Here at ChurchMusicToday.Net we have been privileged to have some guest writers post on the site: Pastor Mark Williams posted about thematic worship, John Cashion posted about leading a volunteer choir, Matt Deweese wrote about psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, and finally, Tim Hooper wrote about leading different styles of worship.
We are pleased to announce today that Travis Doucette, composer of God of the Ages, Defender (Call Upon the Name of the Lord), Bless the Lord, and instructor at Liberty University, begins a two-part guest blog post on ChurchMusicToday.Net!
Zach and I are thrilled about this opportunity. We are blessed to have Travis give of his time and talents. To thank him, we hope you will show support to one of his ministries, http://RedTieMusic.Com.
I pray these this post from Travis will bless your ministry and your leadership where you are serving.
Here is his guest blog article, the “ten characteristics of a worshiping church.”
Travis writes: As we strive to lead our congregations in worship each week with excellence and extravagance it can be a good idea from time to time to step back and examine what it is we’re building in our worship ministry and church. Just like an architect consults a blueprint before building a structure, we too ought to have a plan, as well as some measureable goals pertaining to what a worshipping church looks like. In this post, I’d like to share with you 5 of 10 biblical characteristics of a worshipping church that we ought to aspire to as lead worshippers.
1. Worshipping churches are built on prayer. Without prayer nothing else matters. It is by no mistake that this characteristic comes first. In Revelation 3:20, Jesus offers his presence to anyone who would welcome him in. Prayer does exactly that; it invites Christ to commune with us as we worship. In Acts 2:42 we note that prayer was one of the four primary focuses of the early church. Its primacy in our churches cannot be overstated. In the words of Jerry Falwell, “Nothing of eternal significance happens apart from prayer.”
2. Worshipping Churches are Christ Centered. When we lead our church in worship our calling is to make much of Christ and His cross. Everything we use and say ought to be drawing a large arrow that points to the one who is the head of the church (Col. 1:15-18). We point people to Christ not only with the songs we sing, but in how we craft our prayers, exhort and encourage from the platform and even how we present ourselves through our appearance, staging and lighting. The worship leader’s job is done when eyes are off self and situations and onto Jesus Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith (Heb. 12:2)
3. Worshipping Churches are Holy Spirit Empowered. Your church and worship ministry are going nowhere fast unless they’re banking on the power of the Holy Spirit alone. When we lead people into worship, we’re believing in God for a transformational encounter. It is the work of the Spirit to change, challenge and convict lives. There’s not a single musical note we can play that will change lives. It’s the work of the Spirit, and after all He’s the ultimate worship leader (Phil. 3:3).
4. Worshipping Churches are Clear in Theology and Teaching. God’s revelation to us is clear and thus our response back to him ought to be as well. As worship leaders we are gatekeepers to doctrine and theology. Effective worship leaders are prompters that use congregational songs that are clear in their message and consistent with orthodoxy. In the Spirit of Col. 3:16, we choose to use elements of worship that promote a rich dwelling of God’s Word in the hearts of those we are serving. We accomplish clarity through Scripture infused mini-exhortations as we lead, reminding the flock what it is we’re doing and why we’re doing it.
5. Worshipping Churches are Led by Skillful and Passionate Worshippers. The leadership of a church models a worship lifestyle. We are the permission givers and the demonstrators of what it looks like to be engaged in worship both on and off our platforms. We lead faithfully and skillfully (Psalm 33:3). We are leaders who nurture expectancy in corporate worship. We raise the spiritual temperature by confidently transferring the enthusiasm we have to worship with others in the room. We never view weekends as ‘just another Sunday’, but instead we continually put to faith the words of hymn writer, Joachim Neander as we “Ponder anew what the Almighty can do!”.
6. Worshipping Churches value excellence. We are “Abel-worshippers” who are committed to costly worship (Hebrews 11:4). We raise the bar by being excellent in our character, competency and commitment to the cause of Christ. In being excellent, we seek to use a variety of creative arts in our dialogue of worship that reflect our creative God. While serving our church’s personality we carefully and skillfully take opportunities to extend the boarders of our church’s understanding of worship by exposing the flock to the full kaleidoscope of Biblical responses in worship including dance, silence, and prayer postures.
7. Worshipping Churches take personal preparation seriously. Worshipping churches come hungry, eager and ready to worship. A sense of anticipation is thick as we congregate. Churches like this are cultivated through an understanding that Sunday is a culmination of what’s already been going on through the week in the totality of their daily worship lifestyle (Luke 10:27). Churches like this understand that ‘to worship’ is as natural to humans as breathing. Yet, we will never be completely satisfied until Christ alone is the object of our worship and He is continually glorified in every area of our lives.
8. Worshipping Churches actively participate in corporate worship. They arrive on time, prepared to give their all in participating with the congregation in offering a sacrifice of worship despite their circumstances or situations. Their leaders first demonstrate this. Pastors are in the first row, engaged from the very first note having already made any last minute changes to their presentation so they can be fully engaged with their flock. Furthermore, ministry leaders raise the congregation’s spiritual temperature and encourage corporate participation through their own personal holiness. In preparation to be in God’s presence, we first repent of any un-confessed sin that could prevent the body from experiencing the fullness of God’s presence (Psalm 15).
9. Worshipping Churches experience community. They are involved in the lives of each other through small groups. They are growing in their knowledge of Christ with other believers who will both challenge and love on them. They give of their time, talent and treasure to serve the needs of others before themselves. Their love for God is defined by their obedience to His Word (John 8:32). They are aware of and see to exercise their spiritual gifts in efforts to edify the church (1 Corinthians 12:1).
10. Worshipping Churches are outward focused. Our worship is diminished and lacking if it only resides within the four corners of our church sanctuary. Truth must be lived out publicly and demonstrated from the inside out. We do this through deeds of love and sacrificial service. Such churches are engaged in compassion and mercy ministries. This is the type of ‘pure’ worship that fires up the heart of God (James 1:27). These types of churches allow Christ to break their hearts and respond to the needs around them. In turn, the Lord allows such churches to witness His supernatural restoration power in changing lives.
Feature image Photo Taken from southviewcommunitychurch.com