1) as we've kicked off our Student Ministries program, i've found myself involved in many a conversation on the subject of worship. over the past two years, the the worship life of our Stu Min program has matured with the dedication of volunteers and student leaders; this year, with the addition of a full-time pastoral intern dedicated to worship and student ministries, students are being encouraged to participate at an even higher level.
as i've met with leaders to plan and dream dreams about how we will encourage and lead students in worship this year, i'm struck by how often the conversations revolve around what songs we'll sing and what musicians we have available to lead said songs. let me tell you, i'm one of the first to say, "worship is more than music," but as much as i remind myself and others of this truth, it's much easier to plan a 3 song set than to try and incorporate other elements of Christian worship into a youth ministry setting.
in one of my conversations, a leader said something that blew my mind and helped me develop a new appreciation for the task of worship leading. he said, "the worship leader is responsible for putting words into people's mouths." think about that for a moment. when songs are chosen for a particular worship experience, the worship leader is choosing to put the lyrics of those songs into the mouths of the worship participants. this statement has caused me to consider anew the songs we sing at youth group, and to reflect more closely on the songs we sing on Sunday mornings as well. are these the words that make sense for us - for this particular group of Christians gathered in this time and place?
2) i read this short essay/article posted in Scot McKnight's (Jesus Creed blog) "Weekly Meanderings" post from last Saturday. the article is called, "Sneaking Into Worship," and it's worth your read. i resonate and deeply identify with the group of people described in this article. one particular section stood out:
They’ve grown up being urged, “Now, everyone can just worship God however you might want. Just let the Holy Spirit move you. We are all different.” So now some are seeking worship where the implied advice is, “Now, everyone leave your hyper-individuality at the door. Let’s say words together. Let’s make gestures together. Stand together. Kneel together. Let’s listen to the wisdom the Holy Spirit has given over the centuries."this is what i want to be about when it comes to worship. that is, i long to check my personal preferences, or my "hyper-individuality," at the door and melt into the body of believers gathered to worship the Living God together. i long for a time and place where conversations in the church about musical preferences are no more, where organs can stand alongside drum kits, and where young and old worship together in spite of generational differences.