by Jeff Parshall
Hello worship friends!
New Hope New York (NHNY) is all about stirring up a deeper passion for the love of Jesus in worship leaders, and my goal with these monthly blogs is to create a space for you to come and rekindle that flame during the usually hectic and sometimes burnt out seasons of being in ministry. Also - if you’re not a “worship leader” that doesn’t mean you’re not a worship leader - so feel free to read along. Everyone is called to be a worshipper.
I have been blessed to be able to lead worship in basically every scenario or genre you can imagine. From the homeless, the charismatic, the Baptist; in house churches, at conferences, from kids to the elderly; I’ve led hymns and more contemporary songs, in this country and other countries… you get the gist. It has been such a gift to experience so many diverse styles of worship and people. Throughout all my experience, the older I got the more I began to realize, worship leading is just dull & frustrating if your focus is set on anything other than deepening your connection with Jesus.
It’s easy for us to shift our focus toward the trends, the genres, the tight pants, shiny guitars, and yourself. It’s embarrassing how easily we lose focus on our first love. As worship leaders, especially those who have a worship leadership position at a church, we are called to continually grow in a deepness and knowledge of the One that we have chosen to love and serve. This comes from the realization of what this music and worship thing is all about, from solidifying our identity in THE Truth and not the turning tides of trends and the opinions of man.
1 O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
2 So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.
3 Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.
4 So I will bless you as long as I live;
in your name I will lift up my hands.
5 My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
6 when I remember you upon my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
7 for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
This is one of my favorite passages in the entire Bible. It amazes me how passionate David was toward the one that he loved. Because David had experienced the presence of the Lord, he knew the life giving power that comes with a closeness of knowing the Lord.
I believe the main reason worship is dull in our churches is because there isn’t the longing for a deepness with the Lord. Taking time to “delight in the Lord” is a lost art in western Christianity. Instead there are programmed services at some point during the week for those who want to pray for about an hour, usually attended by 3-7 people.
God is not calling us to be like everybody else. He is calling us to learn to have a cry like David’s in Psalm 63. God is pleased to hear us say that we are satisfied with Him, more than a steak dinner (that’s saying a LOT for me). There is a deepness in worship that the Father is calling His children to experience - a deepness that pushes past the normal Sunday morning experience and reaches for more of the Holy Spirit’s power and the Father’s heart.
Christians, there is more that the Father wants to offer you than just a pleasant Sunday morning. He has called us to transform our communities through love and His presence. People are always looking to post on social media to have an impact and effect on their communities. I believe that the one thing that will absolutely change the societies we live in is deepness with the Lord.
Care about social justice? Be transformed by the love of Christ through deepness in worship. Care about political agendas? Be transformed by the renewing of your mind through the scriptures in worship. Your opinionated “motivational” tweet is pointless if it’s not backed by Christ-like love and lifestyle. If you want to make a real impact you need to let the Lord impact you first. Worship is the gateway to closeness with Jesus and the calling He has given EVERY one of His people. Above all else, be a lover of His presence and one that longs for the voice of Jesus. With that, everything else falls into place.