Worship Leading – Re:Read

This post is a reflection of many of the observations I’ve had over the past few months. It is a post about judgements, reading people, and leading worship.
Mr Bean bored in church

Reading People

Each time I get up to worship lead I’m trying to get a gauge for where Gods people are at. Are they busting to stand up and get cranking, or are they reluctant to get vertical out of their pew.
During the space we create for a chance to bask in Gods presence, are they surrendering their hearts with open arms, or are they staring glumly at the floor and can’t wait to sit down again.

Judgement Call

You see, we make judgements by what we see. We see certain gestures, postures, facial hints, and we try and reason what they mean.
Staring blankly into nothingness = boredom
Arms raised and jumping = on fire for god
Sitting down = given up

Is that really what happening though?

Is someone with their eyes closed asleep? Or are they deep in prayer and being ministered to through Gods Holy Spirit.
Is someone with their arms raised connecting with God and surrendering their life? Or are they desperate to hear from God and think that raising hands might help?

You see, we make a call. And usually, a critical one. We are of course our own worst critic.
But what happens when you actually find out what’s going on?

Two Stories

Let me tell you of two stories.
One involves a man in our church. We were in the middle of a worship set, we created flow and there was no doubt of Gods presence in the room. But I looked out and saw this man. He had his hands in his pockets, and a stern look that was staring blankly at the ground 5 meters in front of him graced his face.
My initial reaction was that this guy isn’t feeling this. He’s missed the point and really isn’t enjoying these songs. Maybe I should wind this up soon.
Well, at the end of the service he came up to the team and explained that was the best worship experience he’s had. He had tingles running up and down his spine the whole time. The look on his face was merely concentration on all that was going on and listening to what God had for him that morning.

Another instance was at a worship workshop recently. Whilst everything went really well, one of the attendees was relatively reserved. He kept in the background and didn’t go out of his way to get involved. This is fine, and didn’t worry me, but I wondered if he really got anything out of it.
Then I got an email from him.
It outlined how he sees worship leading as a big responsibility and his hesitancy to get involved. He stated that he got a lot out of it and he respects the energy and knowledge I bring to worship leading.

Conclusion

Sometimes we judge things by what we see. We make a call on people’s feelings by their posture or their face.
I encourage all worship leaders out there to read your congregation, but also re:read them.
When you read your congregation you will naturally be critical. They’re bored. They’re not singing. They’d rather we stop.
More times than not, none of those are ever the truth.
That’s why you need to re:read them. Why else could they be sitting down? Because God has put a weight on their knees, and is reforming their heavy heart. Staring blankly with boredom? Or staring blankly seeing Gods vision for their lives?

Read.
Then re:read.

If you have any more stories about your experiences of mis-reading congregations, please contact me and I can compile some additional evidence to my post here.

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