Worship Bands vs. Bands of Worshippers - Revelation - pages 431-437

As I read Revelation today, especially chapters 3 and 4 and the worship before God's throne with the living creatures, and angels, and elders...I was just humbled by the atmosphere and power of it all.  There was such reverence and raw acknowledgement of God's honor and glory.  The things they chanted over and over again.  The ways they bowed before his greatness.  The rousing songs they lifted to His name and all that it represented.  All these scenes just moved me.

I believe worship is more than music, but I firmly believe music is a primary vehicle of worship.  The Psalter was important for the nation of Israel.  Songs of ascent, repentance, mourning, and praise where commonplace for God's people.  Individual songs and Communal songs.  Dark songs in minor keys and bright songs in major keys.  Music, again, is a very key part of worship...the Bible makes that every so clear.

Because of this, we must take it seriously.

This is an email I sent a couple years ago to the band that plays each weekend here at Impact. Just some things I thought about as it relates to this confusing thing called worship. What is it? Who does it? Where is it happening? Why do we do it? When is it nothing more than hogwash? Things such as this using a comparison/contrast between a worship band and a band of worshippers. These are only my humble opinions of course...take them with a grain of salt and a laxative...

"A Worship Band:
A worship band seems to need music to worship. They don't feel attracted to any other facet of Jesus other than songs about him. They don't find the Bible all that exciting and stuggle to listen when the pastor is sharing God's Word. They want him to shut up so they can get up on stage again and sing. They get into music, but not God. They seem to change their personality when they get up in front and play their instrument. Sometimes they don't play their instruments or sing these songs outside of practices and church services. They get done "leading worship" and then go sit down until it's their time to shine again. They rarely enter into people's lives "in between" practices and worship sets. They don't care about people that much, in fact, it's easier to just get the music over with and get out of the building. They don't like it when they are rotated out and have to worship "with the congregation", sometimes they don't even come to weekend services until they are "needed" again. They often times don't see a problem with living in sin and still leading worship. Sinning and singing go hand in hand to these kinds of people. There is a disconnect between worship and witness. They don't see it as taking God's name in vain to say things to God they don't actually mean or practice. In a nut shell, they just need a gig to hone their skills and get some public attention. God doesn't like this, but they don't know that, because they don't read their Bibles.

A Band of Worshippers:
A band of worshippers bows without a band. They see worship as a lifestyle, not a music style. They don't try to take people to places they haven't been that week. Their deepest desire is to be see through when they are in front of people, not seen. They don't say things to God during worship that they don't say to him throughout the week. They don't go to church to worship, they go worshipping to church. They don't use God for personal gratification and then dump him when the music fades. They hunger for the Word, not just Worship. They know you can't lead people until you love people and so they don't enter into worship without entering into people's lives. They know the Bible says that you can't love God whom you can't see until you love the people all around you that you can. They are humble, thankful, joyful and hopeful. To them, you can't keep singing and keep sinning. They aren't sinless, but they are sinning less. The weekdays mean as much to them as the weekends. They are leading worship in conversations, blogsites, emails, and phone calls. Leading worship doesn't start and stop with music...it's a way of life. They don't care as much about their instrument as they do the whole band. They want to blend, not blare. They want to be seen as a fellowship of friends, not a talented musician.  They want to bless, not recieve blessing. They want to praise, not recieve praise. In a nutshell, they could care less whether they get to play or not, their worship will go on. God likes this, and they know it, because they feel His pleasure.

I will continue to pray that God continues to reform us into a Band of Worshippers. The transformation is always in process, and we will never arrive, but I want to stay in hot pursuit of this vision along with all of you who have been called to this great ministry. I love serving with you all. Thanks for being on this adventure with me."

This is something that applies to more than just the band the leads us each weekend at Impact.  I believe God desires us to be a band of worshippers at Impact.  I long for our body to worship God in spirit and truth.  I want to exalt him to the highest place lifting hands, heads and hearts to him in freedom.

I'm not interested in Catholic worship or Charismatic worship or Celtic worship so much as I'm interested in Christ worship.  If people want to raise their hands, so be it.  If they want to stand silently, so be it.  If they want to close their eyes or kneel, have at it.  If they want to soak it in with the stoic heart of a coal miner, I care little.  But one thing is for sure, our hearts must worship Someone like him.  Our hearts must be moved.  They must respond to his kingship.  They must bow before his majesty and humbly offer up praise.

We are not trying to get people to sing as much as get people to surrender.  This is just what people did in God's presence, and I get the sense that this is what would happen this weekend at church, too, if we knew how to usher people into God's presence and usher God into people's presence.

Someday we will worship, maybe we should start now.


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