Sunday or singing along with your radio. Worship has become a formulaic definition, simplified by our meager attempts to explain it.
Worship is much more than we have allowed it to be defined as. I truly believe worship is not something that is done, but something that simply is. Worship is a part of who we are. We all worship, we all give praise, not just in snippets, but with our very lives.
Romans 12:1-2 says: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Our spiritual act of worship is one of complete surrender. A life given over as a sacrifice to the Lord. Every moment of my life should be an act of worship. My life should be surrounded in worship. My public life. My alone life. My sex life. My Father life. All should be set up as worship venues in which I give forth praise to God. When I preach, I am leading in worship. When I write I am leading in worship. When I have conversation with anyone, I am leading in worship.
When we relegate the term “Worship” to one aspect of life, to one style, one form, or one segment of a service we are in the wrong. Worship is deeper, richer and more fulfilling than that. It’s not an easy formula, it’s not a quick answer.
Some people when asked: “How’s your worship?” People go immediately to how their church’s worship service is on Sunday and they will say: “The music is too slow, too loud, too soft, too upbeat, too happy, too sad…” Or “I really like our new worship leader, I engage with God really well when he leads”. This hints towards a simple expression of “My worship is dependant on Sunday morning and the people on the stage”.
If you are only “really engaging in worship when a certain leader leads” you’ve missed the point of worship.
Worship is a life expression of surrender to God. Have you surrendered your life fully over to God? Every moment? I know I haven’t. I know I have a ton of work to do in order to be living out my “spiritual act of worship”. It’s not easy to be a worshipper because it is a demanding business, it’s hard to sacrifice my life to God. It’s hard to live every moment given over to him…in fact its down right impossible.
I am sure many people have said what I just said, one of them is my good friend Ricky Ortiz who is on staff at my church as the “Worship Chief Musician”. Why do we continue to limit worship? I am a worship leader, you are a worship leader so let’s live out our calling as worshippers. Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to give us the deep desire to lay it all out on the table.