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What hinders spiritual gifts being brought in public meetings?

September 23, 2010

This was a question asked at a small group meeting recently, as our church moves on in our series on 1 Corinthians to consider chapters 12-14 on ‘what is worship?’.

The answers I have heard to this question (mostly from non-musicians) are very telling – musicians and worship leaders alike, please humble yourself and listen to what the ordinary folk, whom you serve, are saying.

  • If the music is too loud, I struggle to get my thoughts in order, or even sometimes to hear God.
  • If the band never stop playing, I don’t think anyone would be able to hear me.
  • I often want to start a song – but I don’t know if I’m allowed to – and if the band never stop playing, how do I do that?
  • If, at the end of a song, the band keep playing the chords of that song, I know I’m generally free to contribute something.  But if they start playing a recognisable introduction to another song, or even just something noticably different to what we just finished singing, I can only assume there isn’t room to bring what I have as the worship leader has decided to move on.
  • I’d feel just as awkward going to bring a contribution while the band clearly have something they are moving on to as I would if I prayed out at the same time as someone else.
  • I don’t want to feel ‘out of step with the Spirit’, but when the songs change so quickly I can often question if I’ve heard God right as my word will now ‘clash’ with what we’re now singing about

I am looking forward to the next season in our church life as we receive some excellent teaching through these chapters and across these issues.  I am also looking forward to Saturday’s conference in Manchester which will give many musicians and leaders some practical tools and a Biblical basis for helping our people to enter fully into the presence of God in worship.

But I do want to call all those who are called worship leaders, all musicians, all who have any responsibility for these areas or any concern for the body – if you have ever felt like you need to move the meeting on with music or song because people aren’t contributing –

  • STOP.  Ask the Spirit if you may be the reason they are not contributing.
  • REPENT. Ask Him to come and help you and your people to glorify Jesus as Lord.
  • ENCOURAGE people with Scripture – 1 Corinthians 14:26 says that we all have something to bring to the gathered church in worship
  • ENJOY His wonderful presence as He loves to answer that prayer.
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3 Comments leave one →
  1. James permalink
    September 23, 2010 9:06 am

    As much as anything, we as musicians / worship/band leaders / etc need to ensure the communication goes two ways. We need to encourage and help our congregations to realise the worship leader & band isn’t always right, and that our role is to serve & support the worship of the congregation. If the church feels empowered to go for it in contributing in worship, they should always feel able to ‘override’ the worship band!

    Part of this is being humble in the way we play/lead, and listening to the congregation just as much as we would anyone else in the band (if not way way more). Part of this is communicating to the church that they come first, not the band. Part of this is indeed some of the things you mention.

    If the congregation feel they cannot contribute, this may be partly because they are being ‘led’ by the band / worship leader (unintentionally or not) rather than the Spirit. So it’s our responsibility to be in step with the Spirit – but more importantly, to encourage people to follow the Spirit, not the band. We must set an example in this when ‘in the crowd’, and also intentionally encourage this with words. It’s about encouraging ‘active’ worship. We only have a worship leader to ‘lead’ people into worship – once they’re there, let them worship and step back!!

  2. September 23, 2010 8:58 pm

    This is a great post Gareth. I agree with what you said James but now matter how hard you encourage the congregation in their right to overide the musicians, if those musicians are playing through a loud PA, without any intervals it won’t happen.

    As musicians we MUST genuinely serve the congregation by allowing their worship to be heard and not merely serve as guest backing vocalist.

    I wrote some post for worship leaders a while back touching on the issue of volume and inviting interruptions

    • September 23, 2010 9:48 pm

      Thanks for weighing in, Matt!!! I will be linking to your series on playing and leading to encourage use of spiritual gifts next time I go at this.

      Maybe see you in Manchester on the weekend?

      Be blessed in Him

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