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The music is playing. Hands are raised. Tears stream down a few people?s faces. The band is rocking a power ballad and it?s clear there?s something special happening in the room. Real engagement.

Is this real worship I?m describing? Or is this a Justin Bieber concert?

I think if we were unashamedly honest, most of us worship leaders would admit we?d rather lead worship at a Justin Bieber concert than at our churches. We really want the engagement and response above. We want each Sunday morning filled with arms outstretched, feet jumping around, and tears of repentance streaming down the congregation?s faces.

We want a visible response to what we hope is happening in people?s hearts.[quote]We often want a visible response to what we hope is happening in people?s hearts.[/quote]

We all know worship is an internal heart response. It is an internal decision of surrender and acknowledgement of God?s immense worth. But it?s hard to measure that. It?s hard to measure whether or not people?s hearts are turned to God. So we often resort to the external indicators?things that may indicate no heart change whatsoever?things that could just as easily be seen at a Justin Bieber concert as at a church.

And because we so often don?t see this sort of thing in our services, it?s easy to assume our congregations don?t want to worship. Their hearts aren?t in it. They don?t know what it means to be a worshiper.

But I think thoughts like that miss the mark. You see, we were born to worship. Our default nature is to worship that which we perceive as greater than ourselves. Many times that becomes misplaced worship, though.[quote]Our default nature is to worship that which we perceive as greater than ourselves.[/quote]

We can resort to worshiping money, celebrities, possessions, nature, social causes, etc. That?s the genius of Satan?s devices. He takes that heart of worship inside us and directs it toward things that aren?t deserving of our praise.

But the nature is still there?perverted or not. We are born worshipers. And we?re experts at it.

The key for the worship leader is taking that heart and directing it to the right place. Your congregation is waiting to be led into worship. They just need to be shown the right thing to worship.[quote]Your congregation is waiting to be led into worship. They just need to be shown the right thing to worship.[/quote]

Each Sunday morning you have an opportunity to direct your congregations to God. You have a chance to evoke real worship in the people you lead. But we have to be careful we don?t look for misleading external indicators. They don?t necessarily indicate worship. Let me illustrate it with these two humorous photos.

That-Light-is-Right-in-My-Eye

Who-Wants-Free-Candy

External indicators are poor reflections of what?s going on inside people?s hearts. And if we only look to those things to judge the effectiveness of our worship leading, we?ll quickly grow discouraged. We?ll write off our congregations and simply assume they don?t want to and don?t know how to worship. But we can?t afford to do that.[quote]External indicators are poor reflections of what?s going on inside people?s hearts.[/quote]

The Holy Spirit, each week, is tugging on the hearts of your congregation. The music and the message are penetrating hearts and real things are happening inside.

How cool that we get to be part of this!

So my encouragement to you is this: Be prepared to lead your congregation. They want to be led. They want to be shown what it is that?s worth their worship.

You can?t force worship. But you can create an atmosphere where people can respond to the prompting of God?s spirit. He?s drawing them to Himself. Tap into that and lead your congregations into worship.[quote]You can?t force worship. But you can create an atmosphere where people can respond to the prompting of God?s spirit.[/quote]

It just might not look like the Justin Bieber concert. And that?s okay.

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One reply on “This Congregation is Waiting to Be Led”

AWESOME, AWESOME, AWESOME. I’ve been a worship leader for 20+ years but still get wrapped up in trying to gauge my effectiveness by the congregation’s outward appearance. Thanks for a great reminder. Very well written.

Doug Hood
Worship Pastor | Central Ministries
President | CSD Group

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