david santistevan

worship.leadership

Response in Worship

Why is it that sometimes people respond more in worship than other times? What is the key to unlocking genuine response in worship and not simply emotional hype?

I realized something at our service last night: When the heart and mind are presented with God’s glorious Truth, the response comes naturally.

Last night we took time to contemplate the vastness of God’s power in creation. We saw that He is bigger than our wildest imaginations. We took less time applying the Bible to our individual problems and instead we gazed upon His glory. The response of worship was beautiful. We probably could have sung “Count Your Blessings” and the place would have erupted.

I think this is the best problem-solving technique we can employ – be confronted with God’s majesty and simply worship. Problems seem to shrink. Worry and fear are driven away. We are comforted and astounded by the truth that God is mindful of us (Psalm 8:4).

I think this is what makes Sunday morning difficult at times. People are entering the building having spilled their coffee, argued with their spouse, and scoffed at the weird shirt their son or daughter is wearing. As a worship leader, pray and pick your setlist so that the revelation of God will bear upon the hearts of your congregation. Notice I said pray. It is not simply the perfect setlist that solves the problem.

When people see God, they will worship.

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January 9, 2009 - Posted by | Worship

3 Comments »

  1. Hey Dave, your post definitely struck a chord with me, especially the statement, “When the heart and mind are presented with God’s glorious Truth, the response comes naturally”. It resonated with one of my favorite truths and on one of my small pet peeves.

    First, the truth … The fact that God’s Word is powerful and effective, sharper than a double-edged sword, piercing to bones and marrow has been one of the truths that has helped me to agree to teach, lead a small group and even preach occasionally. You don’t have to be good, polished or smooth; you just have to present His truth! Of course, God asks us that we give of our first fruits, so we use what God has given us to the best of our ability, but then He takes that humble offering and multiplies it to feed thousands. We are not successful because of our method; we are successful because of our God! In fact, even if we didn’t make an effort, the very rocks and stones themselves would cry out His truth.

    Now the pet peeve … You nailed it with “, the response comes naturally”. I’ve never been a big fan of cheer leaders. Not that they don’t have their place, but it seems to me that most of the time, they are disconnected and out of touch with what is actually going on. Face it, they spend most of their time with their backs to the game, focused on the fans in the stands. They try to coerce excitement and noise in support of the team, while sometimes not even recognizing what the team is doing. However, when the team does something great, or when they are in a critical situation, like a goal line stand, the cheers rise up from within the heart and emotion of the fans whether the cheerleaders are cheering or not. There are no louder or more heartfelt cheers than the ones that come “naturally”. So, my pet peeve is that I don’t appreciate it when worship leaders tell the worshippers that they are not responding in the correct manner or with enough enthusiasm. I believe at that point, they are focused in the wrong direction. They should simply focus more on pointing to “God’s glorious Truth” and then the worship response will come naturally.

    Comment by Tim Spencer | January 9, 2009 | Reply

  2. Hey David, your post definitely struck a chord with me, especially the statement, “When the heart and mind are presented with God’s glorious Truth, the response comes naturally”. It resonated with one of my favorite truths and on one of my small pet peeves.

    First, the truth … The fact that God’s Word is powerful and effective, sharper than a double-edged sword, piercing to bones and marrow has been one of the truths that has helped me to agree to teach, lead a small group and even preach occasionally. You don’t have to be good, polished or smooth; you just have to present His truth! Of course, God asks us that we give of our first fruits, so we use what God has given us to the best of our ability, but then He takes that humble offering and multiplies it to feed thousands. We are not successful because of our method; we are successful because of our God! In fact, even if we didn’t make an effort, the very rocks and stones themselves would cry out His truth.

    Now the pet peeve … You nailed it with “, the response comes naturally”. I’ve never been a big fan of cheer leaders. Not that they don’t have their place, but it seems to me that most of the time, they are disconnected and out of touch with what is actually going on. Face it, they spend most of their time with their backs to the game, focused on the fans in the stands. They try to coerce excitement and noise in support of the team, while sometimes not even recognizing what the team is doing. However, when the team does something great, or when they are in a critical situation, like a goal line stand, the cheers rise up from within the heart and emotion of the fans whether the cheerleaders are cheering or not. There are no louder or more heartfelt cheers than the ones that come “naturally”. So, my pet peeve is that I don’t appreciate it when worship leaders tell the worshippers that they are not responding in the correct manner or with enough enthusiasm. I believe at that point, they are focused in the wrong direction. They should simply focus more on pointing to “God’s glorious Truth” and then the worship response will come naturally.

    Comment by Tim Spencer | January 9, 2009 | Reply

    • Thanks for the comment, Tim. It is always a tough balance when leading worship – you want people to respond but you also want Biblically informed worship. I think if we keep the Word of God at the center, our worship responses will be pure. Thanks for the helpful post!

      Comment by santahara | January 9, 2009 | Reply


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