What Came First – The Worship or the Heart of Worship?

wooden heart

We have likely all seen many short quips on the web relating to how our attitude or view of God impacts the way we worship.  We have also likely seen other sayings that suggest that how we worship actually builds up and impacts how we view God.  These two viewpoints are both innocent enough in their desire to encourage believers in worship.

It is a good thing to encourage believers in worship.  And, it’s good to come up with new ways of doing this, including witty quips via Twitter (or any other social media platform or communication method.).  However, It’s worth noting that these two thoughts do, in fact, offer conflicting views as to the relationship of the nature of our worship and our view of God.  So, which is it?  Which came first?  The chicken or the egg?  Or, in this case, the worship, or the heart of worship?

Short answer:  Both!  Not the answer you were expecting?  Well, it’s all I’ve got for ya.  But allow me to explain why I have come to this conclusion . . .

To worship God is to recognize, honor and proclaim who He is.  First of all, let’s acknowledge that “worship” means a whole bunch of things, not just singing corporate worship songs in church.  However, for the purposes of this article, when I refer to “worship” I am referring to singing songs in a corporate worship setting.  Cool?  Cool.

Ok, so worship is about God.  That is the first and most important key.  It isn’t about us.  It isn’t about the church.  It isn’t about the worship band or the worship leader.  Worship, at its core, is always about God.  So, how do we worship if we don’t know God?  My theory is that you can’t.  Not abundantly and passionately, at least.

Another way to put this is this:  Do you believe the words you are singing?  If so, then does your worship show that?  It’s hard for me to sing about how great our God is with any real meaning if I think my God is small and weak.  But knowing how great He truly is – that changes everything.  I can’t simply mumble the words to these songs.  I have to proclaim them!

In this way, how I view God absolutely impacts how I worship.  I fully believe that I was a lost sinner, doomed to destruction apart from Christ.  I believe I was saved, not by any works that I had done or any merit I had earned, by purely by the grace of God through Jesus Christ.  I know this in my core.  I believe this with everything within me.  And I am grateful.  I am swimming in oceans of grace and mercy, and because of this, I can’t help but praise my God with all I have.  Think of it this way:  If your mom or dad gave you an awesome present as a kid, did you just mumble “thanks” and act as though nothing ever happened?  No!  You were likely excited!  You were likely thrilled!  And you were likely grateful, perhaps even running and throwing your arms around your mom or dad.

Well, was that gift any more potent or cool or awesome than what God has done for us?  Isn’t His gift of salvation way, way, way more incredible than a bike, doll or video game?  Then why do we so often approach worship with such indifference?  It’s not about false flair and hyped up fake enthusiasm.  It’s about believing the words we’re singing, and letting that impact how we worship.

On the flip side, the songs we sing absolutely can and do influence how we view our Lord.  It has been said by many that worship leaders and worship songwriters are some of the primary theologians of today, and I cannot disagree.  Nothing sticks in the heart and mind quite like music, and through that medium we are communicating truths about who God is.

This is why we, as worship leaders and songwriters, need to be so careful in the songs we write and the songs we choose to bring before our churches.  We need to ensure that what we’re singing in our churches are communicating Biblical truth as to who God is.  And when we do this prayerfully, led by the Spirit, we can see people’s views of Jesus change in dramatic ways.  Is someone in your church going through a hard time and perhaps doubting who God is in their life?  Singing a song about God’s faithfulness and goodness can boost their faith.

Sure, it may not hit the first time, but singing Biblical songs about and to God on a regular basis can and will encourage those who need it.  It’s not about the guitar riff or the drum beat, and it’s not even about how good the lead vocalist is (or isn’t).  It’s about the truth we’re proclaiming.  If it is indeed Biblical truth, then the Spirit can and will use it to build up His church.

So, we’ve now seen the “circle of life,” so to speak, that is the relationship of worship and our heart of worship – our view of God.  Let’s keep the short Twitter buzzwords and catchphrases coming, but let’s not exclusively limit how worship impacts us and our view of God, and how our view of God is reflected in our worship.  Instead, recognize the relationship, be thankful for it, and proceed with prayerful consideration as we continue to lead God’s people to the throne.

