Worship Musician Magazine July 2022 | Page 33

voices to yell “ Duh !” in the big hit “ Bad Guy ” even if Billie doesn ’ t ask them to !
Of course , the crowd is way bigger at a great concert than for the typical campfire . There ’ s vocal safety in numbers and even the most shy , non-singer in the crowd can find themselves swept up in the vibe and joining in . And sure , the artists on the stage , under the lights with the microphones will do a lot of singing - that ’ s who the crowd are there to see after all - but the crowd will at least be given their moments . And those moments when the crowd sings are often ( usually ?) the highlight of the whole show and when that ecstatic tingle of great live music really happens .
But what about in our “ worship ” context - where we don ’ t want to be the focus ? Don ’ t want to be performers entertaining people ? How far can we allow the needle to lean towards “ concert ” and away from “ campfire ”? If we desire our congregation ( who we would never want to refer to as our “ audience ”) to focus their hearts , minds , and voices on God and not on us on the “ stage ”, how concert-like can we be ?
THIS IS NOT A CONCERT … OR IS IT ? I have heard it stated that those who “ lead worship ” should never be performing - never putting on a concert at any level . “ It ’ s all glory to God ,” those people might claim . “ We want to be invisible !” But personally , I have found that way of thinking and speaking unhelpful . I am sure that people who say those sorts of things have good intentions - even believe they are being sincere - but I think it could indicate some level of self-deception .
If there is no element of concert-like performance when we lead sung worship , why do we have a stage-like platform ? Why is there often more light on us than the congregation ? Why is it that , in some churches , cameras follow the singer ’ s every gesture and facial expression to be displayed on big screens ? Why does rehearsal without the congregation look and sound different from when there is a congregation ? Why do I choose my outfit carefully , especially for a bigger church ?
To be honest , even at the campfire , especially if I ’ m the guy with the guitar who first starts singing , there ’ s an element of performance . In a way , even the campfire singalong at least starts as a small concert .
Small congregation or big , high or low production , there ’ s always some level of performance . Some element of “ concert ”. I know people are watching me and listening . I ’ m human . I ’ ll push forward from myself what I think will work best in that situation and hide what I don ’ t think will .
If we ’ re being honest , we ’ d realize that we all do that ! And we don ’ t need a platform , microphones , or musical instruments for it to happen . I think we even do that in conversations or social media posts . Stepping onto a platform in view of a group of people simply adds to the pressure to perform - to put on a “ concert ”.
As I consider the stories of the Bible , it seems to me that God can move through big , spectacular , high production , and the seemingly insignificant , small and low-fi . God
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