I’m tying back into my roots with this post.. It’s been a while since I’ve added to my list of “Worship Principles” for those of us who lead worship on a regular basis, so here is installment #5.
Churches have a time of corporate worship for many reasons, some of which include giving people room to express adoration to the Savior, making space for the Holy Spirit to do His beautiful work, and releasing the congregation to participate in prayer. Another reason is that worship is an important tool for teaching.
Whether we realize it or not, the lyrics we sing shape our theology. Gordon Fee once said, “Show me a church’s songs, and I’ll show you that church’s theology.” I will go so far as to even suggest that songs are the most powerful tool in teaching theology to congregants, even more so than a sermon. Think about it. Ask anyone who regularly attends church what the three points were of their pastor’s most recent sermon – heck, even the main idea – and you will get a variety of different answers, if they can even remember at all. But ask any person, Christian or otherwise, to sing “Amazing Grace,” which was penned in 1779, and they will sing it back to you. (I’m not knocking preaching in any regard; instead I want to stress that the lyrics to our worship songs must be Bible-based and Jesus-centered!) Simply put, songs have a way of getting into our spirits and staying with us.
So, worship leaders, song selection is CRUCIAL! Lyrics are a big deal! If people will base their theology from the songs you select, be sure to choose more than just some “I love Jesus and He is cool” song. Select Bible-based songs that describe the vast mercies of God, songs that describe the Trinity, songs regarding the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, songs on suffering, songs on the power and effectiveness of prayer, songs that remind us how desperately we need salvation, songs on Heaven, songs on the healing that is ours in Jesus… You get the idea. How are you using the worship time to teach people more about Christ and our right response to Him?
On a closing note, I’ll leave you with a challenging quote from songwriter extraordinaire Aaron Keyes: “Worship leaders lead songs; worship pastors lead people.” Let’s take seriously our role in making disciples of Christ. Let’s use the resources we have been given to develop well-rounded, well-grounded worshipers.