Playing it Safe!

It all began in 1980…

I had been asked to lead the ‘music’ at the Baptist church in my home town where my family were members.  I had no idea what I was doing and only ‘mimicked’ what I was used to seeing every weekend from those leading music from the platform.  What else did I have to draw from?  I was a freshman in college and was trying my best to help my church because they had a need I could fill.

Now fast forward to 1985…

I graduated in 1984 from college and landed a ministry position in Las Vegas at a Baptist church that was wanting me to lead their youth ministry.  I had also picked up leading youth from my previous church…that old dual position role of Music and Youth! Then in 1985, I was given the opportunity to do both ministries again…which I embraced and led while the church was growing.  What was beginning to happen was the term ‘music ministry’ was evolving into more of a ‘praise and worship’ package.  Other instruments were being added to the piano and organ on stage (not a platform).  And the choir was not enough, more vocals were being added to those on stage.  Lighting was getting more sophisticated and we began using…overhead projectors to put the words on a movie screen.  High Tech!! The crazy thing about all this ‘change’ was some were embracing it, while others were hating it.

Moving into the 1990’s and beyond…

The church was getting too large and the ministries too complex to have one person overseeing them both.  So in 1990, I moved into the role of Worship Pastor.  I have not led a student ministry since then!  But had student choirs that toured and performed musical productions on the west coast.  I led worship until 2002 and then walked away to get my life back on track.  I was leading 5 services a weekend (1 on Saturday; 3 Sunday morning and 1 Sunday evening…yup that’s 5 services a weekend).  Monday was spent relaxing my voice so I could get ready to do it all over again the following weekend.  Then after moving to San Diego in 2003, I was hired by a church to lead their worship…1 service a weekend…it was delightful.  I did this for 3 years until moving to Texas in the summer of 2009.

I say all this, to make this point.  I have planned/lead more worship services over the years than most.  I know what it takes to make it happen!!!  I have colleagues that do it really, really good, this worship leading thing.  I have worked with top-notch musicians that could play anything I threw in front of them the first run through.

Today I was listening to a worship song that made me think…are we just ‘playing it safe’ when it comes to worship and the music we throw out there every weekend?  Do we allow the Holy Spirit to led us in bringing people to the throne of God?  We really do play it safe…because we can only take people in worship to a depth where we have only been.  I don’t want to be entertained in church during the worship set.  I want to meet God and hear a word from Him through the singing.  And about singing…the worship leader cannot worship for you…it’s an individual response to the God that loves you and wants YOUR worship and no one elses!

So, let’s not play it safe this coming weekend…God deserves our best…don’t be afraid to allow the person of the Holy Spirit to lead the service…God is waiting!

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One comment

  1. I don’t know what song you are referring to, but “Heart of Worship” moved me to similar thoughts. I agree. Many times the music part of worship feels more like a performance to me, the key and rhythm changes make it difficult for many in the audience to participate… and they don’t. Is this a horse and cart situation? Is the intent now to perform and inspire? Or is it still to sing along, whether in voice or heart, and reach for God’s presence? I’m can’t tell.

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