Our Lead Worship Pastor, DK (Daniel Kim), asked me to speak to all our worship leaders from all our congregations about some theological convictions that I hope inform our weekend worship gatherings. This is not an exhaustive list. Nor do I think it is an inerrant list! But I do love serving alongside others who want to discuss how our beliefs about God, the Church, and leading worship should impact how we plan our gatherings. I am thankful to serve with leaders who want what we do to be rooted in what we believe. I am passing this along because it may be helpful for other ministry leaders.
1. You shepherd the gathering of called-out ones.
As a worship leader, you are helping shepherd God’s people into the presence of the only One who can transform them. While some believe you should think first about the non-believer in the room, the word “church” means gathering and also “the called-out ones.” Our worship services are the gathering of the called-out ones, people who have been called out by His grace and placed in community with each other. At the same time, we are hospitable to guests who are exploring the Christian faith. So, we communicate in understandable language while believing that we honor the guest in our worship gatherings by showing them what we believe about our God.
2. Music, artistry, and creativity are God’s gifts and point to Him (general revelation).
Enjoy being creative because God is creative. Bring excellence in your craft because music helps us reflect, express, and be in awe. Value the artists in your care and the arts as a whole for helping people encounter God.
3. Lyrics should be Christ-centered and faithful to Scripture (special revelation).
While excellent musicianship reflects God’s general revelation, the lyrics must be filled with God’s grace and truth. Lyrics must help teach big and right thoughts about God. If people were to only learn about God through the lyrics at church, then they should be able to understand who He is and what He has done. If the music is mystery, the lyrics are accuracy and clarity.
4. The goal is “singing in community.”
I am paraphrasing Keith Getty: “When people come to our church, we want them to comment on the singing, not on the style.” In the Old Testament, God’s people are commanded to sing (Psalm 96:1-2, Colossians 3:16), and all of His commands are good for us. It is good for God’s people to sing to Him. Helping people sing should be the filter for decisions on lighting levels, sound levels, etc. The question should be, “Does this encourage people to sing?”
5. There is no Scripture exhorting us to make announcements.
While there are exhortations to sing, there are none about making announcements. You will be constantly hit up to announce things. Announcements have diminishing impact. The more we do, the less effective they are. Help protect the gatherings from overuse of them.
6. Teaching is a spiritual gift.
While it is simplistic to say “preachers should preach and worship leaders should worship,” it is often offered as a helpful corrective to worship leaders who speak too much between songs or think their value is in a long teaching moment before a song. A theological way to address the discussion is through the lens of spiritual gifts. Worship leaders without the gift of teaching should let those who are gifted to teach, teach.