As a worship team, facilitating meaningful and intimate encounters with God is something that we’re always aiming to get better at doing. But what makes a great time of worship? Or more specifically what makes a really great worship song?
I’ve felt recently that God’s been challenging a mindset that I’ve had for a number of years now, that corporate worship songs sung on a Sunday should be purely about the character of God; and that anything else is wishy-washy and a bit self indulgent.
Now this is where I need to rather swiftly add a caveat: ALL worship should be about God, as Matt Redman famously said: ‘it’s all about Him, to Him, for Him and through Him.’ The God we worship is so worthy that if we didn’t sing His praise ‘the rocks themselves would cry out in worship’ (Luke 19: 40). He is the Great I AM (Exodus 3: 14). The King of Kings, highly exalted over all creation. And yet... the crazy thing about worship is that not only does God want us to worship Him... he first and foremost wants us!
He wants you to come, during the school run, in the middle of a busy day at work or at the end of a brutal week, and devote yourself to Him again. Worship isn’t simply acknowledging who God is; it’s a two way act of relationship. As we cry out to Him in praise and thanksgiving, He comes and meets with us, fills us, and by His Spirit makes us more like Him.
I’ve heard it said that worship songs these days could be sung to a boyfriend or girlfriend. But what God’s been saying to me recently is that, actually, that’s not a bad thing; it’s a really good thing! God desires that kind of intimacy with us, the intimacy we read about in Song of Songs between a husband and wife. Songs of love and devotion to our King. Songs of freedom. Songs full of joy. He longs for us to come to Him with abandon and lose ourselves in worship.
Of course, worship songs full of biblical truth about God’s character are essential (particularly at the start of a time of worship) to help us to focus in on whom we are worshipping. But if all we did was sing about who God is, it’d be like a father & son separated by war. The son simply reads about his father in letters. He knows of his characteristics, his achievements; but doesn’t really know him or experience his love for himself.
God calls us to enter into His presence as children before their Father. Without fear. Without shame. Holding nothing back in our love and adoration of God.
My prayer for us as a church is that our worship is pleasing to God. That it’s in spirit AND in truth. But also that in this coming season, we as a church would start to press a little deeper into Him, chase after more intimate encounters with Him, step out of our comfort zones and be released into a greater freedom in our worship of Him; as it’s through these encounters that He equips us to go out and live for Him.