EMBODYING WORSHIP: THE STRUGGLE IS REAL
Updated: Jan 27
I often run into band members and vocalists who love giving their music offering in worship, but their faces don't show it. Their bodies don't show it. It's almost as if the heart forgot to tell the body what's going on! Why is there a common struggle of disembodiment when it comes to leading worship?
- "I grew up in an environment where eyeball darts were shot at anyone with hands raised in worship. It was frowned upon. I was shamed out of embodying worship."
- "It's irreverent to express worship and I don't want to be distracting."
- "Worship is my own personal thing I give to God. It doesn't matter what I look like. It's between me and God."
- "Physically expressing worship is lame, weak, (insert adjective of choice)."
- "I don't do that. Just let me play my guitar."
I GET IT.
Friends, I get it. Sometimes all we want to do is give God our thanks and worship through our vocals or instruments. Sometimes we just want it to be our private offering. Me too! These moments are necessary, especially for those of us called into leading on any sort of platform. We need private moments of worship where we are communicating with God.
However, I humbly offer that we have a responsibility as leaders (including drummers, bass, everyone) to truly embody the words we sing and play. When I say truly, I mean authentically and fully from within. Your soul communicates worship to God and if you are on a platform, there will be moments where this happens in front of other people. As we set the stage for people to engage with God, ask yourself:
- Have I spent time praying through the words I'm about to sing/play with?
- Have I connected the words of the songs to moments in my own life where God has been faithful?
- Can I sing certain words in faith or as a prayer?
- Have I paused to recognize how the lead guitar line on the building bridge of this song will cement the words people sing to God?
What we do on Sundays or in campfire circles and small groups matters! It is humbling to participate with God in setting the stage for people to connect. Know that as you prepare, God isn't looking for perfection of skill. God looks at the heart.
WHY NOT TRY?
Here are a few tips and tricks to bravely opening yourself up to reconnecting your head, heart and body in worship:
- Take few minutes to stretch before putting on your instrument or grabbing your mic. This will trigger a reconnection to your body for the worship you are about to lead.
- Find one melody, chord, tone, sentence from each song that you commit to prayerfully worshipping through on stage. Connect it to a story from your own life. No one else has to know what it is.
- Try simply opening up the palm of one hand, in a receiving type posture that communicates to God, "I am open to You, Lord. Work through me."
- Memorize one of the songs you are playing. This will help get out of your head and into the heart and embodiment of the song.
If you want more resources postures of praise and the various words in Scripture that describe praise, I highly recommend this short but mighty read.