I don?t want to try to give you the ?Top 7 Things to Help Minimize Distractions? article, because in all honesty, we all do things so differently as leaders that it?s nearly impossible to mention them all. I think we all just need simple reminders and a re-focus at times.
Our primary role as worship leaders should be about the Gospel ? its implications in our lives and in the lives of those we lead. Our primary role is not what technology we?re using in our gatherings or what songs we?re singing. It?s not how smoothly our services run or if we have the right video cued out of the singing time. Those are important things to take notice of and tweak, but they certainly aren?t the main thing.
We aren?t solely responsible for people?s response in our gatherings, but we have a major part to play in it. Ultimately, they are going to decide on their own whether or not to lay the distractions in their lives at the feet of Jesus.[quote]We aren?t solely responsible for people?s response in our gatherings, but we have a major part to play in it.[/quote]
My good friend Chad Cecil (@chadacecil) says it like this: ?A lot of the times we tell people to leave all their stuff at the door, which is wrong. They can?t. People either come into His gates with thanksgiving or they don?t. Our job is to help orient them toward the right thing?Jesus. I tell people to come with all their distractions and all the things they?ve been focused on other than Christ, then lay it down before him and know He is God. Know that true worship happens when empowered by the Spirit in pursuit of Him who is Truth ? Jesus.?
What pulls people?s attention away from Jesus on Sunday morning? More than likely, there?s already been a flurry of distractions, stresses, and frustrations before they?ve even stepped foot through the doors. Stress from work? Frustrations at home? Distracted over how busy their upcoming week is going to be? It could really be a hundred different things. This is where it?s important as ministers and leaders to help facilitate people in the middle of these distractions. The goal is to help them see that Jesus is all they need. Bigger than all of their worries and distractions. I?m not trying to minimize the obstacles in their lives. However, if we only have these folks for a limited time each week, shouldn?t we do anything we can to point and encourage them to the Answer and away from themselves?
Let?s talk practically about this a bit. Maybe introduce some ways to creatively inspire the congregation to deal with distraction.
What your people encounter when they step foot into your auditorium matters! I?m not wanting to be condescending about this in any way. Are their senses so overloaded the moment they step in that they can?t focus? And this doesn?t matter if you?re in a church using all the newest technology at your fingertips or just kickin? it old school with candles and a harp. These are not bad things, but if they are distracting and people aren?t able to focus on the primary thing, Jesus, they aren?t things that are helping. They?re hurting.
Psalm 78:72 says, ?with an upright heart he shepherded them, and guided them with his skillful hand.? Heart and skill matters. What happens in regards to content and also experience in our gatherings matters. And to some degree, it?s your job as a leader to figure out how to solve these issues. It?s your job to walk through every stage of your liturgy (the structure of your worship experience), either by yourself or in a team, with a fine toothed comb. If pastors and teachers do this with their sermons, why aren?t we doing the same for the liturgies we?re planning?
Here are a few direct questions to ask yourself. Do your people buy into the vision of what you?re trying to achieve with what your liturgy represents? Are you distracted by all the same things as your people are distracted by? (Ironic?) Are you distracted by the frustrations of your people being distracted? Are you being self-seeking in the different service elements you?ve added to your liturgy? Are you open to feedback and suggestions from trusted congregation members? Are you people pleasing in the way you?re doing ministry? These are all things to ask yourself and to revisit on a regular basis. Sometimes our known or unknown personal agendas are actually distracting our people.
Here are some things to think about practically. Don?t introduce every new ?hit? worship song that comes out. You may be listening to them daily, but most people aren?t. Maybe re-think the way your service is put together from start to end. Do you have creative elements in your service that inspire people to think about Jesus? Do you have too many of those elements? Are you connecting with both the left and right brain people out there? Are the motion backgrounds and screens too busy and confusing?[quote]Do you have creative elements in your service that inspire people to think about Jesus?[/quote]
What?s the end goal? For myself and the team I?m on, it?s to make much of Jesus through congregational singing, the way we program our services, and the creative elements we add each week. We work really hard on those things for every gathering. We?re constantly evaluating and re-evaluating this process. We do this for the sole reason of making much of Jesus and making sure our people are pointed to Him through all the elements of the service. We remember that excellence is always important and a commandment of Scripture (1 Cor. 10:31), but worshipping excellence is sin and an idol. Keep Him central in all you do and the worshipers, distracted or not, will follow and encounter Him in the fullness of His beauty.
???and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.?