Worship Music: May 6

Mike is continuing his series on the 40 days after the resurrection. This week’s sermon was out of Matthew 28, Mark 16 and Acts 1 – the great commission and Christ’s last words before his ascension. Instead of music about missions or outreach or things along those lines, I decided to take a different track. I based my thought process on the premise of John Piper’s book, Let the Nations Be Glad, “worship is the fuel and fire of missions.” The point is that as we worship God we are compelled to tell others about the glories of the One we worship. Evangelism comes out of the overflow of our worship. But worship is also the objective of our evangelism because the purpose of evangelism is to bring others into a worshipping relationship with Christ. So. That is the thought process behind the songs this week. I chose songs that speak to who God is, the nature and some of the attributes of God, that speak to His saving grace (and power), and then finally bringing it back to worship.

He Reigns
Pastor’s Greeting
Everlasting God
Awesome God
Mighty To Save
There is a Redeemer
The Heart of Worship

The week after Easter I sat in with the worship team from Alamo Stone and we sang He Reigns. It’s a good missions song, but it’s not necessarily a great congregational song (although I’ve used it as one in the past). I thought it would go well as the prelude for the service as opposed to in the main set as it would help set the theme for the day. I did notice quite a few people singing along, so maybe my concerns about singability were unfounded. Still, I liked it where we did it.

We started with Everlasting God, even though it’s not the most upbeat song in our repertoire. Like I’ve said before, I’m not a big follower of the “start fast, end ‘worshipful’” approach. Originally I had planned to start with Awesome God but we felt that the congregation would engage better with Everlasting God. The purpose of the song for this set is, as I mentioned in the opening paragraph, to speak to who God is and why we worship Him and it’s a good song for that. I have a hard time with the song on a musical level, just because it feels like it should be faster, but if you speed it up you’ve got major issues on the verses. We did a good job of keeping it under control but still pushing it a little.

Awesome God is one of those songs that probably shouldn’t be sung congregationally, but we do anyway. I used to just use the chorus of the song and tag it on to the end of other songs. But the past couple times we’ve used the songs we’ve sung the whole thing. Again, it speaks to who God is and why we worship Him (or at least a few of the reasons). We had some tempo problems up front, but managed to get things straight. I did notice that very few people actually sang with us on the verses…fewer than I expected. So I don’t know if I’ll go back to using the entire song next time we sing it. It’s not like the verse lyrics are earth-shatteringly good.

We sang Mighty to Save on Easter Sunday, which wasn’t all that long ago, but I felt like it fit well enough for this week that it was worth singing again. This time we sang it just in English. With this song we’re making the transition from who God is to what we do with it, “shine your light and let the whole world see…” It’s still, in my mind, a song about Christ more than it is a call to missions, but I think both ideas are there.

I’m not sure if There Is A Redeemer had been sung at Communion before. I know I hadn’t led it. It’s always tricky when you bring “new” (this song is over 30 years old) songs because you don’t know if people know it, have heard it, will be able to pick it up, etc. I chose it for two reasons, one because it follows on the theme of Mighty to Save that Christ is the redeemer. But it also touches on the role of the Holy Spirit and since Mike was going to be preaching from Acts 1, I thought it appropriate to sing “thank You…for leaving Your Spirit ‘til the work on earth is done.” I don’t know if the congregation is full of Keith Green fans or if they had sung it before, or if it’s just an easy song to pick up, but they did great with it.

We ended with The Heart of Worship, which may seem like an odd choice here. We’ve been talking about God and Christ and who God is, and how Christ is the redeemer Savior. And then we go to “I’m coming back to the heart of worship…?” I know. But it goes back to the idea that our efforts to tell those around us, to reach out to a lost world stem from our worship. And our worship should be from a pure heart. Otherwise are we doing anything but singing songs, raising hands, clapping, etc? Worship that is not borne out of love and a pure heart isn’t going to overflow into anything, will it? I don’t see it. So, that’s the point behind using that song. I realized as I started the song that I hadn’t really explained to the congregation why we were singing the songs we were singing. Most weeks I don’t explain, but most weeks it’s more obvious than what we did this week. So I prayed that our worship would be glorifying to God, that it would overflow into mission to those around us, that other would hear of Christ, and would be drawn in to worship Him as well.

May 7, 2012  Tags: , ,   Posted in: music, worship and the church

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