A couple of weeks ago, a discussion took place regarding another worship style. Citing various differences between theirs and ours, come to find out, it wasn’t about the style, or the content of the worship service. It was about being an active participant in worship. What does it mean to be an active participant? Do we as worship leaders understand what the congregation’s role is in worship?
Our “doing” worship involves many things, but essentially, allowing the congregation to participate fully in worship by singing, praying, giving of gifts, etc. But do we as worship leaders know the meaning of the various elements of worship? Does our congregation know the various elements of worship and why do we include them?
Another moment in our church emphasized this; our guest minister led the entire service, and without any hesitation, introduced everything as though we were hearing it for the first time. He explained the congregation’s role in the worship service by explaining our actions and words during worship. As he guided the congregation, we became active participants because it was clear what was expected of the congregation. This, I believe, allowed everyone to participate in some degree. The words he used were well thought out, but not elaborate. Our actions were not much different than any other service, but the guidance of the entire service allowed our singing our prayers, our scripture reading more meaningful by everyone.
Do we as worshippers understand what the elements in worship that we prepare for the congregation every week? Does the congregation understand the elements or is it a “laundry list” of items that occur in the appointed time in the calendar? Are they engaged, or just going through the motions?
What have you done in your congregations to allow the participants become the entire assembly and not just the people up front with the microphone?
Back to the first story. We came to the conclusion that you could attend worship at this other church, but could get by as a spectator and not a participant.