In 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!