downloadI love the opportunities I have to meet with other worship pastors and leaders. I know firsthand that the people God calls to this ministry are given both an awesome privilege and heavy responsibility.  Worship leaders often get little or no encouragement, and sometimes bear the scars incurred from personal attacks, preference-based criticisms, and more. It can be a thankless and even discouraging job. I am continually amazed at the perseverance and steadfast work that my dear colleagues manifest in their lives and service to God and the church.

Here is a personal request: Please pray for worship leaders regularly, and take the time to show your worship pastor or leader your appreciation for their ministry.

I recently met with a worship pastor who loves the church and works hard to help people experience God in authentic and life-changing ways every Sunday. During our conversation, my colleague expressed sadness and concern about a troubling incident that took place before one of their services a few weeks ago. During the pre-service run-through, two musicians got into a heated argument about instrumentation and rehearsal preparations.  As hard as my friend tried to calm them down, the two musicians’ disagreement still escalated to the point where one left the building, and the other was left emotionally drained and hurt.

The worship pastor rallied the remaining team members and was able to lead their church in worship that day. However, the church leaders are still in the process of trying to bring reconciliation between these two people.

After hearing this story, I prayed with my friend and asked for God’s wisdom and reconciliation for all involved. I prayed that God’s truth would be spoken, and His grace poured out to everyone involved.

I also shared a Greek word that is sometimes used to describe worship: Proskuneo.

This word is approximately translated into deeply bowing before God, even to the point of prostrating oneself at the sight of His glory and power. At it essence, Proskuneo is falling down in awe before God. It denotes not only reverent worship but also faithful, affectionate love to God Almighty, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.

In Revelation chapter 4, the twenty-four Elders of the Church fell down before God on His throne in an authentic expression of worship, even laying down their crowns before Him. Their words bear witness to their devotion and awe of God:

“You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being.”
Revelation 4:11

I shared with my colleague that there is no indication that these elders were looking sideways and arguing with each other as they expressed their “Proskuneo” worship to God.  Their total focus was on God. Anything else would be absurd and pointless.

There is an important truth here: When we fix our eyes on God alone, above all else—including differences in worship music, styles, and personalities— authentic worship is the result. All of heaven will then echo the praises that come from our hearts, lips, and lives. I’m not saying that we have to physically do this, although there may be times when it is appropriate.  Ultimately, Proskuneo is about our hearts and lives.

When we choose to engage in heated exchanges about worship, we not only lose our focus on God, we also damage ourselves, and Christ’s body, the Church.

I encouraged this pastor to keep up the good ministry and continue to teach their teams, especially in times of disagreement, about Proskuneo.

We all need to be reminded that our differences can serve as a multi-layered harmony in worship, but only when we remember the ONE who we worship.

God bless you!
Chris Atkins

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