The Two-Dimensional Worshiper

ImageIn the August partner letter, we discussed the One-Dimensional Worshiper.  I shared how that this individual is singularly focused, and that focus concentrates on their individual preferences.  This is not always from a wrong perspective.  I know many individuals who love a particular song, and they don’t feel their worship expression is complete if that song is not released.  As a worship leader, I know that I personally have certain songs that enable me to connect to the heart of God easier than with other songs.  Or, a memory of an encounter with God is triggered when I hear a certain song, and as a result it brings me comfort.  But it is very dangerous for us to stay in this One-Dimension because the focus of worship remains upon “us”, what worship does for “us”, how it makes “us” feel.  And if we never transition away from “us”, our worship can transition from spirituality to sensuality.  A great concern!

As the Praise and Worship industry has exploded, two streams of thought have emerged that deal specifically with this segment of our worship service.  It has caused a great divide in many ministry circles, and as such produced a new paradigm of ministry known as the “Seeker Sensitive” movement.  Please know, I am NOT intending to malign this paradigm, although several years ago I was somewhat troubled by it.  In a worship service that I was ministering, I was singing “Jump into the River” when I heard the Lord speak to my heart.  He rebuked me for being religious and judgmental reminding me that in the vision of the River, the main point was not whether people were waist deep, over their head, or barely wading in the river.  The point of the vision to concentrate and focus upon was that the people get into the river…regardless of the depth of the water. (I will save this for another partner letter).

When we speak of characteristics of something being two-dimensional, we usually reference the height and width of an object.  And these are the characteristics that I would like us to focus on regarding

THE TWO-DIMENSIONAL WORSHIPER

The first area to concentrate upon deals with Height.  In many churches, the priority of worship becomes how “BIG” we can make our worship experience.  From this posture of leadership, we begin to make the worship encounter a Production, causing us to shift from our focus and attention from being where it should be, upon our King and what HE likes and desires from our worship.  Nonetheless, we concentrate our efforts on sound systems, moving lights, haze machines and lighting.  We spend more of our rehearsal time marking our lighting cues and ensuring that they align with our click tracks, that we easily lose our focus.  This results in driving each weekly service to be better than the last service.  And if we are not careful, we will begin to judge the worship leader upon the delivery of his performance and end up forfeiting a potential divine God-encounter moment. 

Please do not misunderstand because I do enjoy nice lighting and the various resources we have at our disposal to help create that moment for people to connect with the heart of God.  But if we are not careful, we can focus upon the Art of Worship rather than the very Heart of the Worshiper.  As a worshiper, we must not settle for smoke and lighting and a great sound system.  We must be passionately pursuing more of God, His character, His attributes, resulting in Godly Transformation in our lives.

The second dimension is akin to the first and it deals with width.  Let me explain.

The fundamental teaching that we, the followers of Christ, have been mandated to accomplish is to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every living creature.  The Heart of the Father is that none should perish but that all come to repentance.  And when we realize this passion of the Father, we endeavor to reach as many people as we possibly can with the message of the gospel.  But in today’s society, I am concerned with this emerging concept that in an effort to reach as many people as possible, we forget the very message we are endeavoring to share.  Our focus shifts off the message of the Father’s love, to the methodology of the day, and in so doing we discount the message relegating it to a lower priority than our method.

This is the constant challenge with us as worshipers, worship leaders, ministry leaders and pastors. 

WE MUST FIND BALANCE.

I have experienced a vision of stadiums filled with worshipers.  But these were not concert groupies.  These were people passionate for the presence of God rather than a slick performance of a man.  For me, I continually struggle with this balance because this prophetic vision is Big.  It requires sound, lighting, cameras.  Yet, that can never be the focus and priority of the worship encounter.  These must merely be vehicles that help to communicate our passion for the manifest presence of God.  And hopefully, they will help to translate that encounter across the masses.  But if my focus becomes more on the technology at my disposal rather than my passion for His presence which brings transformation to my life, then I am out of balance and need recalibrating from the Holy Spirit.

