The Set Is Finished, Now What?
Have you ever watched "Extreme Home Makeover" where they renovate a house in like a week or something ridiculous like that? I heard a speaker talking about how even though this was a show intended to increase people's compassion for others and demonstrate what good works looks like it had quite the opposite effect. Essentially people were having their emotional needs for compassion met by the TV show and no longer felt as great of an urgency to help those around them. I couldn't find the article so you can fact check me, but the principle is that we can easily feel like we are doing something when we only viewing or experiencing it.
Meeting Needs Without Meeting Needs
I take that right into my understanding of times of corporate worship. Nearly every time we lead an extended time of worship we seem to be unable to end the time together. I'll finish our last song and let everyone know that we are done. Often times people just sort of sit there, content in the moment. For a while, I've thought of how we need to address the ways we wrap up significant times of worship, ways to find closure or a resting place. Lately, however, I've taken a different position.
Just like in "Extreme Home Makeover" we can leave church content in our spiritual need for religion and fail to take Christ into our daily lives. Perhaps when we find ourselves in moments of worship that we can't seem to escape it's because we are not supposed to escape them. In a sense, the song, prayer, and praise are meant to continue on into our individual lives as an echo of what God has done at that moment.
Leading In A Box Or In A Culture
That brings up an interesting topic regarding how we prepare and lead worship. I used to really focus on the 20-25 minutes of music that I had to lead on a Sunday. I expected that to be the full measure of my worship; coming in, meeting the Lord, being changed, and being sent out. That was honestly the culture that I was raised in, but that culture did not have what I would call life in Christ. It wasn't a community of daily worshippers. The worship wasn't alive in that community because the people were unable to engage in worship, perhaps because they were unaware of what God was doing at that moment.
Translating Daily Worship To Community Worship
If we are worshipping throughout our daily lives, our gatherings become an overflow of that worship. Instead of worship being confined to a specific time, space, style, or song, worship becomes a collective "YES!" to what God is doing throughout the community. It is complete with the unique stories and perspectives each member brings joining together in a beautiful conglomerate of praise.
Here are three things I love about community worship and how they relate to the value of Daily Worship.
One - Clapping and Shouting
No matter what style of worship, school of theology, or level of skill you possess, everyone benefits from participation. My favorite moments of worship are when communities erupt in the applause of heaven. It's a beautiful moment when we simply cannot hold back our expression of worship and thankfulness to the Lord. One of my favorite worship videos is barely a worship song at all, it's this video of thousands of worshippers applauding the Lord. Clapping and shouting empower other believers and reminds us that we are not in this alone. As soon as two hands meet and the sound is created it is a testimony to the faithfulness of God. Soon others join in with the testimony and it spreads through the community, affirming the communal work of Christ.
Two - Lifted Hands and Bowing
In many cases, lifted hands represents freedom in worship. But lifted hands are also a declaration of surrender, reaching for the Lord, and an opening of our hearts to God's voice.
I love this depiction of a moment of worship as a community expereinces freedom through worship with their lifted hands an element of this expression. What often seems unnatural to those who are not yet engaged in the presence of the Lord is simply the natural response to the presence of the Holy Spirit. About 11 and a half minutes into the video the worship leader spontaneously is singing that "this is what our hearts look like" as they bow before the Lord in worship.
Three - Testimonies
Something powerful happens when a story or testimony is connected to moment of worship. This story behind the moments shaping "God With Us" is such a great example of how the testimonies of God working in his people's lives can enhance and bring perspective into a moment of worship.
Co-Host of People Of Freedom