-Mark Logan

Introducing A New Song in Church

As we begin the new year, you may have some new songs in mind that you can’t wait to introduce to your congregation. There are so many great corporate worship songs out there these days, but how you introduce them to your congregation can make all the difference in the world!

Here is veteran worship pastor, Paul Baloche, sharing how he typically introduces new songs to his church.

What have YOU found works best?

v4.2.2 Update – Sending Messages to Teams and New Calendar Feed

wpLogo-version4.2.2

Happy New Year!!!  We have a couple new WorshipPlanning.com  updates we’re excited to share with you!  These were rolled out this morning.

Sending Messages from WorshipPlanning.com

While there has always been a way to send messages to various groups of people, it hasn’t been as easy as it should be.  So, today we are introducing a new “Send Message” window that does a few features we think you’ll really find helpful.  We’ve even put together a brief video on how it works – http://www.screencast.com/t/ZWDUrgpJK .  With this update, you can now send a message…

…from the Worship Flow

To send a message from the worship flow page to a specific team, all you have to do is click on the new “email” icon in the team assignments panel.  This will open the Send Message window and pre-populate the “To” section with those scheduled to serve (pending, accepted, or tentative).

Send a Message From Worship Flow

…to an individual, team, or arbitrary list of people

When you access the Send Message window from the Worship Flow, you’ll have a list of options as to whom the recipients will be, based on their serving team, assignment status, and service times.  You can modify these options or manually add or remove people using the “Manual Selection” section.  You can also remove anyone from the “To” section by clicking the “x” icon next to their name.

If you are accessing the Send Message page using the navigation menu (which now resides under the “People” navigation heading), you’ll still be able to select team and individuals using the checkboxes.

Sending a Message

…using previously sent message text

If you’d like to resend a message, or simply use a past message as a starting point, the new “Past Messages” option allows you to select a message you’ve sent in the past.  We’ll keep track of up to 10 unique messages for you to reference.

Send a Message - Message History

Calendar Feed for Assignments

Our new “assignments feed” allows you to integrate your WorshipPlanning.com assignments into the calendar of your choice via a real-time feed URL.

Calendar Feed Dialog

People Scheduling Made Easy

Does your drummer ever show up late (or not show up at all) on Sunday morning because he says he didn’t know he was scheduled?

If your church has a worship team, most likely there is someone in charge of scheduling and managing that team. Whether you have 5 people on the team or 50, having the right tool to coordinate and keep track of everyone’s schedules is a big task. WorshipPlanning.com is here to help!

With WorshipPlanning.com you can easily schedule your volunteers, not only for your worship team, but for any ministry in your church. And, we’ve made it super easy, so you can spend less time scheduling and more time investing in people. You can schedule individuals one at a time, or an entire team with a single click-and-drag.

Once scheduled, people are notified via email or text message, and are asked to respond to the “assignment”. This system ensures that YOU KNOW everybody knows what is expected of them. We also have video tutorials, so you can easily train others if/when you need to delegate the scheduling responsibility.

We are here to answer any questions you have about WorshipPlanning.com, so don’t hesitate to contact us! As far as what to do if your drummer comes late to soundcheck again this week…well, let’s save that for another post!

Your Visitor’s First 7 Minutes

I’ve heard about a recent study that showed that most visitors decide within the first 7 minutes of their initial visit, whether or not they will come back to your church. That’s starting from when they drive into your parking lot. If you’ve ever visited another church before, you can probably relate.

This is pretty significant. So, how you can use this information? In the next few weeks, try an experiment. Go to a worship service at your church with the point-of-view of the 1st time visitor. Better yet, convince someone you know who hasn’t been to your church to do it for you. Maybe give them a questionnaire to fill out.

As you drive into the parking lot what do you see? Does the parking lot look crowded? Unkept? Or even unsafe?

Are there any parking lot volunteers to help guide you? How far did you have to walk from your car to get to the church building?

When you get to the building is there anyone greeting you with a smile? Or, are the greeters too busy having a conversation amongst themselves? Or even worse, is there no one at the door?

Once you’re inside what do you see? What do you smell?

I recently heard that there are companies overseas that blow the smell of fresh, new cash into their vents and it actually increases the workers’ productivity. I am certainly not recommending blowing the smell of cash through the vents of your church, but we often dismiss the importance of smell. Yet, it is such a powerful sense that all of us have.

