I often tell the worship leaders I mentor that their leadership happens primarily off of the platform. By this, I mean that it is in the everyday-ness of life that they build trust with those they lead, having an impact even when they don’t know anyone is watching. In relationships they can model grace, in the classroom they can model perseverance and integrity, in social settings they can model purity. In life, we have continual opportunities to draw others’ eyes, thoughts and words towards Jesus, and those leaders who see their lives as worship lead others there even when there is no platform.
In a previous post, I wrote that our physical posture can lead our own souls to worship. Incredibly, sometimes our non-verbal expressions even lead others to worship. Those of us who have been gifted with the opportunity to lead Christ’s Church in worship know the profound honour it is to see God’s children pouring themselves out to Him. As platform leaders, we have the privileged front row to the Bride pouring Herself out.
- It’s seeing the one who is grieving struggle to sing that they will still hold on.
- It’s seeing tears wash over the wisdom wrinkles of one who has weathered many storms.
- It’s observing hands clasped together where once sin had torn, but now redemption has healed a marriage.
- It’s being caught up in the joy-dance of a preschooler, uninhibited before her Abba.
- It’s feeling the resolve of a parent to keep hoping for their child to find Hope.
- It’s watching “Amazing Grace” on the lips of one who has just found it.
Worship leaders, if we are honest, we know that the physical expressions of our congregants are often major catalysts to lead us to worship God.
So we know the reciprocal must also be true; that our engagement – emotional, spiritual and even physical, is important to help God’s people to engage with Christ. Enter a point of wrestling for many leaders. We are already, quite often, on display for the whole room to see. Don’t active physical expressions distract? Aren’t we calling attention to ourselves? Where’s the line between exuberant expression and showmanship? Truly, the Lord examines the motives of our hearts, and we must allow Him to purify ours. But, in a sense, because catching sight of one who is genuinely expressive toward the Lord carries with it the potential of drawing an observer in and of impacting their faith, is it not the privileged responsibility of the worship leader to engage the Lord with his or her body?
What about when we are not on the platform? On the very occasional Sunday when we have the opportunity for a ‘break” by participating in worship down with the congregation… what then? Do we chat in the lobby? Sit, listen, and rest – thankful for the break? Or do we engage just as wholeheartedly as if we had taken the stage? I’ve realized over the years that my role as leader leaves the platform with me, and resides with me in the pews as well. So no matter how weary, no matter how much I’m ready for a “break”, I enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise, and endeavor to engage completely with the Lord – heart, soul and body.
Our physical posture is an incredible reflection of our hearts. Through physical expression, we can lead our own souls to worship. And our posture can also lead others to worship our King. O come let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker (Ps 95:6).
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