Shimon Perez once said:
People prefer remembering to imagining. Memory deals with familiar things; imagination deals with the unknown. Imagination can be frightening – it requires risking a departure from the familiar.
We love the safety of the familiar; the tried and true. It’s safe because it’s predictable. But growth, innovation and transformation comes from taking risks; of walking into new frontiers of unfamiliar territory.
People often say this as a foundational principle of worship leadership: “You can’t lead people to where you haven’t been before”. I understand the motivation behind such a statement. But when you think about it, is it true?
We talk about this in the context of God’s presence. Now, I’m not trying to detract from the idea of wholehearted preparation and a worship leader’s private devotion unto God. These are noble things. But every now and then, doesn’t the leader find him or herself in a place that they’ve never been before (with congregation in tow?) Doesn’t God surprise us with His limitless and uncontainable presence when we least expect it?
By definition, I think true leadership does sometimes require us to lead our people into places we’ve never been before. Courage in the face of uncertainty is a hallmark of leadership.
I was talking to a friend of mine recently and he had the most radical thought about an inter-church worship gathering. Anointed and excellent musicians who serve hard often don’t get the chance to truly worship on a Sunday. So the idea was that we would gather musicians together in a circle and just worship together. We’d be proficient enough to “go with the flow”. But (for once), it won’t be about musical excellence and precision. It won’t matter if it doesn’t sound good. Because there won’t be a secondary audience next to God. We would just worship together and if anyone wanted to take up an instrument, they can just do it. By the same token, if you want to lay down your instrument, you can do that too. No fixed agenda – just a bunch of worshipping musicians and singers enjoying God’s presence.
I loved the idea. So we’re going to do it.
We haven’t gone there before. But we are going to try anyway. We want to do something different. Will it work? Who knows? I know my friend’s motivation is pure. If it falls in a heap, we will have learnt something anyway. So what is there to lose? And yet, there is so much to gain.
So watch this space! We are aiming for a date in September!