Over the past few years, I have increasingly had a problem with this phrase. At the same time, I have difficulty describing exactly what I do for the church, and even what I will be doing more of in the future.
We talk a lot about worship being “all of life.” I think when you automatically assume “worship” means “music,” you are narrowing the focus of worship to one aspect, an aspect that for many people isn’t a primary emphasis. I’ve tried to integrate the language of “song leader” or “musician,” which, really, is genius. A person plays or sings a song, therefore they are a song leader. Wow!
We’ve talked for a long time about ways to integrate various expressions of worship within our corporate gathering, like painting or photography or poetry. We’re still working these things out, but I still fear going with the flow of the American church — just saying, well, everyone else is calling this “worship” so we should too.
I don’t want to denigrate the value of coming together with the intention of meeting God. That is a unique way to worship.
At the same time, I don’t want to lose the value of “leading,” not in a superior fashion, where the person holding the microphone is somehow more important than everyone else who is participating in corporate worship (even simply by their presence). But, leading in the sense of somewhat “directing” the flow of the gathering.
So, I’m constantly back to the same questions. What is worship? What is music? What is creativity? What is art? These plague me. I guess they should.