Worship and why it drives me nuts.  

Posted by Daniel in , ,

Many of you out there who know me have most likely heard my short but heated rant on why I severely dislike, even despise, the use of the term worship leader.  Before I begin I do want to say that this does not come from a hate of music.  I love listening to it, I enjoy making it, I even enjoy studying it to some degree. Second of all I understand that this is strictly semantics for some people and they use it just as the most commonly used term, I don't mind that as much. However, there is still a problem I think that needs to be addressed in regards to this term. This term carries the connotation that music is the only part of our church service and lives that God sees as worship. It also says that because that music is "true" Worship, that it is more important than preaching, fellowship, or any other thing. Once again I want to say that I do love music, and I know that it is precious to God, but it is not all that Worship is.

First off, the meaning of the word Worship in Biblical terms: is to prostrate oneself in homage to something or someone. This definition does not really bring to mind singing or music. We see hands being lifted up in song, but never singing happening being prostrate. If any of you have any experience singing you know being bent over, or lying down does not really produce the best sound, or even is really possible.So the meaning of the word does not really lend itself to a definition of song, certainly not meaning singing only. As well there are 181 uses of the word Worship in the Bible according to BibleGateway. I know that most likely there are more uses, but I think this is a pretty good run at it. Some of them have a reference of singing as part of that usage, but not all. As well some of them (listed below)indicate other things as worship, specifically referring to bowing in worship, or list singing along with worship.

When Gideon heard the account of the dream and its interpretation, he bowed in worship. He returned to the camp of Israel and said, "Arise, for the LORD has given the camp of Midian into your hands."

All the sons of Israel, seeing the fire come down and the glory of the LORD upon the house, bowed down on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave praise to the LORD, saying, " Truly He is good, truly His lovingkindness is everlasting."

While the whole assembly worshiped, the singers also sang and the trumpets sounded; all this continued until the burnt offering was finished.

Moreover, King Hezekiah and the officials ordered the Levites to sing praises to the LORD with the words of David and Asaph the seer. So they sang praises with joy, and bowed down and worshiped.

Then Ezra blessed the LORD the great God. And all the people answered, " Amen, Amen!" while lifting up their hands; then they bowed low and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.

" All the earth will worship You,And will sing praises to You;They will sing praises to Your name." Selah.

Thus the LORD will make Himself known to Egypt, and the Egyptians will know the LORD in that day. They will even worship with sacrifice and offering, and will make a vow to the LORD and perform it.

and he said to Him, " All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me."

And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, "You are certainly God's Son!"

[ Dedicated Service ] Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

So looking at the word's definition and the use of it in the Bible I believe that while singing can be/is a part of Worship it is not all that worship is. Another part of this is the use of the term Worship Leader. As already discussed when applying the term Worship it gives an incorrect understand of what Worship is. So when Worship is put together with Leader it creates an incorrect impression that the music leader is the head of Worship. In the very least we should consider them on equal footing with the pastor, at most they should be considered lower than the pastor. Most certainly the music leader is important, don't get me wrong, but we must consider what our labels show to others.

As I said music is near and dear to my heart, and I know God loves it, and this is not coming from dislike of it. However, words and labels can be extremely powerful, and I believe we need to be careful with how we label and structure our churches. As I also said I know some people just use it as the most convenient label, but even to them I pray that you will search your heart and make sure you are no improperly weighing one part of worship over another.

Solo Deo Gloria

This entry was posted on Monday, January 24, 2011 at Monday, January 24, 2011 and is filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


I agree that people sometimes place too much value on the 'leader' instead of worship...but I do think that, as you said, often it is just out of the use of a label that people often use the term "worship leader," because their job is to lead in a form of worship. It is interesting to see the different scriptures on how people worshiped. Good thoughts.

January 24, 2011 at 7:50 PM

Worship is a way of seeing the world in the light of God.
~Abraham Joshua Heschel

March 22, 2011 at 6:12 PM

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