“Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.”
-Psalm 95:1

You would think that Jesus had died a second time and wasn’t coming back if you watch some available worship services on YouTube. Heads are low, lights are dampened and sorrowful smoke looms across the stage floor. While there is certainly a time for deep introspection there is equally balanced time for joy, excitement and dancing! It may even be that those times ought to tip the scale.

My opinion on why we gather corporately on the weekend (or whenever we meet as a church) is that the purpose ought to be to encourage one another to stand tall for Jesus. The strength is in my encouraging you and you encouraging me. Maybe better put, my strength is Jesus in me encouraging you and Jesus in you encouraging me. There is a mutual sense that we lift one another up. In doing so in America we ought to be joyful in our pursuit.

I’m a worship leader who enjoys portraying on my face what the words of the song are singing on my lips. If I am singing “He overcame the grave, rejoice!” but I look like I don’t really believe it what is the point? It’s not attractive to those I’m leading. That countenance isn’t inviting others to take the right stand. Instead, I tend to use my body language to portray the glorious nature of what Christ has done and is doing through you and me.

I work in both adult and youth ministry. Immature Christian adults have the tendency to come to worship with the attitude “move me” written across their disposition. Youth on the other hand seem to desire an intimate experience [tears preferable] no matter what the mood of the service is like. In both cases Christ is more about entertaining a feeling than magnifying a Holy God. When we mature we begin to realize that my life is worship. My time on the weekend only helps to fill the tank. The worship team being great or less than great doesn’t affect my determination to give God glory and to be edified in the process. I don’t have to be moved or sense the presence of God because I know that He is living and active all around me, everyday. That’s why I’m joyful when we sing a song like “He overcame the grave!”. The work on the cross was complete and my right standing with God secured.

There are certainly times during worship where the Spirit of God is fully present in powerful and new ways. The church is electric and prayer has usually lead the way for those encounters. Those times bring tears. They cause the heart to stir. They are a perfect blend of preparation, humility and God-honor. They can’t be mimicked. They are hard to anticipate. They are wonderful!

The struggle that we have as Christ followers is wanting every worship service to have that same God-glory to fall like a cloud. When He doesn’t move in those ways we can scoff or say that He didn’t move at all. Worse, we could attempt to make the faces and feelings artificially. Instead, we ought to let God be God and make ourselves vessels of his kindness. Let’s allow for His timing and not demand our own. We should make every effort to be encouraging and inviting when we gather. Don’t be exclusionary. Be: convivial. Convivial means of or befitting a feast. When we gather together it should be like a feast. The Lord has set forward a wonderful spread on a beautiful table. We should come and eat with Him.

This all begins in our hearts. Prayer is the first step toward changing a church into a worshiping congregation. Next comes being very intentional about presenting the gospel as good news and not a burden. Yes, carrying the cross daily is heavy work, but Jesus comes alongside and carries it with you. The burden is much lighter in that scenario. Make sure that the name of Jesus is held in highest esteem. It must be much higher than the name of the pastor or worship leader. The final step is choosing music that encourages. Don’t choose songs that are dirges all the time. Let the triumphant nature of Jesus on the throne be forefront in your selection. He is forever glorified!

Being joyful in front of God and people is encouraging. It’s much easier to want to follow someone who seems like they are enjoying what they are doing. Believe me, I’ve been both types of worship leaders. It is much more effective to lead through intentional passion than quiet introspection.

How do you lead when you get the chance? Are you engaging or introspective? I’m certain that there are ways that you show emotion on stage. Are you sure to also share your elation? Are you convivial? I’d love to hear. Comment or private message…

-Micah Brooks