Worship is essential to a life of faith. In worship we engage God, who is invisible. The exercise helps us to grow in sensitivity to the Lord’s spirit. Worship through music offers us the gift of an emotional expression; an outlet to express ourselves artistically. Worship should always be meaningful; our minds must be engaged as we consider song lyrics and reflect on associative scriptures. Furthermore, true worship is not just an internal experience, but one where our bodies are also involved in the act of surrender before God.
These truths (and more) were taught this summer to about 25 attendees of our Worship-Leading Workshop in New Delhi, India. Stephany Dailey and Manohar Paul- both passionate worship leaders and skilled musicians - hosted a time where local believers not only learned principles of leading worship, but got to experience the lessons taught by practicing them through rich times of worship together. One attendee shared after the event, “I’m so blessed in this meeting. In the worship session it was too good. It helped to heal my heart.”
Stephany Dailey facilitated the teaching sessions, and took time to teach on both the responsibility of the worship leader and the congregation to engage in worship. Of course worship leaders should be excellent musicians, who are skilled in their craft. (Psalms 33:3 reads, “Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre, make melody to him with the harp of ten strings. Sing to him a new song play skillfully on the strings with loud shouts!”)
But another primary job of a worship leader is to carefully select songs that are both true and relevant to their congregation. Jesus taught his disciples that true worshippers “worship him in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24) The element of ‘worshipping in truth’ requires that lead musicians also be skilled in teaching and relating the word of God. Stephany demonstrated this by working through song lyrics of a popular Hillsong piece, tying the poetic imagery back to Scripture and telling a story with a practical example. This aspect of worship leading helps people engage their minds as to what they are singing, and so fulfill the expectation to “Love the Lord your God with all your mind.” (Luke 10:27)
Another aspect taught at the workshop was on the responsibility of those in the congregation. It is not just the skill of the musicians or the quality of the sound, the lights, or other externals that make a moment of genuine worship. It is the disposition of the hearts of the people worshipping. Spiritual people can worship God no matter the environment. A good worship leader knows this and will be able to guide people into meaningful times even when technical difficulties are present.
Stephany challenged the audience to remember that surrender to God is the first step. This may look like kneeling, raising hands, even jumping for joy! We are corporeal beings and when we engage our bodies (as well as our hearts and minds) in worship we experience the freedom that is spoken of in Scripture, “Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Cor. 3:17) In a corporate worship experience, such surrender can challenge and inspire others to similar steps.
Attendees shared feedback after the seminar, and we were blessed to hear testimonies of this lesson touching people in a fresh way. As one person said, “I had never been told to respond when I feel like the Lord is demanding something of me physically. I have been afraid to react because I did not want to affect those around me; to hear that my actions can draw people closer to the Lord is such an encouragement.”
The workshop was such a blessing for all who attended. We were thrilled to hear of the ways the Lord had touched individuals, helping them to experience the love and freedom available through the spiritual discipline of worship. One brother shared with us, “This meeting brought a new transformation in my life. I was blessed to be a part of this meeting. Something which changed everything in me is the LOVE for my brothers and sisters. Before this meeting it was a struggle for me to connected to Father, but today I’m feeling that FREEDOM to love him and worship him. Bless you all!”