How Do I get The Congregation to Respond in Worship?
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I have even received emails from worship leaders saying they are so frustrated that they are to the point of considering whether or not they are being called to lead worship because the congregation doesn't seem to be responding. Believe me I know exactly what you are feeling because I have been there myself. As lead worshipers we are geared to be passionate about the Glory of God. Our desire is to reveal the glory of God, and to see the congregation responding. We want to see them raising their hands and we want to see them singing with all their hearts
Now I know that we've all been to services where it seems like the entire church is just involved in the worship. It seems like the spirit is moving and that the congregation is singing loudly, hands are raised high and it seems as if every person in the building is worshiping with all they've got.
If we were to be honest most of the time when we've experienced these wonderful times of worship, it has been in a room filled with worship leaders. Every time I've gone to a conference the worship has been fantastic and I think this is what I want my worship to be like in our church, just people everywhere totally uninhibited in worship to God. When in reality we are in a room full of worship leaders who their passion is worshiping so what else can they do but worship!
Now back to the question. In the past my answer would have been that we as lead worshipers need to teach and model biblical worship for the congregation. That answer is not wrong. However it’s also not the best answer. Being in a mentoring group with Pastor Peter Lord has opened my eyes to the best and only true solution. To be honest with you the answer to this question is so simple and in fact I think when it comes to leading worship we tend to complicate things way more than is then is necessary.
Our job as worship leaders is not to be concerned with the response of the congregation, our job is simply to present the truth of who Jesus Christ is and what he has done and then let the Holy Spirit speak to their hearts through our songs. I've often spoken that worship is REVELATION IN RESPONSE and it is. However my job as a lead worshiper is to reveal who Christ is and what he’s done through the tools of lyric and music and then allow the Holy Spirit to speak to the congregation to speak to the hearts and they respond to the truth that is just been revealed to them.
A pastor’s job is to speak the word of truth from the scripture. It is not to convert people. It is not to use words to manipulate people into making a decision it is simply to the reveal the truth from the scripture of who Jesus is and what He has done. Then allow the Holy Spirit to do the job of speaking to their hearts and leading them how to respond to the revelation of the truth they've heard. Anything else is manipulation. We have to leave the response totally to the working of the Holy Spirit.
My friend that is why we must choose lyrics that are scripturally and doctrinally sound. That is why we should be so selective about what we present to the church. Our responsibility is not in the response, our responsibility is in presenting the Truth of Jesus and leave the response to the Leading of the Holy Spirit.I hope you focus on the the Christ rather than the Congregation henceforth. Go and Prosper psalmist.