One of my first Pastors once told me, “The congregation is your largest choir.” What he was saying is that we put some much emphasis on the preparation for the choir feature song and the soloists and the instrumentals that we sometimes forget our real purpose is to fully engage the congregation in worship. Since I have been involved as a worship leader the methods have continually changed and the style of music has really transformed the life of the modern day church. However, it concerns me a little that because of the popularity or Worship music that Praise and Worship is now considered a genre on iTunes. It seems that much of the emphasis in this area is more on the performance of the songs rather than the involvement of the people in the act of worship.I have no way of knowing the heart of every worship leader but most of the leaders I know do desire to see the congregation engage but at times they seem stuck as to how they can bring their congregation (group) along. So this is a few ides for you to ponder and prayerfully God to stir your creative side to think of others ways to bring your people to a fully engaged state.
I have no way of knowing the heart of every worship leader but most of the leaders I know do desire to see the congregation engage but at times they seem stuck as to how they can bring their congregation (group) along. So this is a few ideas for you to ponder and prayerfully God to stir your creative side to think of others ways to bring your people to a fully engaged state.
Many Voices: Our church has 11 worship services per week, and we have many styles of leaders and music that helps us to minister to a wide demographic. One of our thoughts is to use many worship leaders in each service … what this means is that instead of being the featured artist we allow different on-mic singers to lead songs during the worship. Men, women, students, children … we mix it up for variety but also for the sake of letting the person leading express their personality and voice into the interpretation of that worship song. Thus touching many different passion points in the congregation.
Solos: There are times that we use a featured soloist, as a tool of expression and our desire is to emphasise the message being delivered and not the gift or that singer.
Instrumentals: We allow instrumental solos during songs to bring times of contemplation and to allow that person playing to lead from their instrument. We also use our instruments to play openers to call the attention of the worshipers to the purpose of our gathering.
Choirs: The choir is a big part of many of our services. I have noticed a come back for the choir, but now the emphasis is that the choir is not a performance group but a worship leading entity. I recently attended Austin Stone in Austin TX and they have contemporary cutting edge worship and they had a worship leading choir, Hillsong uses a worship leading choir, Lakeside and Israel Houghton uses the worship leading choir, Chris Tomlin, Tommy Walker, and Paul Baloche regularly use worship choirs. OK … you get my point on the worship-leading choir.
Dance: Several times a year we use interpretive dance to help engage the people at a different level. Our team uses everything from Hip-hop to Ballet, any type of dance that enhances the theme or message of our worship. The dance is a lost art to the church but it is a powerful way to use talented artists to express their worship to God.
Visual Arts: The visual arts can be a strong aid for involving people as well. We have placed sculptures on the stage and with special lighting and that has been a unique tool to bring about worship in people’s lives. In a recent conference there was a chalk artist that drew during the entire worship time. Her expression was prophetic in its expression powerful in it had a powerful effect on the people in the room.
God desires our worship and according to Is.43: 21 “This people whom I have formed for myself shall declare my praise.” We were created for this purpose. Using everything that God has given you, your talent, your gifts, the talent that surrounds you and your creativity. Give your full effort to create an engaging environment in your place of worship.
Ray Jones has 43 years of worship leading experience. He has traveled extensively as a Music Evangelist and Worship Seminar Teacher. Ray has been at CBC for 20 Years as the Worship Leader and an Elder. He has also produced more than 40 Worship and Christian music albums. Ray also recently wrote a book called “Will You Worship?” and was awarded Best of the Best 2012 by Worship Leader Magazine.