I rise from the malaise that has engulfed me after NZ's dismal final week at the cricket World Cup to offer just one more 'first eleven'.
One of the more complicated roles in the church today is 'leading worship'. It is tough! I have a lot of empathy for worship-leaders ... In fact I have a discussion with a worship team tonight and here are the questions I will be encouraging them to ask:
How important is it for our worship to reflect all four seasons in human life - summer, autumn, winter, and spring? How could worship engage more authentically with peoples' winters and autumns - as this is where most of them spend much of their time?
How important is it for our worship to be always contemporary? How could worship connect more with what is pre-contemporary and post-contemporary, respecting both the history and the hope that is designed to impact our present experience as followers of Jesus?
How important is it for our worship to be something more than singing? We all know it is and yet we all keep defaulting back to this. How could worship be seen to be and nurtured to be something that includes singing ... but so much more as well?
How important is it for our worship to be biblically accurate in what we affirm? How could the teachings of the Bible better enrich and restrain our practise of worship?
How important is it for our worship to affirm the reality of both the transcendent and the immanent God, the God who is way beyond us and the God who is beside us? How could we ensure a balance in this area in our worship?
How important is it for our worship to be realistic in what we pronounce to God? How could our bold statements along the lines of 'You are the only one I want' be tempered by a greater truthfulness where we focus more on God and what he does, rather than on me and what I will do?
How important is it for our worship to be appealing to those who are not followers of Jesus? Should worship carry the burden of evangelism? How could we focus more intentionally on making our worship appealing to God - and then allow Him to carry the burden of drawing people to himself if he chooses to do so through the beauty of our authentic worship?
How important is it for our worship to be so similar to what is happening elsewhere? How could we think more independently and imaginatively under God's direction to do and to be something more unique in our own setting?
How important is it for our worship to be inclusive of everyone who gathers? How could we 'push back' the danger of worship teams becoming bands who perform as well as the danger of the congregation becoming mere attenders rather than genuine participants?
How important is it for our worship to feature an engagement with God's word so late in the 'worship service' (that climax to our week of worship)? How could more of the worship service be structured as a lingering response to hearing God's word, rather than having us rush out so soon after hearing it?
How important is it for you to convene as a small group for a season and work through Stephen Worsley's new resource together - http://www.onestepaheadworship.com/ ... I think it is very important!