As two-dimensional worshipers, we need to find a way to make His praise Glorious.  We need to utilize various tools and resources to help us communicate the love of the Father to as many as we possibly can, believing that the Holy Spirit will convict of sin and transformation can take place in the lives of these individuals.  But through all of this, we must have accountability measures in place to ensure that we remain balanced and not lose focus of the prize of the high calling which is in Christ Jesus.

As a worshiper, we must NOT settle for big productions which appeal to the masses yet never usher people into the presence of God prohibiting transformation from taking place in the lives of all present. 

Through your faithful monthly financial support, you are helping us to have these type of conversations with worship leaders, pastors and people hungry for more of God.  I cannot tell you how many worship leaders and other individuals who contact our office each month hungry for more and simply don’t know how to get there.  Your seed makes this possible.

Not only are we continuing to dig the wells of worship, creating safe places for people to discover and practice the presence of God, but we are also offering teaching, accountability and conversation to leaders helping them to do the same in their local congregations.  And as you continue to sow each month, the more opportunities I have to meet a worship leader at Starbucks, or host a Coffee-with-Keith, and create opportunities to provide conversation to challenge leadership not to remain two-dimensional worshipers, but to press into that 3rd Dimension which I will share next month.

Until then, keep sowing the seeds of praise into the Heavens believing God to establish an open Heaven over the region you are sowing into.  Michele and I love you and pray Christ’s richest and most abundant blessings upon you and all you in the Kingdom.  Keep digging those wells of worship!

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3D Worship- Part I

 

ImageWelcome to August 2013!  It is hard to believe that the summer is just about over.  Michele and I are settled into our new home in the Raleigh area.  Our office is organized, and our garage is even organized enough to get Michele’s van into it.  I simply have to work with her Driver Education to help her learn how to drive in and back out of the garage; which is no easy task!

We were able to get moved and settled before we hosted Throne Zone Carolina!  This was our fourth year of hosting TZ Carolina and I believe we have finally found a home from which we can begin to build this event. Each of the previous years we held the event not only at a different venue, but also in a different city.  When we began planning TZ Carolina here at The Worship Center in Durham, we quickly realized we are basically beginning from scratch.  Even though we were new to this city, we still averaged close to 200 during the day sessions and almost 400 for the nights which we were very encouraged by.  Everyone loved the new venue.  A special thanks to Joe and Sarah Call (founders of The Worship Center) and the Rotella family who serve as the Facility Directors and staff of The Worship Center.

Our sights are now set for Throne Zone New England this fall, and we are moving with great diligence seeking a venue that we can secure for this gathering.  Please watch the website for that information.  We are tentatively looking at November 7-9, so you can pencil that date down on your calendar to help us pray for this event.

I would like to share a word that God spoke to my heart for Throne Zone Carolina.  I will not finish it in this month’s partner letter, but hope to conclude it in next month’s issue.  My topic is 3D WORSHIP.

Psalm 66:1-2 states, “Make a joyful noise to God, all you lands:  Sing forth the honor of His name:  make HIS praise GLORIOUS”.

This is a challenge issued to you and myself and every other believer who loves God.  God has called us to release extravagant worship upon Him.  We know the scriptures say, “To much has been forgiven, much is required…”  And so we begin this journey of 3D Worship with the simple question, How Glorious and Extravagant should your worship be?

We sing songs about “I want to scream it out, from every rooftop sing, your love amazes me…”  We sing “Shout to the Lord” and even encourage people to “Jump into the River”.  But 3D indicates there are compound dimensions involved for our worship.

This month, I would like to focus on the One Dimensional Worshiper.

