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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Worship 5: Connecting with Church Worship

imageIf worship is a core value of a Jesus follower, then how we experience worship in the church setting is important. I have to say that keeping our family connected with great church worship has been one of the success stories of my married life with Colleen.




Five great questions of life: Life * Love * Learning * Labor * Leadership

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Worship 5: Connecting with Church Worship

By Evan Nehring

These things I remember as I pour out my soul:
     how I used to go with the multitude,
  leading the procession to the house of God
     with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng.
  Psalm 42:4
If worship is a core value of a Jesus follower, then how we experience worship in the church setting is important. I have to say that keeping our family connected with great church worship has been one of the success stories of my married life with Colleen.

In his book, The Worship God Is Seeking, David Ruis talks about the togetherness of worship.
The worship God seeks has gathering at its heart. The journey into worship is a journey into community. Beyond obligation or guilt, there is a Spirit-breathed longing to join our lives and voices together in worship before God. There are things to be discovered in the corporate place of worship that can never be unlocked in our personal prayer closet or personal worship space, as powerful as those times are.
Worship 5: Connecting with Church Worship

Here are a few thoughts about connecting with God through worship in the Church.
 

Find a Place That Feels Like Home

We can talk about many styles of worship: traditional, contemporary, campy, rockin', blended, top 40, piano and organ, guitar-based. We can talk about fast vs. slow. We can talk about hymns vs. choruses. But the bottom line is, do you feel comfortable enough to experience God's presence?

Have a Double Standard

That's right. You heard me. I think a double standard is helpful with church worship. Let me explain.

If I am leading people into God’s presence, I pursue musical and spiritual excellence. But if I am not on worship team, I commit myself to connecting with Jesus whether or not the music is awesome. Don’t let the songs someone else picks dictate your response to God.

The Excellence Strategy

When I was a music pastor, one of my clearest convictions was that people appreciate excellence even if it's not exactly their style. So that helps a lot. In all of the tension over styles of worship, if we do it with excellence it helps many more people make that God connection.

Watching Others and Being Watched

Like any other public activity, some actions are socially OK and some, well, not so much. I've grown by leaps and bounds as a worshiper by watching people I respect pour out their hearts to God in church. Hopefully, my kids and the next generation of worshipers will also have solid examples of pursuing God in worship.


Question

So, those are some of my thoughts on connecting with church worship. Am I onto something? Do you have other thoughts that help you connect with God as a worshiper or worship leader in church?


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10 comments:

  1. The last few years I have had a hard time connecting during church worship times and I am really not sure why. I should probably figure out why that is. I did connect with God big time at the Jesus Culture conference in Chicago last summer and I have continued to connect with God since through their music and I notice Its easier for me to connect with God through some of their songs over other artists. I wonder why that is? hmm

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    1. Mike, I'm so jealous of your visit to the JC conference! The YouTube videos I've seen have been really something.

      There's no question that the actual music makes a difference. I don't want to downplay that. And how perfect for you to take the initiative to seek out something like the conference and their tunes. Sometimes that's how the connection happens best.

      Praying for you for the church worship connect.

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  2. I have to agree with you Evan, Mark and I have always made worship at the church we attend a priority. I think it has helped both our marriage and our childrens lives.

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    1. Sometimes it's just a discipline, eh? But it ends up paying off, as you've said. All the best, Mr. and Mrs. Mark!

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  3. I like your phrase, "Don’t let the songs someone else picks dictate your response to God." I'm on the worship team where I fellowship, and sometimes you can see some of the older folks cringe when the music starts. Some of them have even said to me, "why don't you play any of the 'old songs' anymore?" In response, we tried to include older hymns in a blended style of worship. Then I found out what they meant by "old songs" was their "favourite songs" by Bill Gaither. Hey, no problem, I like Southern Gospel, so we put a few of those in and the complaints stopped.

    But your sentence - it really says it all. If you aren't connecting with the Lord because you don't like the music or are unfamiliar with it, then you have a bad attitude toward worship, and you are not going to enjoy the Lord's presence. (Having said that, a worship team should try to be accomodating to a diverse congregation.)

    Great blog!

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    1. I'll be honest, Gerry, I've had to work on the bad attitude sometimes. I've had reasonable success, but I understand the disenfranchised feeling too.

      Thanks for being so conciliatory in your local church!

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  4. This is such a hot topic for me. I wish I wasn't typing on my iPhone. I am a worship leader that loves the new and the old music but when I'm not leading, I do have a hard time with the songs others pick. They don't have a great message that speaks to me or the flow seems all wrong. I know my leading isn't perfect and in my weakness I totally rely on the Spirit to move but naturally I connect more with my favorite songs. I am working on it too , constantly, to seek God and focus on Him instead of the worship team. It's too easy to be a critic but we need to support each other in the ministry and that is so encouraging even if we can only find one little good thing to say.
    Heather Block

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    1. Heather, thanks for your honesty on this. When worship is really important to us, it does become a touchy subject. I think there's something good about that because it shows that we care.

      We may not control everything that happens, and that could be a good thing. But we can do our best to be a good influence to bring musical excellence and connection with the presence of God. I think that's worth more than we sometimes give it credit for.

      And then there are always our personal times of worship to really help fill us up spiritually. Sometimes those are lifeline!

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  5. Worship brings me closer to God than anything. One of my top reasons, i live my bed to go to Church.Worshiping with fellow believers is un compared to. Great work

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  6. Hellen, I agree: there's nothing like worshiping together! God's best to you and your worship gang this week!

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