Teach and They Will Learn

By Stephen M. Newman
Founder, ExperiencingWorship.com & Author of Experiencing Worship
June 06, 2010

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- A Proven Technique

I have to make a heartfelt confession, for years I have been a judge of people in my church. As I would lead worship from the platform and look down on the congregation, I would often pass judgment on those who were not "visible" worshippers. I could tell those who viewed the music as a commercial break, to those who understood it's purpose. It became a very frustrating thing to see leaders of the church week after week fail to join in on our times of corporate worship. I took their lack of involvement as a sign that they really were not as spiritual as they thought they were. They claimed to be giants of the faith, and yet when it came to worship they seemed lackadaisical and uninterested. It was as if the music and singing were times to sit back and listen before the really important stuff happened. It was merely a warm-up for the preaching. We've all heard that statement before from people of all ages. I know very genuine Christians who look at the music portion of the worship times as kind of a "wake me up time to get my blood flowing.” Those who make these remarks are not trying to be ugly or hateful, it's all they know and it shows in their lack of knowledge about worship. They merely didn't understand.

I have taught thousands of people in small groups over the years about topics ranging from marriage, grace and everything in between. There are many who never really took hold of what the Bible has to say about the different topics. It seems not everyone will hold to every value taught in the Bible. However, when I teach on the topic of worship, I see a completely different result. Every person who has gone through our "Experiencing Worship Study" has come away with a heart to know God more through worship. It is astounding to see lives transformed with the message of worship and the place it has in our lives as Christians. Long time pillars of the church are transformed from onlookers to genuine participators. Those who viewed worship as a Sunday thing are becoming "lifestyle" worshippers. It is an incredible thing to see lives changed through one of the most tried and true methods, teaching.

I am convinced Christians fail to worship because they don't understand it. They do not know what the scriptures say about it, and we as a church have failed to teach them. I have yet to find someone, after going through our study, who walks away saying, "What a waste, I now know what it means to worship and I choose not to do it.” I may be in for a surprise in the future, but for now God is moving in a mighty way across our land and the world. There is a strong sense of the presence of God moving in the area of worship. He wants His church to return to Him in true heartfelt worship, to worship Him in spirit and truth as John 4:23-24 states, and to come before Him in humility and not with a cold heart refusing to give Him the praise and honor He deserves. The Bible tells us to bow before the Lord, and yet we won't. Why? We have become arrogant and full of pride when we are too ashamed to kneel before God in front of our coworkers and friends. Why do we refuse?

First, I believe people don't know that the Bible tells us to do it. How many sermons have you heard on the subject of worship? Most people have the opinion worship is an area of ministry that requires a pastor and that is his job. That's his/her area of ministry under which fall music, drama, and the arts. We rarely hear anything on the topic of worship from the pulpit. When we do, it's never in depth and encouraging us to pursue it. Why have we failed to teach our people true worship? They will never become worshippers until we teach them what worship is.

What to do? How do we teach our people worship so they will become true worshippers of the living Lord? Fortunately, there are some good studies out on worship for small groups. There are great teachers of worship such as Tom Kraeuter and Bob Fitts. There is a wide variety of teaching tools on this site if you need help and truly want to help your people become better worshippers. Teach them and they will learn should be the motto of any worship leader. It's as simple as that. No tricks or gimmicks, just pray, study and teach. God is calling His people to worship Him in spirit and truth. Are you listening to His voice on the subject? He is moving across our land and if we don't catch hold of it, we may lose it. I love the line in "The Untouchables" when Sean Connery asks Kevin Costner, "What are you willing to do?" in regards to Costner catching Al Capone. Elliot Ness wanted to catch Al Capone but didn't know how. Sean Connery's character asks him this question to see how serious he really was about catching the notorious mobster. The bigger question for us needs to be, “What are we willing to do to teach our people true worship?” Are we willing to step out and do what the Bible tells us to do? Are we willing to take flack from those who oppose our positions? Are we willing to lose our jobs over our convictions and calling? Will we ride the wave of comfort until we retire? Will we jump from church to church to avoid the conflict of this touchy subject?

I have to do what God has called me to do. I have, and will continue, to bring on uneasy times as I challenge people to grow in worship. Worship isn't a comfortable thing, and those who are worshippers know it. True worship causes us to abandon our comfort zones, to die to self, and give totally of ourselves because God is worthy of it. There is nothing for us to gain from being true worshippers except the knowledge that we are being obedient to God and His calling on our lives. Yes, we worship because He is worthy of it and nothing else is appropriate in the presence of the Living God, but we begin the practice of worship because the Bible tells us to and gives us clear direction on how to do it.

I encourage you to join forces with me and hundreds of worship leaders around the world, as we commit our lives to teaching worship to the ones God has placed in our churches. It won't be an easy road, but it will be the most rewarding thing you do in ministry. They may be impressed with your talents, but they will be blessed as you reveal your heart and teach them to worship. Nothing moves me more than to see a believer who doesn't understand worship make the transition to a worshipper before my very eyes. As people learn more, their knowledge increases. When they understand more, they cannot help but become true worshipping believers of the living, awesome God. They will never be the same.

Stephen M. Newman
Founder, ExperiencingWorship.com & Author of Experiencing Worship
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