We often prepare songlists for church services which go for 25 minutes. It gets quite easy and routine. You do four songs, two fast, two slow, maybe have a scripture reading somewhere, a bit of open worship after the first of the slow songs and finish up with some enthusiastic applause.
But how do you prepare for a 2 hour worship set with 6 worship leaders? And also make sure that it spans the generation divide?
This is what I’ve been struggling with as we prepare for Global Day of Worship in Perth.
I can tell you now that I think I bit off more than I could chew!
Here are a few things I learnt in the last couple of days about the process (in no particular order except where this is obvious):
// Focus on God first!
// Then focus on the journey of worship.
// Make sure your songs help people to worship (a timely reminder from Pastor Yoy)
// Make sure there are some newer songs that are currently relevant.
// Make sure there are some older songs that aren’t so old that no one remembers them.
// Work on tension and release – break the tension at key points.
// You don’t need as many songs as you think. Give some time over for “soaking”.
// You don’t need to do all the songs that you like. Remind yourself this is not the last time you’ll do something like this.
// Cull, cull, cull again!
// Worship lots in the process, lest you lose focus again and start thinking through the unending variables.
One of the songs young Derwin suggested, which is fairly new, is “Your Presence is Heaven to Me” by Micah Massey and Israel Houghton. It’s an amazing song and I think God will really use it to draw people to His presence.
Here is the video:
And here is another version which medleys “Forever Reign”, “There’s Just Something About That Name” and “Your Presence is Heaven”:
I worshipped a lot with this song as I was preparing – and it helped bring in the focus.
In Exodus 33, Moses prays a prayer of desperation. “God, You might get us into the promised land; you might bring us victory, success, prosperity, wealth, but if Your presence doesn’t go with us, don’t take us from this place”.
There’s something about worship that invites and invokes the immediacy of God’s presence (Ps 22). How we need His presence more and more!
I can tell you now that if we do the Global Day of Worship just for the sake of playing music, or even getting churches together (whilst all good reasons), it would be in vain if God’s presence didn’t show up.
How important is God’s presence? The whole Biblical narrative is about the loss and recovery of God’s presence. The fall is about banishment; the law is about hosting God’s presence; the Psalms is about inviting His presence in song; the Prophets are about not taking God’s presence lightly; the Gospels are about God’s incarnate presence through Jesus; Acts is about God’s empowering presence through the Spirit; the Epistles is about God’s presence being manifested through the church and Revelation is about the permanence of God’s presence in the new Jerusalem.
Lord, we need Your presence!