Okay, this title is sort of true, sort of false. Let me explain…
Music has been a passion of mine for most of my life. I wrote my first “worship” song when I was 4 and I started playing guitar when I was 12. I also played on music teams and had a chance to lead one for the first time when I was 13. Now I lead music teams regularly in church, at youth events, camp, and conferences.
Leading music is something I’m fairly confident with, and I also love doing it.
I’ve had multiple people come to me after a service and tell me that I have a “calling” on my life to lead worship. For some reason, this has really been grating on me. And I’ve finally figured out why…
Worship is not singing.
I’m sure for the majority of us, when you read the blog title, you immediately thought music. I absolutely ABHOR the fact that we call our bands “worship teams” and our services “worship services”. Somehow we’ve adopted this idea that the way we worship is through singing and clapping and raising our hands. But I’ve been doing some studying in the Bible, and only a small fraction of verses that talk about worship actually mention music at all!
I had a moment of stern observation at YC Edmonton this past weekend… I realized that even if every single one of the 10,000 people in the Rexal Place all lift up their hands and get into the music, it’s not true worship unless it changes the way we live. Worship is more than singing!
Worship is not something we turn on and off.
We have all probably gone to “worship services” where they tell us “It’s time to worship”. But we are not born to worship, we were born worshiping. We don’t decide to worship when we go to church, we worship every single moment of the day. When we wake up in the morning the default mode of our hearts is worship. Every choice we make during our day shows who we worship… whether it’s our own happiness, money, sex, food, whatever.
You see it in little kids right from the get-go. When they don’t get their way, or when they are hungry, sad, mad, whatever, they make sure the whole world knows. They worship themselves. And most of us still do this, if you think about it. Most of the decisions we make during the day are made with our happiness as the motivation.
Worship should be a lifestyle.
Here’s a short and not exhaustive list of what true worship is according to the Bible…
- sacrifice (Gen 22v5)- this means giving something up for God. For me, this is getting up earlier than I would like so that I can read the Bible, or perhaps spending gas money on kids that need rides, even when I don’t feel like it.
- submission (Ex 34)- this is saying “Yes” to God, choosing to live God’s way instead of my own.
- admiration (Deut 4v19)- so often I admire creation instead of praising the Creator! This is one I gotta work on.
- who you turn to (Deut 11v16)- when the going gets rough, who you turn to determines who you worship. For me, it’s so easy to just try to do it on my own strength instead of turning to God!
- humility (Josh 5v14)- this means considering and living in such a way that you know God is in charge, and that you are no better than anyone else
- what you spend time and money on (1 Kings 12v30)- this is a big one. Convicting, yes?
Alright, so to clarify and summarize: the title was sort of misleading. I don’t feel called to lead worship if that means music. Music is not enough! But I do feel called to lead people to worship God by the way I live my life. And if that includes singing some tunes, I’m all for it.