Undoubtedly, this is the question that has frustrated worship leaders and pastors for the past several hundred years. Why do some people jump up and down in worship and some won't even open their mouths to sing? What is the problem? These are supposed to be people who love the Lord. They are supposed to be Christians, right? Who really knows why people act the way they do? The same person who won't move a muscle in church will jump up and down at their favorite sports events cheering on their teams, or kids, with all the emotion of a cheerleader. How are we as worship leaders supposed to lead people and help them get excited about the Lord?
I love reading what David did as they were carrying the ark back to the City of David. Let's look at that passage - “David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the LORD with all his might, while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouts and the sound of trumpets. As the ark of the LORD was entering the City of David, Michal, daughter of Saul, watched from a window. And, when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD, she despised him in her heart. They brought the ark of the LORD and set it in its place inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and David sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before the LORD.” (2 Sam 6:14-17) Wow! David danced in the raw before the Lord. What did God say of David? He is a man after my own heart. To have the Lord say that of me would be the greatest joy of my life. I must admit I do not dance before the Lord on a regular basis. It is my desire to give it all to Him, but I have some of the same problems that people in our pews do……… Inhibitions.
That's right! Many of us are so worried about what the person next to us is thinking that we fail to worry about what God thinks. After all, He is the one we are worshiping. Right? What about the Michals of the world? We are concerned about what they say about us. How I wish that everyone would let go and worship the Lord the way they really wanted to. That's what I love about our charismatic brothers and sisters. They are going to worship the Lord the way they want to and don't really care what you think. They are more concerned about what they are giving to the Lord. That's what worship is…..it's giving. It's not about us, or what we receive, but about what God receives. When we worship what does He receive from you and your congregation?
Now, I want to look at another type of people for a moment. My pastor once told me that just as we are all created different and equipped differently to serve, so are we created different in our worship expression. Some of us clap, others sing, some raise their hands, and others dance. God has created us differently in that way. Our uniqueness when blended together is wonderful in worship. We come before Him in ways that please Him and yet we may do it differently. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that if they are not doing it your way then they are not worshiping. I have made that mistake many times only to have God point it out to me once again.
How do we help the ones in the pews express themselves in worship? Start by example. Share with your platform people your heart and desire. We have 20 people on our platform leading worship each week in our band and vocal team. Each one brings with them their own unique worship style to the platform. That in turn is communicated to our people who in turn identify with one of our team members. Help encourage your teams to raise their hands or clap. Use scripture to back up your teachings. Don't push or manipulate, just help along and encourage. It will take time, but eventually they will come around, and the results will be a joy to the Lord and your congregation’s worship experience. Remember, when teaching, it is very important that your senior pastor be on board and be seen as a visible worshiper. Ask him to teach a series on worship or bring in a worship teacher. Sometimes people just need permission to worship. Try different things to help your people become participators and not spectators. Help them along as they grow to be worshipers of the Lord. It is our job to be the worship leader. Are they following?