A few weeks ago I heard a story that I’ve not been able to get out of my mind. It’s a story that Chip Ingram told when he spoke at the School Of Ministry at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa. He told of how he would have his messages evaluated by a mentor. He preached a great message and went with his wife to see his mentor for an evaluation. After listening to the message, his mentor made a comment. I don’t know if your lazy or if you simply don’t believe what you’re preaching. He said that he was 80% dead on, but the last 20% of the message didn’t hit home. It fell apart. His wife chimed in and said… I can tell you that he is not lazy. He works hard, but I agree that he doesn’t believe what he is saying. That was a defining moment for Chip.
The punch line of the story applied to worship is this – do you believe in what you are singing? That’s the question that God has stuck in my mind – do you believe in what you are singing?
As a worship leader this is a haunting question. Do you believe in what you are singing? Do you believe that you are actually participating in the activity of heaven every time you lead the congregation in worship? Do you believe that you are actually playing to an audience of one? If you do…. if you really do believe… it will altar the way you lead worship. It will altar the way you prepare to lead worship. It will altar the level of expectation you have on the congregation that you are leading. It changes everything.
As a musician in a band it will altar the way you practice your instrument. It will altar your level of commitment to ministry. After all, you’re not just playing a mere gig. You are playing in the presence of the King of heaven!!! It will altar the way you play. You’ll stop being lazy about hitting the right notes are not. You’ll make sure you are well prepared. You’ll focus on your musical abilities. I’m not talking about your ability to read charts – but your ability to make music. Two entirely different things. There are plenty of folks who can read charts – but you have to get past the charts in order to make music. By the way, I’m always amazed at how hard it is for musicians to remember, recall and perform simply little three chord worship songs. But, if you launch into Purple Haze or Stairway To Heaven – they are flawless. It’s almost as if they are more versed in the language of the world than they are the language of heaven.
As a congregation it will altar your response in worship. It will altar the cavalier way that most “regular” folks approach worship. After all, the musicians are really into worship because they’re musical. The rest of the “normal” folks aren’t really into the music. But if you believe that the worship you bring in the form of corporate singing is truly an offering for the God of all creation, then you’ll approach it with respect and honor. You’ll show up on time and ready to see God. Your expectation to meet with God will be high.
Jesus said… without faith it’s impossible to please God. My question to you is simply this – do you believe? Do you believe in what you’re singing? I pray that this question will haunt you as it has haunted me. I pray that it will drive you into a time of deep soul searching as it has done for me and that at the end of this journey you will discover the heart of God as He seeks to make believers out of us all.