Worship Musician Magazine January 2024 | Page 30

Music is potent . Music is powerful . Music can change the atmosphere . Can break down barriers . Can build connection that might not otherwise be possible .
I believe that God is The Creator . He created everything - including music . Like every other thing that God has created , music is a gift from God that , if used correctly , helps us to know Him and experience Him more fully .
Many of us who consider ourselves worshippers of God make a connection between music and our experiences of God ’ s presence or , what some would call , His manifest presence . It seems that many followers of Jesus believe that we can experience a deeper , more tangible sense of God - His reality , His love for us , His power - as we sing and make music as an offering to Him .
But not all of us experience God ’ s presence - or know God ’ s presence - in the same ways as each other . We ’ re all individuals . Each of us is unique - different from one another . And God is omnipresent , after all . On this matter at least , who am I to judge the “ correct ” or “ superior ” way that people should experience or know God ’ s presence ?
Yes , I ’ m certain there are things that each individual can do ( or not do ) to more fully open themselves to the things of God . But , I must recognize that God is God . His ways are beyond my ( or any other human ’ s ) ways . [ Isaiah 55:8-9 ] God does what He , in His infinite wisdom , chooses to do . I can ’ t make Him do what I want Him to do . And ultimately , it is He who makes Himself known to me or any other person … or not .
I don ’ t believe it should be the “ worship leader ’ s ” job to create an experience of God ’ s presence for the congregation . I can ’ t make God show up ! That ’ s beyond my ability . If people have experiences of God ’ s presence as I lead , I can ’ t take credit for that . God did that . Not me .
If those of us who lead sung worship make it our goal and believe it is our responsibility to create a situation where people experience God ’ s presence , we could be on a dangerous
path . If we believe we are succeeding in that task , it can easily go to our heads - make us feel proud and superior . If we fail , it can crush us . We ’ ll base our sense of success or failure on our own feelings , our observations and what people tell us about their feelings . Rather than labelling ourselves as especially successful or a failure , it ’ s perhaps more likely that we ’ ll hover somewhere between the two and blindly carry on .
Let me share a few short anecdotes to explain why experiences of God ’ s presence are not the goal I ’ m shooting for when I lead sung worship :
ANECDOTE 1 : Pete ( Not his real name )
I knew Pete when we were both part of a very Pentecostal church congregation in Nashville , Tennessee , USA . Pete was very much a “ sing it till you feel it ” kind of guy . Having experiences of God ’ s presence - God ’ s manifest presence - through music or any other way was a high priority to Pete . In fact , if Pete heard about a new move of God happening somewhere , he would drop everything and travel to be there
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