Dear Worship Leader,
Thank you for your work. Each week you spend countless hours honing your voice and your instrument to lead us in turning our hearts and our minds toward God. You stand before us and raise your voice, and we follow suit.
It must be difficult, in this celebrity culture, to resist the temptation to make worship a performance. As a uniquely talented individual, we honor you by placing you in front of us. That could easily go to your head, and we thank you for fighting that hard fight and taking on a role of submission.
But we need something more from you.
Our Western, American culture is shaped by individualism and consumerism. Unfortunately, we don’t leave those things at the door when we enter the worship space. We bring them in with us. Our default position is to bend things to our advantage, to make all things serviceable to our desires. Daily we are bombarded by enticements to buy and consume things that promise to enrich our lives. When we come together for worship, too often we are guilty of judging its efficacy by how it makes us feel that day. We consume worship each week instead of being consumed by worship.
The American Dream idolizes the rugged, self-made individual. Daily we try to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and climb another rung further up whichever ladder we’re on. We look out for number one, casting ourselves as the lead players. The plot services our hopes, our dreams.
So when we enter into a time of worship in the company of others, we are primed to exclude everyone else from that experience. We close our eyes as we sing and we shut out those around us, making the gathered worship time an individual experience. But that is the last thing we need. We need to be thrust into a community who worships together. And you can help.
When you choose the songs we sing together, take some artistic license. Whether it is David Crowder or Charles Wesley, or any other songwriter in between, change all the first person pronouns from singular to plural. It really is a small thing, something you can do almost on the fly. And it won’t even mess with most rhyming schemes or rhythms.
It will do wonders for our worship, though. Each phrase that we utter will work to knit us together as a community. You will lead us in coming before the throne of God together, offering our praises, laments, supplications, and pleas together. Try it now. Take whichever song you’re rehearsing and replace all the “I’s,” “me’s,” and “my’s” with “we’s,” “us’s,” and “our’s.”
And if you are writing songs for us to sing together, have us in mind. Pen the lyrics on our behalf. Resist the temptation to write a love song to Jesus, reflective of only your personal experience. Instead, be empowered and sent by us to compose for our community.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. We appreciate you. We need your talent and your leadership. The rest of our days are filled with opportunities for us focus on ourselves. Help make that hour we’re together different. Lead us into community and then root us there. Turn us to Christ as one and break us out of ourselves.