The Heart of Worship

I don’t know how to rehearse worship. I could go through the list of songs; maybe look at rearranging their order and select the right keys for each song, but that’s about it really.

My understanding is that you are either rehearsing the singing or having worship. I can’t do both.

I say this because of a recent experience that left me feeling very confused and almost doubting myself as a worship leader.

In a musical production, songs and arrangements can be rehearsed as many times as possible before the opening night. Then when the curtains go up, the performers go into ‘free fall’ mode while relying heavily on past experience and skills but also remaining true to the specific guidelines of the rehearsals and trying not to deviate from the script.

Worship is not the same as performance. I cannot stick to the script of men when it comes to worship. Please don’t get me wrong, because I already know that ‘the spirits of the prophet are subject to the prophet.’ For me, in this instance, it’s mostly to do with complete surrender to the Holy Spirit while also being aware of time boundaries.

I see worship as completely organic and unscripted. So if for example you would want me to stick to a script of three ‘hallelujahs’ or follow an exact rendition because “that’s how it is expected to be done,” or “because this is my extra special arrangement and nothing else will do,” then this is where it can get really tricky.

It begins to feel restricted, regimented and somewhat claustrophobic in nature. It takes away the liberty in true worship. It leans towards the satisfaction of men first and then God. It becomes a stage performance and musical recitation.

This meant that I couldn’t give my all at rehearsals and I could tell that this made them lose confidence in my ability; but most of all, I let them treat me like I didn’t know what I was doing. I lost my voice and let them direct me. I didn’t take charge. I didn’t express my opinion. It was a very overwhelming and humbling experience.

It makes me feel very uncomfortable to observe the gradual takeover of the ego of men in the church environment. In pursuit of the spirit of excellence, they have made it all about their own agendas without realising the ripple effect it has caused; putting pressure on the worship leader and musicians to perform nothing more than a glorified sideshow.

Worship leaders have different styles and approaches, but the common denominator is having the heart to lead Gods people into His presence.

Let us all come back to the heart of worship, where it’s all about Jesus and not about us.


  1. I quite appreciate the integrity in your approach. There is something to be said for the pursuit of excellence, though. It was the most skillful craftsman God called for the building of His temple. Obviously, he wouldn’t have chosen them if their hearts were not right.


    1. Absolutely, that is a valid point. ‘Their hearts’ being the operative phrase here; for we may focus on having all the talent or skill in the world but fall short of the most important thing of all. Then we become like ‘clanging cymbals’ albeit excellently so.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment 🙂


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