encouraging a unified worship experience

4 Steps to Unified Worship in 2012

For many of us, 2012 presents a new year to truly make worship "converging". Perhaps in the past you felt led to bring different elements into your worship planning and now you have committed to making this a reality. Here are 4 steps that will help you carry out your vision.

1. Determine where you (and your church) are in worship.

The truth is, often times we do not know where we as leaders (or our congregation) are in worship. In order to move, we must first know where we are moving from.

Are you fully aware of the way God has wired you to lead your people or are you simply following others and trying to mold yourself after them? Do you know your personal, God-given leadership style? If not, then you must first find time alone with God honestly seeking his will for your leadership. He has gifted you with certain gifts to lead the people he has placed under your care. This requires honesty and a willingness to change based on the answers he gives. Only when these questions are answered can one move to the next step.

We as leaders often think we know where our people are when in reality we are simply projecting our personal ideas onto them. How does one find out where our people are in this process? Simple, ask them! Find some people you trust, whose opinion you value and ask them where they believe the church stands with regard to worship. You might be surprised at the information you receive. Make sure these people are not simply "yes men" who will give you the answer you want to hear,but select a diverse group of people who will give you honest answers.

2. Determine the direction you feel led to pursue.

Once there is a solid consensus of where you and your church are, you must then determine where you need to be. Is your church too traditional? Are you exiling the younger sect? Is your church too contemporary? Are you missing out on solid doctrinal teachings of hymns? Once again, this will require more time seeking God and His leadership.

However, there are still some solid truths from his word that should not be missed. First of all, God desires that His people worship together. Verses such as Ps. 145:4 reveal “One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.” This mandate is difficult to achieve if the generations are separated in corporate worship. Ps. 22:30-30 and Is. 38:19 along with various other scriptures reveal the expectations of the generations teaching and building into one another. Second, scripture speaks of varied and different instruments as well as voices being used in worship (i.e. Ps. 150). We also see other forms of the arts portrayed throughout scripture in worship. So as you are seeking a direction, keep these passages in mind.

3. Become the catalyst for change.

Now that you know where you are and where you feel led to go, it is up to you to become the catalyst for change. I would suggest the first move be to get the senior pastor and other pastoral staff on board with your decision. It will be a long and difficult road without the support of your peers in ministry. Second, get the people you trust who are change agents in your church on board. As John Maxwell says, "Have the meeting before the meeting." You know the people in your church that when they speak, people listen (if you don't, you should)! Meet with those people and tell them of the vision that has been birthed inside you. Make sure you have their support in this move. Finally, make sure your worship team (choir, band, orchestra, etc.) understand the vision clearly and are willing to undertake this process with you. You are the leader and it is up to you to move!

4. Move slowly and deliberately toward the goal.

We have all heard the old adage about boiling a frog. Well, that is the task you now have ahead of you. Sure, you could take my ideas or the ideas of others and transplant them immediately to your local body. Chances are, you would be looking for another church to serve at pretty soon! Remember that the church did not get to where it is overnight and you are not going to change it overnight. While you surely have passion and a great vision, people are still people! It will take a while for the whole to buy into your vision. Be patient with them and lead them!

These are my thoughts, what are yours? Please give your input below.