Thursday, June 16, 2011

Worship Leader Toolbox...FORMATIVE

A few weeks ago, I grabbed the Indelible Grace live CD, The Hymn Sing. (You can check out the review here.) As I mentioned, one of my favorite aspects of the record is the introductions by Kevin Twit of Reformed University Fellowship.

I was struck by what Kevin had to say about the unique nature of hymns: "Worship is formative one way or the other."

My heart leapt when I heard him say this because it was such a concise way of saying what we try to do at Bethel each Sunday with our singing. As soon as I heard it, I wanted to use it. It was such a simple, easy to understand way of starting a conversation about the importance of theologically rich singing in congregational worship.

A week or two later, I used Twit's line to communicate the value of songs - not just on Sunday - but every day, in every place. It did seem to encourage our folks and invite them into the song a bit better, but I was surprised when someone found me after to thank me for the service.

I shook his hand, found out a little bit about him and talked for a few minutes. He had really enjoyed the worship and wanted to say so before heading back to his home (out of town.) And this is what he said:

"That thing about worship being formative? That was great! I've never thought of it that way."

I appreciate this guy's honesty because I don't think we naturally approach worship in this way. Most of the people we lead have a solid grasp of what worship is in its purest form - giving glory to God, but I'm not sure we really think of the things we're singing as being formative in our spiritual development. And as Twit says, it's formative - one way or another.

Worship leaders, let's endeavor to sing songs and pray prayers and read scriptures with a 'formative' perspective. Each week, we're ascribing, but we're also describing. Plan your sets to do a good job of accurately describing God!

Next week, we'll talk about how to test the formative qualities of our worship!


Johnny! said...

Twit was restating the old adage "The law of prayer is the law of faith." Show me any Church's worship service and I can tell you what they believe. Sometimes it shows what they REALLY believe, if you get my drift.

That's why it's so very important for those formulating the liturgy to be as thoughtful about it as you are. These songs will have an effect, both through how they shape the faith of the congregation AND by what God thinks about what we're singing to him.

Case in point: "Pour My Love on You." Contrast with "Jesus Shall Reign Where e'er the Sun."