So, for the past couple of months, my friend Kevin and I have been serving as interim worship leaders at a new church start in Knoxville. Today was our last Sunday there. On the drive home today, I was reflecting a bit on the whole experience and what I've learned from it.
Leading a congregation in worship is an honor and a huge responsibility. People come into church -- hopefully -- with a need and desire to experience God and hear from Him. Practically speaking, the worship music is the door to that. Before they sit down to hear the Word of God preached, they take part in the music. It is the worship leaders' responsibility to lead the people into the presence of God. That's huge. That involves not only what songs we choose to sing, but the order of them, the quality with which we play and sing, our own spiritual preparation, and the whole attitude and spirit we give off from the stage. Like the shepherd (the pastor) feeds and guides the sheep, the worship leaders have a responsibility to lead them as well, and that has to be taken seriously. Just choosing a few songs to sing doesn't cut it. It takes focus, work, prayer, and preparation to actually lead the people into the spirit of worship.
All that being said.... A) I have a new respect for church worship leaders! and B) it has been a great experience for me to be a part of this ministry.
And C) unfortunately, another level of difficulty is added when there is a general lack of the Holy Spirit's presence in a particular congregation. That is one thing Kevin and I have struggled with during our time at this church. The church as a whole is spiritually dry, and in that case, even when you pray and prepare to lead worship, sometimes you still get dull, blank stares from the congregation. That can be frustrating and discouraging. I've heard worship leaders talk about this before; now I've experienced it.
I'm not saying there weren't moments in these past 2 months that the Spirit was present and people worshiped. I'm not saying there weren't moments that I got lost in worship as I stood on that stage and played my guitar, and played a wrong chord because my eyes were closed in worship.... because yep, that happened ;-)
But there was a lot of dryness, too. So I'm praying for this church -- for God to be welcomed and to bring that congregation to life spiritually. I'm super thankful for the opportunity to serve there for the past 2 months! It has certainly been a learning experience. Moving on from here, I hope God will bless them graciously.