When it comes to worship music only one thing is essential, according to Keith Hibbs, director of the office of worship leadership and church music for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions: The approach to worship must be biblically based.
“When I teach sessions on worship I always ask individuals what has influenced how they worship,” Hibbs said. “What is worship in the Scripture? That ought to be the biggest influence and the biggest model used to plan worship.”
Hibbs cites Isaiah 6 and Psalm 100 as excellent models for worship, noting the need to begin with thanks and then praise.
According to Hibbs, music is an important part of worship and a proper mindset includes singing from the heart in thanksgiving to the Lord.
‘Song in your heart’
“Colossians 3:16–18 talks about exhorting one another as we sing psalms, hymns or spiritual songs. In your worship times you should exhort and encourage each other while you’re singing. Some people say they don’t sing but if you’ve had a true experience with Jesus Christ, you’ve got a song in your heart.”
Music can play many roles in worship and one of those roles is to allow each music participant the opportunity to reflect to the congregation and their fellow musicians the qualities that should be the norm for every believer, said Thomas Smith, music minister at Providence Baptist Church, Opelika.
“That norm is that the Holy Spirit, who is indwelling the life of every believer, should be the chief motivating force for all the believer does,” Smith said. “When the Holy Spirit becomes the major player in the church musician, the congregation will not only see the fruits of the spirit as described in Galatians but will see a worship participant who is real, genuine and a team player. When this happens in the music-maker, regardless of the musical style, our Lord will be glorified and the people will worship.”
Hibbs said the substance of worship is far more important than the style, noting the debate over worship styles can be divisive in churches.
A current trend many churches incorporate is technology to enhance worship, including screens, worship presentation software or sound systems.
Along with technology around 75% of churches still have hymnals in the pews, Hibbs said.
Hibbs considers intergenerational worship to be one of the healthiest trends, since it combines multiple generations in leadership roles.
“It is healthy because we at times have wanted to separate by generation our worship congregation,” Hibbs said. “I think the rate at which we see our youth dropping out of church once they leave high school relates to the fact that they don’t have contact with enough mature Christian adults to better establish roots in the Christian faith. Most of our churches today see the need for an intentional intergenerational worship service at least once a month. It’s a very healthy, scriptural picture of worship.”
First Baptist Church, Tallassee, in Elmore Baptist Association, is working to incorporate an intergenerational worship experience in their services, said minister of music and worship Michael Scarborough.
“A graded choir program is a good place to start,” Scarborough said. He looks for arrangements that call for children’s and adult choirs to sing together and he often features youth soloists in worship services.
“It’s a good thing for the congregation and for the ones singing,” he said.
As worship trends change so does the need for leaders as many churches shift from volunteers or full-time music ministers to bivocational worship leaders.
Hibbs has seen a growing need for individuals to realize the call to bivocational music ministry and hopes to build a list of individuals called to worship leadership.
The current list is very short.
Hibbs’ office provides training events like the annual One Day for Worship Leaders, a conference for worship leaders and pastors held Aug. 29 at Hunter Street Baptist Church, Birmingham.
Hibbs and his team also provide other adaptable training events for associations and churches where groups can learn tips for leading worship, using technology, leading a choir and a variety of other topics.
For information about training opportunities contact Hibbs at 334-613-2217 or email@example.com.
Concept of worship broader than the singing on Sunday morning
Many churchgoers use the terms “worship” and “music” interchangeably, but music is only one component of worship, according to Mike Harland, director of LifeWay Worship and keynote speaker at the recent OneDay for Worship Leaders conference held at Hunter Street Baptist Church, Birmingham.
“Worship incorporates how we approach and honor God, and music is a major part but only one part of this process,” Harland said.
Instead of debating music styles Harland, author of the book “Worship Essentials” and host of the WorshipLife podcast, believes churches should focus on four values of worship:
- Tell the story
- Make true disciples
- Engage the body
- Aspire with purpose.
For the full article visit www.tabonline.org/four-values.
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