(Step 0 - Bible.)
Step 1 - Find the Human NEED.
Step 2 - Find the GRACE for that need.
Step 3 - TAKE THAT GRACE, yourself. Right now.
Step 4 - Thoughtfully WORSHIP GOD, yourself, based on 1-3.
Step 5 - INVITE YOUR PEOPLE to do steps 1-4, together. In the service.
Here are some things I've been learning about preparing to lead worship. We use this process, here at the Resurrection.
(Prerequisite: Choose a BIBLE Passage.)
Pick a PASSAGE OF SCRIPTURE (not a topic or song). (Ask the Holy Spirit to help you choose a Scripture.) Then...
Step 1: Need
Find our specific human need, in the passage. This is a difficulty or a sin, or both. Be specific. Give the need a name (i.e. - Fear, Loneliness, Lust, Prejudice, Evangelistic Laziness, etc.) Don't do Step 2 till you do Step 1.
Step 2: Grace
Find the specific Grace in the passage, which completely heals the specific need. Be specific. It's there in the passage. I'm telling you, it's there. (Context is part of the text.) (Hint: what does the passage say God did, or does, or will do?) Give the grace a name. (Corresponding to the examples above: God's strength, God's presence, God's commitment to you, God's, Jesus' Blood covering those you hate, Knowledge of Hell & the Gospel, etc.) Don't do Step 3 till you do Step 2.
Step 3 - Take the Grace yourself, right now.
Think about your personal need, and the grace being offered. What should this change for you, in this moment? (Hint: What does the passage say to do? Repent? Praise God? Confess weakness? Share Christ? Try again?) It will always include Trusting God, in the moment. Always. Now pray and take the step standing before you, personally. (Don't be a hypocrite). Don't do Step 4 till you do Step 3. Don't do Step 4 until you do Step 3. Don't do Step 4 until you do Step 3.
Step 4 - Worship God yourself, right now.
Now ask yourself, how should the experience of God's grace I'm having cause people to worship God? How do you feel about God, right now? (Or how should/can you feel about God, right now? (i.e. joy, peace, strength, cleansed, renewed, loved, able to endure?) What COSTLY GIFT can you give to him, right now? What costly gift can you give to him, with some planning? (i.e. a commitment to pray daily, a commitment to read God's word, willingness to publicly confess my love for Jesus, a new desire to come to him with my other deep needs.) (Hint: What does the passage say about how you should feel, or what you should give to God?) Now worship Him! Enjoy him. Give to him all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Love him. Be expressive. Be vocal. (Encouragement: You never have to manufacture emotion before God's people. You just need to have the emotion that is the natural outworking of God's specific grace meeting your specific need.) Don't do Step 5 until you do Steps 1-4.
Step 5 - Invite your people to experience God's grace meeting their need, so that they can truly worship Him, together, in the service.
Ready to become a great worship leader? Start forming a plan to take your people though this same experience (Steps 1-4), and invite them to do it themselves (not just sing about doing it, or watch as others do it, or remember when they did it a long time ago). Invite them to be vulnerable and do it now, together, as a family.
Your plan should flow out of asking questions like: How can the congregation understand the connection between their daily life, and the need in this passage (Step 1)? (Possible idea: Invite individuals to come to the microphone for 30 confessions of need, for 5 minutes. Those who don't come forward will still hear and start making connections you don't yet see. Another possible idea? A great song.) How can the congregation vulnerably choose to receive the grace (Step 3), rather than just hear about the grace? (Possible answer: Break into prayer groups of 5, where each person publicly confesses that they believe that His promise in this passage is true, and tell God how it makes them feel.)
Doing this sort of thing together can create a sense of shared experience of God, as we feel him together for all the right reasons. And using this basic pattern week after week, year after year, can create the learned skills necessary for all of God’s people to know how to receive all of God’s grace from all of God’s scripture, all the days of the week. Do Steps 1-5 for the rest of your life, with your spouse, your kids, your friends, and your church, and your God.
Also, don't be afraid to tell people exactly what to do. Be direct. Just make sure you are telling them to do exactly what God is telling them to do in the passage, with the grace he's offering in the passage. That's godly leadership. What great ideas do you have?
Step 0 - BIBLE
Step 1 - NEED
Step 2 - GRACE
Step 3 - TAKE the Grace
Step 4 - RESPOND to Grace
Step 5 - LEAD Others into the Same Grace, Together.
The man that taught me to preach once showed me that the purpose of a sermon is not to tell people about God's Saving Actions (Grace), but rather to help enable them to trust and then obey because of God's Saving Actions. Worship is no different, because trust and obedience that flows out of the Gospel is what worship is (Rom 12:1, Matt 5:23-24).
We've got to invite them to "take the grace," and to do with it what it was offered for: to empower joyful obedience and praise, by faith. This can actually be done IN THE SERVICE. If we aren't doing this kind of worship now, together, how will we ever learn to do it alone, later?
Worship is something you do, not something you feel. But really, it’s something you, do because of how you feel, because of how God’s grace in Christ meets all your needs forever.
God bless you and your family!