With this week's post I would like write a word of encouragement to everyone who leads in worship here at MPBC and in other churches everywhere. One of the hardest parts of leading in worship week in and week out is seeing people each week who don't participate. They stand there with their arms folded and mouths closed and we get discouraged. Why aren’t they singing? Why don’t they have their hands raised? Do they not love Jesus? And if they do love Jesus, why do they seem to love their coffee cups more? Why is it that the only time they open their mouths is to yawn?
I think that anyone who has ever led worship has asked those questions. But, here’s the bigger issue. We look out and see the same faces each week not singing (missing it in our eyes) and we assume that God (the Holy Spirit) isn’t working because He can’t possibly be present and working when the people are so indifferent during worship. But that’s not true. In his book, Worship Matters, Bob Kauflin writes:
“The Holy Spirit is indeed present and at work every time the church gathers. We just need to understand biblically what that means. When people grasp something of God’s glory, the Spirit is at work. When people are convicted of sin, the Spirit is at work. When people receive hope and strength in the midst of a trial, the Spirit is at work.” Kauflin goes on to say that the Holy Spirit may also choose to reveal Himself through “a heightened awareness of His nearness”.
God probably isn’t going to reveal Himself in some type of spectacular way each and every time we meet to worship together. But, He is going to show up! We just don’t know how. So, we have to trust in His plan and His way. We don’t know everything that our people are going through. We don’t know all of their struggles and fears. But God does. And we have to believe that He will use us, our music, and our times of worship to minister to each individual situation.
I’ve been astounded and amazed many times after a service when someone comes up to me and tells me how much the worship time meant to them that morning. God touched their heart and gave them comfort and peace. And many times, these are the same people that I thought didn’t care. They never once sang or lifted their hands or closed their eyes. They just stood there like statues. But God was moving and working as only He can.
So, this week as you lead in worship, and it looks like people are half asleep, just remember that God never sleeps and He’s always present and working.