Something on worship

image Abe passed me a long article on worship leading by Ruth Dickinson at Christianity magazine on worship.  Mostly it is about the American cult of worship leaders – something we a not immune to here but, in my view, to a much lesser extent.  However, by way of an antidote Dickinson suggests four things, correct the motivation for leading worship, correct the criteria by which we evaluate worship (which she calls participation), extending the range of worship options to include other arts and silence, and seeing worship as a 24/7 engagement with God.

Overall I found the comments on Participation most helpful, probably because she quotes Leonard Sweet and worship leader Andy Flannagan:

Take inspiration from writer Leonard Sweet, who says, “There is a new standard of excellence: the quality of the participation, not the quality of the performance.”

Consider whether singing along with someone from the front is the best way for your congregation to participate in worship.

“Worship that is sung is very prescriptive,” says Flannagan. “It leaves very little room for interaction, participation and individual creativity. I often ask people, ‘How do you know where your people are at if all you ever do is tell them what to sing?’ That’s what we do with our words on screens. It’s like karaoke. God desires our expressions of worship to be honest, heartfelt and of-the-moment, rather than us only relying on someone else’s words and experience, even though that is also an essential discipline. Obviously there needs to be a balance between an established canon of material that carries theology/tradition and spontaneous creativity, but I fear that at the moment, the pendulum has swung much too far in one direction.”

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