encouraging a unified worship experience

Lighting, Cameras, Musicians, Worship?

worship1One of the things I enjoy most is seeing people take God given talents and use them for the glory of God. Recently I have been challenged to analyze talents, spiritual gifts and the role of both of these in the Body of Christ.

Scripture teaches that spiritual gifts and talents are from God and both flourish with use. However, it seems from reading 1 Corinthians 12:7  and Romans 12:3-5 that spiritual gifts are primarily used to glorify God, benefit others and coincide with belief in Christ. 1 Peter 4:10 reads, "as each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace". Talents too should also be utilized for the glorification of God and benefit of others, but are the result of genetics and usually enhanced by surroundings. While talents can be utilized for non-spiritual purposes, spiritual gifts are only used within the context of the church. These spiritual gifts consist of prophecy, service, teaching, exhorting, generosity, leadership and mercy (Romans 12:3-8).

For this post, I want to focus specifically on talents. God has woven together an incredible collection of talents within His body; the most obvious being musicians. Weekly, most churches have multiple people who volunteer their talents to serve. Within our context we have horn players, percussionists, string players, guitarists, keyboardists and vocalists each week using their God given talents to worship God and exhort the Body of Christ. Other talents churches may use consist of  artists, actors, dancers, rappers, etc. All of these talents can be used for secular purposes, but when used to give honor and glory to God, they become powerful tools.

However, what about those talents that we don't see?

Every week in addition to those mentioned above, we have numerous others using their talents behind the scenes. Lighting designers, video switchers, camera operators, graphics producers, stage managers, sound operators, computer controllers, video editors and many others who use talents to enhance worship and glorify God. While many times we do not consider these talents in our "talent assessment," they are talents nonetheless. Should these God given talents be relegated to the secular world and not utilized to glorify God? Absolutely not! However, that is exactly the argument I have heard from some in the Christian realm.

Sadly,many times we as Christians will allow our personal preferences to dictate who is allowed to use their talents for God. For example, perhaps lighting design is something I dislike. For me to not to allow someone to utilize their God given gift because of my personal preference is selfish. Many years ago when worship styles began to change, I received many complaints about drums, bass guitars and other "non-traditional"  instruments (read piano and organ) being used in worship. My favorite reply was, "If you can show me in scripture where any of these instruments are bad, or where God gives someone a talent and then refuses to allow that person to use that talent for His glory, then I will stop using ______."  No one ever gave scriptural evidence. In fact, if we consider scripture, Bazeleel was given specific talents by God such as wood carving, cutting stones, metal work and overall craftsmanship (Ex. 31:1-6) to be used for Him. Sadly, while trying to prevent what we may consider "worldly" talents from "infiltrating" our worship services, we have forced godly, talented people to use their gifts in the world. James 1:17 reads, "every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." Once we as the Church realize that all talents are given by God and that our entire being belongs to Him, these arguments will cease to exist.

These are my thoughts, what are yours?