Sunday, August 27, 2006

LEADING WORSHIP: passion & restraint

When I was learning with Brian Doerksen, one of the things he encouraged us to do was to look at how much we did spontaneous times in worship. Whilst musicians really love having times of 'free worship' because they are comfortable with improvising - non musicians find it really hard, and so they tend to disengage - in other words, it can really hinder their response in worship.

To be honest, I wasn't sure at the time if this was the right way forward - but I tried it out just in case Brian was right :) Almost immediately in our church at home, the worship times went from about 60% of people really connecting with God, to maybe 90%!! It was such a marked difference! I remember looking at people completely lost in worship who previously had just stood and looked at me - I had thought they weren't interested in worship!, but it turned out they just couldn't access all the spontaneous stuff.

What I've found out as I've gone along since then is that this is about context. On a Sunday morning, there's such a mixture of people that you have to walk the line between 'passion & restraint' - not avoiding times of free expression, but keeping it fairly short so that it doesn't get in the way of people trying to worship. On the other hand, if you are leading at a night of worship - the majority of people there are going to be really into music, and so you can get away with a lot more.

It all boils down to that first question you ask when you lead - 'who am I leading, and how can I help them connect'.

I'd love to hear if you've been walking this tension too, and how you've found it.


Blogger The Worship Guy said...

Hey Kathryn,

Love this's something I am constantly trying to keep before my team. Our role is to help create and environment where people can connect with God. If we lose sight of that, the worship experience will most definitely suffer.

I'm also trying to get them to come around the vision that we have to allow our people to be moved by songs that moved us a long time ago. Though they're tired of leading Holy is the Lord, it is still helping our people connect. They were also pretty bummed when we did Brenton Brown's new song Hosanna...I changed the chorus to a straight beat instead of the upbeat he uses on the album. It was great for a studio cut, but putting the snare on the upbeat is the fast track to our crowd totally disengaging. They get really flustered if it's not obvious where they are supposed to clap. Musically it's not as fun...but oh to see the people worship God. I wouldn't trade it! Thanks for your post Kathryn.

28 August, 2006 17:39  

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