I've been preparing for Worship this Sunday. And I've been thinking. I've listened to a lot of Leaders and read a lot of stuff. And I have this concept formed in my mind of how a Worship Leader is supposed to train the congregation to worship. I see that you can do it by choosing specific songs each week.... keep them repetitive until the congregation learns them. Introduce only one new song at a time and introduce it with old songs in the set list. Keep the rhythm and style familiar and "doable." Work within the ability of your musician team. It's all about catering to your audience so they can participate the most comfortably in worship, while making room for the Spirit to flow. And a lot of it is good info, and works well... or at least sounds good and has worked for a lot of places.
I just have one problem that I've been wrestling with. Worship is not for us. It's not about us. It's about God. It's a demonstration of our love, adoration and thankfulness to Him because He is so worthy. I realize that we benefit from it, but that isn't the primary purpose of it. I've become keenly aware that as a Worship Leader, my primary audience is God. My secondary audience is the people. This is such a paradigm shift for me. Because I can get so wrapped up in what the congregation will or won't worship to that I forget that it's not about them.
I understand there are limits to how much people can engage and there are more comfortable ways to do things... but I'm not talking about practicalities at the moment. I'm talking about the attitude of my heart. If in my heart I believe that Worship is about the people, then when they don't worship to a particular song, I may scrap it. Or when people show up late for worship, I might say, "Oh, we don't need to start on time... no one is here on time anyway." As if they were my primary audience. But they're not. God is. God is the reason I worship. God is the reason we all worship. I have an appointment with Him every Sunday morning at 9:30am and He is never late. If that is the attitude of my heart then I will never say "I really think the Spirit wants to hear this song, but I don't think the audience is ready for it." Because He is the one we are edifying. He is the one we want to please. Instead of asking what will people worship to? Shouldn't I be asking, "Father, what do you want to hear this Sunday?"