A couple of days ago I was reading an article about the various styles of worship music and it quickly became apparent that worship wars are still being fought all over the Christian landscape.

There were over a thousand comments in response to this article and as one would expect they brought out extreme emotions from every camp represented.

The “hymn” crowd spoke about how their songs were based upon scripture while the “contemporary” crowd declared that no one wants to hear those old songs any longer.

All of this has caused me to spend some time in thought about this subject and as I used to be a “worship leader” I feel somewhat qualified to speak about it.

What is a “worship leader”? Well,to start with you will not find the title of “worship leader” found in scripture. It is a position created by the church.You will not find it mentioned in Ephesians chapter four where Paul named several different ministries given to the church.

11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints,for the work of the ministry,for the edifying of the body of Christ.

So what exactly is a “worship leader” if it’s definition is not found in the bible? Is it what we used to call the “song leader”? Is it what was formerly referred to as the “music minister”?

From my own personal experience as well as from speaking in a lot of churches and seeing many worship leaders in action I have found that the most common definition is “one who leads us into the presence of God”. If that is true,then let’s dwell on that for a few moments.

“Leads us into the presence of God”. Pretty serious business that. Wherever God is,Holiness abounds. Holy in a way that many of us cannot fully understand. Holy in the sense that the unclean and impure cannot dwell in His presence. Holy in the sense that God told Moses to take off his shoes because the place where he was standing was Holy ground.

So a “worship leader” is to lead us to this place,this presence,this Holy presence. And it is here that I must ask the question: is that even possible?

Can a man or woman lead me into the presence of God Almighty simply by singing songs of praise and worship? Can such an “atmosphere” actually be created or designed?

Please note that I am not criticizing anyone in a position of “worship leader”. As I have already stated I used to be one as my wife and I used to serve as worship leaders.

Where I think I struggle with this subject is that my attitudes towards music in the church has changed in the past several years. Oh,I still love music that lifts and encourages the heart. And I still love to play my guitar and sing songs of praise and adoration to my God.

I think the difference now is that it has become intensely personal for me,and perhaps it should have always been that way.

I have come to the understanding that I cannot be led into His presence for His presence is always near. One cannot be led to this Holy place by a song or a program,one lives in His presence by staying in the word and prayer.

In His presence is a continual spirit of worship and praise that is not dependent upon man,for it is not a created thing. Worship is a heart thing,not something contrived.

What I’ve learned is that there is indeed only One Worship Leader,and that is the Holy Spirit.

Be blessed,

Ron

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