Showing posts with label Authenticity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Authenticity. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Open Thoughts on Worship

What does authentic congregational worship in song look like?

We see in the scriptures that in Biblical times it was most often people joining together to worship God and encourage each other with songs, hymns and spiritual songs. We are meant to focus our hearts on God and to be an encouragement to those who join together.

What if we did just what the above brief paragraph says? What would worship in song look like in today's "modern" church? 

Over the last several years I’ve observed a lot of different trends happening in worship at churches and I’m sure you have as well - Some are good and some are bad. Some are authentic and some are not. Some are genuine and some are gimmicks. 

I've been a part of church and around enough churches to see a whole range of things!...and I draw some of these from my own experiences in leading worship in Small Groups, Sunday School Classes, Retreats, Men's ministry as well as Sunday morning corporate worship.

So, I started to put together a list or “open thoughts on worship” sort of a do’s and don't's list not that it's really meant to be that rather, just a list of contrasting thoughts. Not a definitive list but as start and not in any particular order. Or, Maybe it's a list of "does" or "does not" look like list...

Some are meant to be funny although they resemble reality while others are meant to be a bit sobering.

I also want you to encourage you to join the conversation by adding to this list by leaving a comment here. 

I will continue to add to this list in the months to come and hope you will too as we seek to understand and dialogue about “what does it look like to truly worship the Lord in song and lead the congregation in worship?” (from the Worship leader as well as the worshiper standpoint.)


  • Begin with prayer as a team and as you begin to lead the congregation in worship. (as much as possible)
  • Select Christ centered songs
  • Select songs that are Biblical
  • Select a balanced mix of the old and the new songs and hymns as there's depth in both (like adding some hymns into the mix from time to time and doing them in an updated fashion is fine as long as you don't change the words/truths of the original hymn)
  • See your role as shepherding role and then shepherd the congregation in worship in song
  • Avoid songs that focus on man’s feelings or man in general
  • Select songs that focus on God
  • See worship as an opportunity to help focus and prepare the congregations hearts to receive the Word of God.
  • Be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit! 
  • Sing in a Key that is comfortable to not only you but more importantly the congregation
  • Sing the melody when you lead (only do harmony on occasion) because the congregation needs to hear their part and follow you!
  • When praying if you want to some light transition or musical accompaniment - allow someone else to play like the keyboard as it sounds better and it’s not distracting
  • Be Authentic/Transparent
  • Be Humble
  • Encourage
  • Be respectful to the worship team - respectful of their time/investment and respectful of who they are as individuals
  • Be professional in conduct
  • Connect with the congregation
  • Assess if you're truly called to lead worship
  • Enjoy what you’re doing
  • Express joy during worship
  • Practice!
  • Remember that you're also a worshiper! 
  • Strive to be an effective leader.
  • Give thought to coordinating the songs you select with the message that will be given - there might be a way to tie it together or complement the message rather than detract from it
  • Seek out a mentor - Someone who can help you grow spiritually (Disciple you) and as a worship leader or team member
  • Shepherd your team
  • Build a strong and like-minded worship team or teams
  • Remember who you’re worshiping and leading others in worship unto
  • Allow others to lead – you don’t always have to be in the center of leading worship
  • Allow the congregation to respond to the Lord in prayer, etc. and build that into the "worship set" from time to time.
  • Pray
  • Be in the Word
  • Be an enabler
  • Set an atmosphere of worship (this can mean a combination of things)
  • Make sure you're not running the sound system too hot (loud)
  • Allow others to use their gifts and talents
  • Select people who have proven character and a heart to serve
  • Open your eyes as you lead people
  • Avoid gimmicks
  • Encourage the congregation to leave the troubles of the week at the feet of Jesus

  • Select man-centered songs
  • Select songs just because they’re popular
  • Act like you’re a soloist or singing a solo when you “lead”
  • Sing the harmony if you’re leading – the congregation needs to focus on singing praises not trying to find their part!
  • Forget to teach new songs –actually try to teach it /run through it with the congregations.  Just because you know it and your team knows it doesn’t mean they do!
  • Show boat
  • Be a fake
  • Randomly yell /shout - it's OK to be excited but there should be a purpose, order, reason for everything we do!
  • Add in random or pointless vocal runs
  • Sing in a key that only dogs can hear and birds can sing in. :-)
  • Although emotions are part of a natural response to worshiping the Lord, don’t make worship out to be some emotional thing or an emotional device. There's a HUGE difference between being Spirit-Led and and emotion-led.
  • Think worship in song is a your ticket to church growth
  • Try to professionalize worship as you miss authenticity by doing so – this isn’t to say that we shouldn’t do our very best for the Lord just don’t discount non-professionals or complicate  things by making worship something it’s not
  • Be in the spotlight or seek to be in the spotlight
  • Make a big production out of worship
  • Forget that you're NOT giving a performance
  • Run the sounds system too hot (loud) as it's not a "rock concert" and you can seriously impede peoples worship and potentially damage peoples hearing. (No Joke)
  • Have a huge ego
  • Come across as impersonal
  • Stop having a choir just because you think "modern churches" don't have them anymore. There still may be room for choir as part of the "modern" worship.
  • Randomly strum your guitar while you pray…it’s distracting
  • Discount non-professionals
  • Confuse being spirit-led and your emotions. Grow to discern the difference.
  • Select the worship team based on looks alone
  • Select a worship leader just because you think they’ll drive up numbers of visitors and congregation
  • Select a worship leader just because they are young and hip
  • Select worship team members who seek to be up front
  • Select a worship team just because they are “professional”
  • Use fog machines and fancy lighting – leave that stuff for concerts at your local performing arts center as they don't really add to the worship
  • Keep your eyes closed the entire time you sing – you can be heartfelt while you worship and lead but you can’t shepherd the congregation with your eyes closed the entire time

