I am honored to lead the Resources Division at LifeWay and serve with a team of leaders who are passionate to serve the Church in Her mission of making disciples. Each Wednesday, I share the heart behind one of the resources our team has developed and give an opportunity for you to register to win a free copy of the resource. This week’s resource is a registration to a new event this year called WorshipLife.
Today’s post is from our Director of Worship—Mike Harland. Mike leads a team of people in our division to serve the Church with worship resources. Mike and I have served together for nearly five years. He’s an incredible leader, knows and loves the Word, is deeply committed to the Church, and is the best 50+ year-old baller I have ever seen. I have great love and respect for him.
Years ago as a younger worship pastor, I realized something that changed my focus completely. It was this—God did not call me to make music. He called me to make disciples.
It was then I realized that music was not my message—it was only my language and that God had called me to do a lot more than warm up the congregation for the pastor’s message. I was called to use the powerful tool of music to be engaged in the disciple-making commission that Jesus left His church.
Here are three ways the spiritual discipline of worship contributes to the disciple-making process:
1. Truth takes residence in the soul.
There is a growing understanding in medical circles of the link between music and memory. It’s not a new finding. Parents have taught their children the alphabet using a melody for decades because they know intuitively there is something about linking facts with melody that cause those facts to be remembered more easily.
I’ll never forget the first time I sang in a memory care facility. When I sang, “What can wash away my sin,” patients that could not remember their own names answered back in unison, “Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”
When followers of Christ sing songs of faith, they are embedding the theology of those songs in the deep places of their minds. It doesn’t happen only when they hear the songs. It goes deep in our souls when we sing. These are the truths sung on deathbeds and in moments of solitude. I’m convinced God gave us music to be used to embed deep theological truths in the hearts of His disciples.
2. Prayer vocabulary develops.
The Book of Psalms is much more than a collection of song texts—it is a collection of prayers often, but not always, set to music. As we study the Psalms, we are learning how to talk to God in prayer—the questions, the statements, the laments, and the praises all forming the very words we use in prayer.
The disciple who sings is also learning how to pray.
3. Spiritual battles are won.
Psalm 149:1-5 is a beautiful description of worship that begins with: “Hallelujah! Sing to the Lord a new song, His praise in the assembly of the godly.” But the latter part of the psalm helps us understand what is happening when God’s people declare His greatness in worship.
Verse 6 reads, “Let the exaltation of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands, inflicting vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples.”
When God’s people praise Him, they are wielding the sword of God’s Word in a spiritual battle. But we are not fighting for victory. That has been won! We are fighting in the victory of our mighty Warrior King—Jesus! Disciples engage in the battle and grow in their faith when they declare the praises of God in the assembly of His people in worship.
When we understand that worship is an important part of discipleship, we are more diligent in selecting theologically robust songs, engaging people in worship, and leading the charge of praise in the Body of Christ.
It’s not worship and then discipleship—worship is discipleship.
Register here or in the form below by 11:59pm CT tonight (Wednesday, May 25, 2016) to win two registrations to our WorshipLife Event in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, June 27-30, 2016. WorshipLife Event is a one-of-a-kind worship gathering designed to inspire and equip worship leaders through times of worship and fellowship with renowned speakers and worship leaders, evening concerts with award-winning artists, choral reading sessions with multiple publishers, breakout sessions with experts and leaders in many facets of worship, and much more.