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Pick any church, any Sunday. Glance at the platform and chances are most (if not all) of the team is ‘eyes closed, hands up’.
Sound familiar? If this describes your team, you may be missing one of the most powerful ingredients of effective worship.
As a hired gun voice I spent quite a few years gigging with large event bands until 4am Sunday then a lead worshipper for three services starting at 6. And switching between the two allowed a window into how some singers connect with the audience while others unintentionally shut them out.
There is a basic set of expectations that come along with being a paid singer (and those of you who gig outside the church see this too). You will sing well, you will connect with the audience, and you will lead them to celebrate/party/whatever the aim of the event is. It’s part of the job.
So it’s always seemed a given to me that those qualities would be apart of effective worship.
But after busy volunteers learn the songs, find the parts and try to look like it’s not awkward being watched on the platform, we tend to miss one of the most impactful elements that make worship come alive.
It’s not raising your hands.
It’s not looking super spiritual.
Not even remembering all the words.
The single element most worship teams completely ignore is PERSPECTIVE.
WHO ARE YOU AND WHY ARE YOU TALKING TO ME?
Most of us are good at reminding our teams to be a ‘lead worshipper’ on the platform. Perspective is the key to helping your team grab on to that concept and make it real.
Simply singing from the perspective of the lyric connects the singer to the message in a personally powerful way that people can feel all the way to the back row.
HOW TO PLUG IN TO PERSPECTIVE
For better or worse, your teams body language is already deciding who the message of the song is for.
Imagine your team singing with eyes closed and hands up. Now imagine yourself in the back row, a new visitor or a regular attendee who is still not sure what they believe.
The team sings Chris Tomlins’ “This is Amazing Grace” eyes closed, hands up.
You have just been told that this wonderful, amazing grace is not for you. The team may be enjoying it but you are still on the outside looking in.
Now imagine the team scanning through the crowd, smiling, excited about the message and looking right at you.
Now the Amazing Grace becomes an invitation. It’s for YOU too!
FOUR PERSPECTIVES OF WORSHIP
There are four general perspectives in worship music:
- From me to God
- From us (believers) to God
- To other believers about God
- To the world/unbelievers about God
Now let’s test your perspective skills.
Which perspective are the following songs written from?
- Lord I Need You (Matt Maher)
- Your Grace is Enough (Chris Tomlin)
- I Give You My Heart (Hillsong)
- I Will Follow (Chris Tomlin)
- This is Amazing Grace (Phil Wickham)
- How He Loves (David Crowder)
- To God from Us – We Fall Down (Passion)
- Forever/We Sing Hallelujah (Kari Jobe)
- Revelation Song (Bethel)
- God is Able (Passion)
Were some of them tricky? It depends.
Sometimes we’ll change ‘me’ to ‘us’ on a repeat. When the noun changes, the perspective changes.
TAKE IT TO YOUR TEAM
Every line of every song is not written to be a private moment between you and God and it honestly shouldn’t look like it is.
When we lead from the perspective of the lyric (and fill in that blank when it’s not clear) we will naturally focus our attention on the intended audience.
Scan the crowd when it’s a message to the world. Look between a few believers you know when the message is to the church. And don’t be afraid to look deep inside when the song gets personal.
Try this yourself or with your team next time you worship from the platform.
Identify the perspective of the song/lyric
Look at the intended audience like you’re having the conversation the lyric tells.
Make it personal by thinking of someone you are close to that represents that audience (a prodigal son or daughter, a close friend struggling with their faith, etc.)
SHY SINGER TIP: Feel awkward looking at people? Aim for the forehead or top of the head. They will feel like you’re looking them right in the eyes.
Changing your perspective will transform the way you look on the platform, create an environment of authenticity and open the door to more effective worship.
Does your team already do this? Tell us how it’s impacted your worship. Have another idea to add? Post it below!
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