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April 10, 2014

Cultivating an Atmosphere of Worship

by Matt Ulrich

WorshipWorship.  It is not just the songs we sing on Sunday.  It is not just something religious that is done during large group gatherings.  Everyone is a worshiper, whether you are a follower of Jesus or not.  The real question is not if you worship, but what you worship.

With all that being said, there are still times when worship (songs and praise directed towards God) can help to cultivate and facilitate lifestyles and even microchurches that maintain a continual, worshipful gaze with their eyes fixed firmly on Jesus.  So how do we set a worshipful tone within the context of our microchurch?  What does that look like week to week?  How do we keep worship fresh?  Well, I’m glad you asked.  Here are a few pointers on how to keep worship vibrant and impactful in the context of your microchurch.   

1. Cast a vision for worship.  This seems like a no brainer, but a lot of times this is the exact reason why an atmosphere of worship is not attained; leaders default to thinking that everyone knows what that means.  As a leader you need to explain what worship is and why it is important.  Scour the Scriptures and help bring some verses that show the vibrancy of worship alive to your microchurch (Ex: Psalm 150:1-6, Colossians 3:16, Psalm 95:1-5, Zephaniah 3:17)  Take 1 minute before you worship to read a verse on worship and explain how and why this is so critical to allow our souls to worship God, regardless of how we came into microchurch that night.

2. Set the guidelines. A lot of times, people don’t know what you are expecting them to do during a time of worship.  Can they stand up?  Can they open their eyes?  What if they have a verse that comes to mind… can they say anything?  A lot of times people will go where the leader tells them and if the leader remains silent, they won’t go anywhere.  Be sure to describe the context of worship.  An example might be, “Hey guys, we are about to go into a time of worship.  However you want to worship the Lord, feel free!  If you want to get up and walk around please do.  If you have a verse to share, let me know!  We would love to hear it.  If you feel like you want to dance by all means.  If you want to just soak in the presence of the Lord, let Him wash over you. Let the Spirit guide this time and simply be sensitive to the Spirit.  Let’s press in and really engage with Jesus during this time.”  This again is casting vision that you can be expressive or silent before the Lord, however He is leading.  The main point is that you are giving them freedom to worship as they please and reaffirming the important of what is about to take place.

3. Ask!  A lot of times people won’t rise up and share their gifts unless they are asked or they see a felt need.  So don’t wait for them to come to you; go after them!  Ask early on who plays an instrument and who sings.  Then once you find out who is musically inclined, ask them if they have any interest in leading worship.  Some of the best worship leaders in my microchurch didn’t initially offer themselves; I had to go get them.  You have not because you ask not… so ask!

4. Leave room for the Holy Spirit to move. Allow time for the Holy Spirit to move at the tail end of worship.  Again, set the guidelines and let the group know that if they have a word, a Scripture, or an encouragement to share that there are at liberty to do so.  Just make sure what is said lines up with Scripture and is given in a Spirit of love!

5. Mix it Up! There are so many ways to lead your microchurch in worship.  You might have some leading with a guitar, you may play a particularly powerful song you found on youtube, or play a CD.  Whatever works for your microchurch context.

You can also do various worship exercises like journaling to worship music or having a time of silent reflection.  Be sure to pray for creativity and diversity.  Jesus doesn’t only move through the newest Hillsong or Israel Houghton hit, so make sure you don’t box worship in.  Let the Spirit move as He leads!

Even though worship is not confined to a 10-20 minute window during microchurch or church, it is always powerful to line up to and just flat out praise God for who He is and what he has done.  Don’t let worship simply become part of the religious routine.  Fight to keep it fresh and every week, uncover and remind the beauty and power of worship to your microchurch!

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