The Audience of One
Worship is a lifestyle but that lifestyle is rooted in a posture of the heart that comes before God to simply behold Him in reverence and awe and to thank and praise Him for who He is and what He’s done.
That sentence sounds so old-fashioned and maybe it’s just the language I used or maybe it’s a sign of our expectations of worship. From this heart posture we sing songs of praise and adoration and pursue lives of obedience in gratitude to our Father. Our worship doesn’t crescendo with a final chorus.
For the past few years I’ve enjoyed getting together with my friends in someone’s house and spending time singing to God.
It’s very simple.
No one is in charge,we just grab our instruments and with open hearts and open Bibles we ask the Holy Spirit to lead us in worship and prayer and to speak to us.
I like to record these times on my phones sometimes and listen back to them in the days that follow. My guitar playing is very limited and very repetitive. Not all of us can sing well or play an instrument. It often sounds awful. But it’s so beautiful.
Sometimes we’re really aware of His presence and sometimes we’re not but we worship Him anyway. Being able to see the faces of the people around me and being able to hear their prayers and say amen as we all turn our hearts towards His together is priceless.
Again, I’m not a hater but there is something about peeling away the noise and clamour of Worship Inc and standing before God in what can feel like awkward silence, meditating on who He says He is and waiting for Him to reveal more of Himself.
There’s something about packing away the smoke machines and polished glitz and glamour of Worship Inc and bringing an offering of praise to God in a reasonably-lit living room with people you know.
I don’t want to downplay the importance of larger gatherings.
Well…actually…maybe I do. The same Jesus is present whether there are two of us or twenty thousand. He’s ready to meet with us at the drop of an agenda and He only looks for an open heart to do it.
He’s not looking for the best band or the biggest venue. He is looking for those who will worship the Father in spirit and in truth.
Think of it this way:
Our smaller gatherings are just as important as our larger ones if He is the focus!
If you’re a worship leader think about this. If you get invited to a small home group full of old people to lead worship and you also get invited to lead worship at a 20,000+ Christian festival, which one are you more excited by?
Which one are you more humbled by?
Which one do you practice more for?
Which one do you pray more about?
Which one do you get dressed up for?
Of course in both scenarios you’re there to help facilitate but who are you really singing for?
If you’re a church leader and you’re organising a worship gathering, what are your most immediate thoughts?
How do I make sure people engage?
How do I make sure people have a good time?
How do I make sure no one is uncomfortable?
None of these thoughts are evil of course. I mean the clear signage to the toilets is must! But how much do we think about the Guest of Honour in all our preparation?
How do you measure the success of such a gathering? The number of people who turn up? Is it about how loud the people shout and sing? How do you think God measures it?
When we put so much effort into making everything perfect for the people we can end up with a load of people who don’t actually want to worship God at all. The room can be full but the praise can be the empty sound of a loud gong or a clanging cymbal.
But what does it take to get us to a worship gathering?