There are so many more questions we can pose. But, for the sake of keeping this from becoming a book, I would like to end with this thought:

When is the last time you got together as the church leadership team to discuss the first time visitor’s experience?

It is a valuable investment of our time and resources to do all that we can to make the first time visitor feel at home. Whether they are non-Christians or Christians looking for a new church home, God is giving your church the opportunity to reach out to them. And, we are called to be good stewards of that opportunity.

-article by guest blogger, Wisdom Moon
Wisdom is the Founder of AllAboutWorship.com

WorshipPlanning.com Update – New User/Song Info Windows, Helper Filtering and More!

WorshipPlanning.com Version 4.2.0 Released

We are excited to share with you that WP4.2 has been released, which includes these great features:

  • Updated User Info window with an informative graph of serving history
  • Updated Song Info window with a similar graph of performance history
  • Easy search/filter tool for the Helpers page
  • SongSelect search improvements
  • More Songs in our “Top Songs” Library

New User Info Window

When you click on a person’s name in WP, a new window appears that provides an array of information and options.  In addition to the standard contact info, we’ve added a tab to show the teams and skills of the person, as well as a nifty “Assignments” tab that shows…well, just have a look at the screenshot below.

User Info Dialog

The lower part of the screen that isn’t full shown is where all past assignments can be seen.  There is lots of great info about the person that can be found with just a single click, from just about anywhere in the site!

New Song Info Window

When we created the User Info Window, we naturally thought how that same type of information would be very applicable to songs. Thus, the new Song Info Window was born!  On this new dialog (which replaces the small pop-up menu that appeared when you clicked on a song title), we have all the possible song data you could want, PLUS another nifty graph of the song performance history.

Song Info Dialog

When you click on the icon in the Assignments column, a small window opens that shows who was serving on worship flow sensitive teams for that service.

Searching/Filtering Helpers

Backed by popular demand, we’ve made the Helpers table much smarter.  You can use the easy “filter” field to key in a few characters and the list of Helpers will automatically refresh to display matching results.  Additionally, the column headers can be clicked for sorting.

Helper Filtering

We plan on applying this intelligence to other areas of the site, including the Planners and Teams pages.

SongSelect Search Improvements

Our SongSelect search window now allows you to enter the CCLI number for a song.  It will be found and displayed more quickly than searching by key word.

More “Top Songs” Entries

Since we rolled out our updated Top Songs list, (with Spotify and SongSelect links), we’ve been continuing to research and add more songs.  The list is now over 500.  That’s 500 of the most popular songs in WorshipPlanning.com that you and your team can easily:

  • Stream the audio (with a free Spotify account)
  • View/print the chord charts (with a SongSelect account)
  • Watch/listen to the music video on YouTube
  • Buy the MP3 from Amazon
  • …all from your WorshipPlanning.com account!

Are You Too Satisfied?

In church ministry it is normal to have ups and downs. You may go through a seaon where the attendance is low, giving is even lower, and there are a lot of people going through crisis.

Sometimes you go through a season of celebration where you’re seeing a lot of new visitors, families growing, God blessing your finances, and every week you’re seeing people come to Christ. There is a lot of excitement in the air and it just seems like the Lord’s hand is on everything.

Hosea 13:4-5 say, “But I have been the Lord your God ever since you came out of Egypt. You shall acknowledge no God but me, no Savior except me. I cared for you in the wilderness, in the land of burning heat.”

Verse 6 goes on to say, “When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot me.”

Often it is easy to call on God and fully depend on Him when your ministry is going through challenging times. Sometimes you just have no other choice BUT to cry out to God and put your trust in Him. However, as verse 6 talks about, when God blesses us and we have plenty, and we are satisfied, it is easy to fall into the trap of becoming proud and forgetting about God.

Not that God is not being preached at your church or that you’re not singing songs to God, but that in your heart, you’ve become satisfied and don’t feel that desperate need for Him. You get too busy doing the work of God that you neglect the presence of God. You start trusting in your church’s resources, rather than God’s hand.

Whatever season we may be in, in our personal lives and in ministry, in the high’s and the low’s, let us never become proud and forget God. May we always cling to God like He is the only One that matters, because He truly is.

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