One dimensional is relating to a single dimension or aspect.  It is often categorized as superficial and singularly focused.  Since I have dealt most of my ministerial career with singers and musicians, I see this manifested in what I call a Pre-Madonna attitude.  Everything is about them and revolves around them.  (My Song, My solo, My key, My arrangement, etc).  And as I often state (and restate) to these gifted individuals, God has a difficult time using them because He must get past their egos, this can take a long period of time.  Yet God is patient and longsuffering and therefore He begins the season of testing and challenging one’s motives and focus.

As one-dimensional worshipers we make the worship all about us.  We don’t mean for it to be that way, it just happens as we are endeavoring to offer Excellence in making His praise Glorious.  But inevitably, we make the focus of worship upon us rather than upon God.  This is Egocentric worship- where our worship revolves around us…our ego.  We are at the center of this sacrifice of praise as opposed to Theocentric, where God is at the center.

As a worship leader, I will often ask God, “What do you want to hear today?” or “How would you like to present yourself to the congregation today?”  And what is really cool is how He responds.  I have heard His response in some unique places and in clear terms in which I could understand His expectations.

As prophetic musicians, we have the opportunity to release a song that describes how our God and King enters a service; for example, when we sense Him wanting to show up as The Majestic King, or the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.  He may wish to release a sound describing Him as the Mighty Warrior who wars on our behalf.  We must be sensitive to discern worship is not just a bunch of songs we sing to warm up the congregation.  It is a time when we get to make His praise Glorious, but also a time when He chooses to reveal to us who He is!

The caution if we remain one-dimensional worshipers, we will become more concerned about the people in our service and we can miss an entire dimension that God wants us to enter into.  The danger:  our leadership begins to plan the worship services around individuals likes or dislikes rather than concentrating on what The Lord wants to hear.

We must realize that God is calling us to more than one-dimensional worship.  He wants us to encounter Him in greater dimensions and experience His glory like never before.  There is more, and He is inviting you and me to explore the depths and dimensions of His glory and presence.

It is our desire to expose people to the fact that God has so much more of Himself He desires to be revealed, and worship is the access portal by which we can make these discoveries.  This is why Throne Zone gatherings are very important!  We must create safe places and set aside time to allow people the opportunity of exploring the various dimensions of worship.  It is a process, and people must understand the “How-To” of the journey, but then be given time to practice what they have learned.  Simply stated, this is the main core objective of the Throne Zone.  We want to create these wells so people can discover the presence of God in a new dimension, and allow them the safety to respond to that dimension of God knowing that no one will judge them based upon their response to the King.  We must realize that the worship of the Cherubim and Seraphim continues through eternity because with each bow, they see and discover a new dimension of God they never realized before, and all they can do is bow in worship for this new revelation of who God is and the fullness of His majesty and glory.

By standing with us each month with your prayer and financial support, you help us dig these wells.  I wish you could see all the emails and phone calls that we receive from people crying out for a safe place to worship.  A place where Pastors are not threatened by worship or the worship leader;  a place where worship leaders egos are not an issue, and where they have the freedom to respond to God as they feel deep within their spirit without any rebuke from individuals.  Michele and I cry each time we receive a call or email asking us to bring a Throne Zone to their part of the world.

As I shared at this past Throne Zone, we are Worship Missionaries.  We must raise our own financial support through partner support such as yours.  We hear the call, and we are doing everything possible within our powers to answer that call.  Your monthly gift enables us to say YES when they do call, and for that Michele and I say thank you.

I have asked the Lord for 100 new Kingdom Covenant Monthly Partners for 2013.  We just received six of those 100 this past conference.  Please help us pray for these additional partners so that we can move into the next phase of answering His Call.  The more support we raise, the more of these doors we can walk through.  THANK YOU for standing with us faithfully each month.  For every seed you sow into this ministry, you are entitled to a harvest, and we pray that it will be a strong and healthy harvest for you, your family, your church and your community.

Next month, we will focus on 2D Worship.  Blessings until then.

Digging the Wells of Worship,
Keith Duncan
http://www.HisCallMinistries.org
http://www.KingdomWorshipInstitute.com