Worship Leaders And The Presence of God

7 thoughts on “Worship Leaders And The Presence of God”

  1. A thoughtful read.

    The balance is, that while we can’t bring people into the presence of God, we can help them to remember and realize that God is present! Our role is to help people move beyond the many things that distract us and hold people back.

    Its interesting how people get so excited because of a special preacher, worship leader or artist is showing up at their church or in their city, yet in every moment of the day, the God of the universe is in whatever ‘place’ they find themselves.

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    1. I have often thought that part of leading worship is about minimizing distractions. But I have just thought about distractions during a church service. We can be very distracted people in our daily lives when we could be more aware of God’s presence wherever we are.

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  2. James! Thanks for putting a lot of effort and thought behind an idea I’ve been mulling over – appreciate that. Having grown up in very similar church gatherings to you, here are two thoughts (and one bonus question) that may not be contrary, but possibly add to the fabric of the conversation:
    1) “God inhabits the praises of his people” (Psalm 22:3) or “when two or more are gathered I’m there.” (Matthew 18:20)
    I’ve been in enough gatherings where I’ve been deeply moved emotionally and have a stronger awareness of God’s presence than my normal day-to-day. Is that just me being more aware of His presence? Or is it a special manifestation/accumulation/intensifying of God’s Glory?
    2) The new kingdom priests (1 Peter 2)
    We’ve been adopted into the family and brought into the family of Priestly duties. How does our priestly-ness work as we minister to God and to His people – does that flow out of our natural giftings?

    And one final question – as a worship leader myself and someone who’s been in countless gatherings – emotions are so often a doorway to our experiencing God… dare I say the majority. How do we balance making space for our emotions to be a legitimate part of both our leading and our church’s response – beyond the intellectual rehearsing of Jesus’ sacrifice?

    Keep ‘er coming.

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    1. Matt! Thanks for responding. I definitely think these ideas expand the conversation.
      1) While I’m not convinced that these two passages are addressing God’s manifest presence or glory, I do agree that something special happens when we gather together in worship. There is an intensification that we experience. I think this is natural because we are created for community and so much of Biblical teaching on worship is interested in community.
      2) Yes, we have been brought into a family of priests. This is a great thought that deserves further reflection. Thanks for bringing it up.

      We are emotional beings and so I understand how important emotions can be in our times of corporate worship. Ultimately, I think that our worship is a response to who God is and what God has done for us. That’s not just an intellectual rehearsal of Jesus’ sacrifice. We also emotionaly rehearse and respond to that. If we are emotional humans and not just detached rational thinking beings, then we will respond to God through emotions. If we encounter the very presence of God then our emotions and our whole beings should be affected. I want to help remind people of what Christ has done for us, not just on an intellectual level, but on an emotional/affective level too.
      The danger I want to be aware of and to avoid is being emotionally manipulative for the sake of creating an experience where we feel we have encountered God. But it’s always a balancing tension.

      Really appreciate what you have added here.

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  3. Love your writing and expression on these very common but overlooked issues.

    I have changed our description from “ leading people into an encounter” to “leading people to a place of encounter” – if I can use music to set Jesus before you (or better said “raise your awareness of Who He Is and who we are in Him”), the natural response will be worship.

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