In about February this year, the worship director of our campus ministry asked me to share at their worship team retreat about the Heart of Worship.
When I crafted the message for the retreat, I prayerfully considered what God would have me say to this group, without thinking much more about the impact of that message.
Since then, I have now shared the Heart of Worship message three times. The one which I have recorded and which you can listen to in this post was the most recent, which was shared during our main service Worship Team Night on 26 April 2016.
The second time I shared the message (in a modified form) was during our leaders’ meeting. After I shared the message, I saw our worship pastor Dave cry. This was quite an achievement (or perhaps more correctly, something which the Holy Spirit achieved). I have walked with Dave for the past nearly four years, and until that moment, had never seen him cry. He has gone through difficult challenges, criticisms and conflict, but he has always taken them in his stride. Occasionally, I wondered if he had any emotion at all.
So it is quite an honour and a privilege to serve with a leader who, when he cries, cries about the things of God.
Dave and I took over the leadership of our church’s ministry in July 2013. Since then, we have put a lot of effort into honing our craft and building teamwork. These initiatives have increased our skill level significantly to the point that if you visited our church, the level of “delivery” in our worship sets is pretty consistent each week.
But we realised that, at least in a public setting, not once in that time did we ever address our team about the heart of worship.
So this message on the Heart of Worship has become a necessary mid-course correction for our team. Not so much that what we have been doing so far has been wrong. In fact, what we have been doing has been very good and should be celebrated and improved upon. But we also need to balance our focus.
This is because we cannot talk about the excellencies of worship without addressing the heart. Primarily, the task o the worship team is to lead people into encounter with God through music and song. “Leading people to encounter God” is the key task. Music and song is the vehicle.
Jesus tells the Samaritan woman in John 4:23-24 that the Father is seeking worshippers who will worship in spirit and in truth. What is conspicuously missing in His description of worship is any mention of click tracks, guitar riffs or, for that matter, music and song.
Put simply, worship in spirit and truth is worship that emanates from the heart, guided and transformed by the truth of God’s word. True worship happens when we encounter God in our heart.
Many people have now asked me to put my message on the web, so here it is. It probably wasn’t the best delivered message – I was pretty tired that night – but I pray that as you listen to it, God will really minister to you.
Over the next few posts, I will include and amplify on some of the main points.