Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Is leading worship... worship?

I have grown up leading worship in the church in various forms. Playing piano, playing guitar, singing (although that's certainly not my forte), bass, drama, and etc. I've always considered this as part of my ministry. But while I'm leading worship, I often find it hard to focus entirely on God. There are times when I can put my music playing on auto-pilot and actually focus more on God, but for the most part, I have to focus on the task at hand. That's just the way it is. I have to find other venues to actually focus purely on God in a worship setting where I'm not actually preoccupied with making sure I'm in the right key, and I typically turn to prayer for that.

I had an interesting conversation with my brother-in-law/good friend who suggested that worship leading is actually worship in of itself. He took it further and suggested that doing anything for God can be considered as an act of worship. This could include tasks as menial as stuffing envelopes or janitorial service, and it could include preparing for a sermon or rehearsing in a praise band.

While I agree that these tasks are acts of obedience and part of our ministry, I'm not sure that it is truly an act of worship. I guess it boils down to what worship really is. Webster's defines worship as "reverence offered a divine being or supernatural power; also : an act of expressing such reverence". I fail to see how stuffing envelopes is expressing reverence. To revere is to "show devoted deferential honor to : regard as worthy of great honor." According to Webster's, stuffing envelopes is not worship. And I agree - although we are doing these tasks out of obedience and love, the actual act of these tasks is not exactly revering God.

Which leads me back to leading worhsip. When I am leading worship, I am not revering God. I am concentrating primarily on the process of leading worship. Maybe other people can do both (it's probably much easier for vocalists since they are voicing out praises), but it is too difficult for me. Therefore, since I am not actually revering God, I contend that I am not truly worshipping. And this bothers me a little. I am going to try to set aside more time where it's just God and me. Where I am truly revering God without concentrating on what chord is coming up next.

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