Saturday, April 25, 2009

C.H.A.R.A.C.T.E.R. (Part 4 of 8) – Authenticity - Part 1

The Word:

Read: John 3:1-7 and Romans 10:8-11
Additional Reading: John 3:16-21, Acts 16:22-34, 1 Peter 1:2-5

“Authenticity” (Part 1) By Randolph Koch

In the age of increasing untruth and lure of worldly rewards, it is more important than ever that we live in Christ’s likeness as an authentic Christian.

Being a Christian is being a follower of Christ not merely in name but also in word and deed. This includes living our lives according to His will and by His standards as revealed in God’s Holy Word and not by our own or the world’s standards.

We are to follow Him and take up our cross daily to follow Him and our words and actions are to be a reflection of Christ because we are His name bearers.

I recall an analogy that was shared with me years ago that has many applications to our faith.

The one who shared the analogy asked, “What do you think the US treasury uses to study and train their agents in order to know the difference between fake and genuine US currency?”

Now there were a variety responses, such as, “the counterfeit money”, etc. However, the answer was given that, “They study the real currency because by studying the real currency, they will recognize the counterfeit for what it is right away!” Likewise those who know, study, and follow God’s truth with recognize untruth for what it is right away!

I’m sure you see the truth and parallel to our faith as the analogy lends itself to knowing the true Bible vs. the false ones that exist, a true church from the fake ones, as well as the difference between a true believer and a false one just to name a few.

Now, to be clear, God is the Judge of all including their salvation and ultimately it’s not our place because God is the only one who truly knows a person’s heart. However, God has given us the truth of His Word and His Holy Spirit so we’ll be able to distinguish between a true and false believer which is evident by the fruit they do or don’t bear. I’m not talking about some sort of performance or works based salvation that some might teach because the Scripture is clear regarding the fact that we cannot earn what God already did through the complete work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Rather, I’m speaking directly to how a true and authentic believer should live and be His representative in their day-to-day conduct. This is clear in the Word.

The starting point for an authentic Christian is salvation. You might say, “well duh, I know that!” However, in a world that is confused it needs to be clearly stated because some believe that they are saved and going to heave, they are Christian because they were born in a specific country such as the USA. Some also believe that they are believers because they occasionally go to church or they try to live a good and moral life.

While going to church and doing good things isn’t bad, these things are not what saves a person because we can do nothing to earn salvation and they don’t make you a Christian. No, you have to make a personal decision to follow Christ, first by believing He is the Son of God, that He died on the cross for your sins, that you are a sinner in need of salvation, that you need to repent or in-other-words – verbally and physically turn away from your sin and receive Him as savior and Lord.

Another way to put it is that you need to be born again.

Being born again is the grace of God at work as we begin a new life in Christ and enter His family as His child with a completely fresh start - a clean-slate to live and walk in forgiveness. Nicodemus, a Pharisee struggled in understanding when Jesus told him that he must be born-again. But it’s clear that Jesus communicated that being born again is what takes place when you take the step to receive salvation.

This is where true authenticity begins because if you aren’t saved then you can’t truly be a follower of Christ and cannot be capable of following Him if you are not a part of Him.

Questions to Get Started With:

-What does it mean to be saved or born again?
- How does one become saved / born-again? What does the Bible say about this?
-Am I Saved?
- Am I living an authentic life for Christ? Or, do I need to make some changes and get real with living what I say I believe?
-What does the Bible say about why Christ had to die?
-Do I realize that being born again is not about me?
-Who is Jesus Christ?

For Further Study:

1- Do a Bible study on Authenticity / What it means to be a Christian.
2- From your Bible study, select a few verses about Authenticity and memorize them. (Then review them on at least a monthly basis as a great personal tool and reminder of the importance of Authenticity)
3- Pray and ask God to help you be Authentic and also help you build at least one relationship (If you’re a man, with another man or if you’re a woman, with another woman) to the point where you can be accountable to each other so you can speak into each others lives because you’ve come to trust each other. Accountability is a real key to authenticity.

Dear Family in Christ,

As I started to study further in preparation to pick up and continue on in the CHARACTER series and specifically looking at Authenticity, it quickly became clear that there are many aspect of what it means to be an authentic Christian. You could probably spend months discussing or “preaching” on this topic but in the form of devotion I’m going to purpose to do a multi part series within the Character series on the topic of authenticity by looking at several elements that are many of the marks of an authentic believer.

There is so much one could write or say about being an authentic Christian that a devotion cannot contain a comprehensive look into this important characteristic. Furthermore, there are so many elements of authenticity that I must state that I will only hit on a few of them in the series.

So, in the weeks and months to come we’ll continue our Devotional Starters look into CHARACTER and we’ll camp on Authenticity for at least a few more Devotional Starters.

May you personally be spurred on to study and live out the life God has given you in Christ’s likeness as an authentic believer.

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With Love In Christ,

His Servant and Yours,