In my last article entitled “From the Stage to the Platform,” I enlarged on some of my personal history, in an attempt to lay out some of the details from my journey in the secular music arena. After I got saved, I had to readjust my focus from being the centre of attention, to centering my attention upon the only One who is truly worthy. I also shared how God’s love finally brought me to my knees after 46 years of fighting against Him. The Lord was wooing me. I had heard the Gospel many times, but I had other plans and selfish desires that I thought were more important. I resisted His advances with a steadfast resistance. O, how deluded I was! I couldn’t be more thankful for the day of my salvation.
I know now that there is no real life until Jesus enters our hearts. Everything is basically an illusion that feels real, but ends in meaningless death. It reminds me of the Scripture that says, “You can rationalize it all you want and justify the path of error you have chosen, but you’ll find out in the end that you took the road to destruction” (Proverbs 14:12 TPT).
Let’s look at Israel’s great leader Moses. “Meanwhile, Moses, Aaron, and Hur climbed to the top of a nearby hill. As long as Moses held up the staff in his hand, the Israelites had the advantage. But whenever he dropped his hand, the Amalekites gained the advantage. Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset. As a result, Joshua overwhelmed the army of Amalek in battle” (Exodus 17:10-13).
I see that these two men were instrumental in helping Israel to be victorious against the Amalekites by serving Moses. I am starting to see that the dynamics of a worship team may be very similar to the biblical story of Aaron and Hur. When the members of the team are submitted to the leader(s), and are able to lay down their agendas to uphold the arms of the worship leader(s), it makes leading worship a joy instead of a burden.
Times of worship are not times for individualism. It is not time for individual members to shine. It is time for Jesus to shine through the team. If the team has this purpose in mind, there will be true unity. This may be a lofty goal, but I have experienced it many times. I sometimes see the illustration like a picture of a surfer surfing the powerful waves on the ocean. Picture this: we all get on one surfboard, and as the waves (Holy Spirit) propel us, it soon becomes effortless. Notice that we are not on a bunch of different boards, but we are all together on one board. This is my desire every time I am involved in worship. I love it when we all pull together in sync, and we all feel the effortlessness of worshiping the King of Kings!
How do we get there? It takes a unified desire, purpose, and focus. Unity requires submission and it requires serving. When the worship team members are able to lay down their agendas and uphold the arms of the leader(s), it can be a beautiful thing. Resolve that the next time you are involved in the worship experience, after you have worked the musical parts out, remember to work the unity out also. After you have joined your parts together, join your hearts together. I pray that we would desire more of this unity, as we go forth into the future.
The team members are like parts of one body. Imagine how painful and futile it would be if one leg wanted to go west while the other leg wanted to east? What if one eye was looking left while the other is focussed to the right?
We are called to worship the highest and greatest King in the universe. There is no one like Him. There never has been and never will be! Lord of Lords and King of Kings is who He is! We need to give Him our best, as a team, submitted to one purpose and one desire! I believe this approach always pleases His heart. Let’s talk about these things with our teams and let’s focus on bringing these ideas more and more into reality.
In the world, we used to call it a show. It is not a show! There is only One in the audience! We are all called to be a part of the worship team. We may not all be called to get on the platform, but we are all called to worship the One who is worthy of all of our worship. This unity goal is reachable! It takes committed hearts to be joined together as one. We need to serve His higher purpose. Let’s focus our gifts back towards the One who gave them to us in the first place. “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow” (James 1:17).
I grew up loving music and I started singing at five years old, when my older brother taught me how to sing the latest songs on CHUM radio. I had no idea that music would become such a deep passion! It also, at times, became an obsession for me.
I always wanted to be on the stage since seeing the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show, and eventually, it became a reality. The “stage” is lit up so the performers can be seen by the audience. Ultimately, the reason I wanted to be on the stage was to receive a sense of love. I was seeking a deeper sense of value and worth.
I finally surrendered and got saved at 46 years old. I slowly started to understand that the platform in the church was much different than the stage I had become so familiar with. The stage is designed so the performers can be seen and, at times, adored by the audience. The platform is designed to praise and worship the audience of “One.” The Lord is meant to be the focus, and the church members become a group of worshipers. Only the Lord is worthy to be worshiped and adored. We are designed to worship, but we are not designed to be worshiped.
Everything had to be realigned for me as I slowly transitioned from the stage to the platform. It was no longer a show but a service. I was no longer the one who was being worshiped, but I was used to usher people into the presence of the only One who is worthy to be worshiped.
Often in church situations, when someone has a prominent worship gift, they are quickly fast tracked onto the platform. The modern church culture depends on good preaching, good worship and snappy video and lighting effects. When a new member comes into the church with any of these much-needed gifts, he or she is often swiftly lifted up. This is very dangerous, as this is exactly what happened to Jody and me. When this happens, our dormant pride has a very good chance of reviving itself and beginning its destructive, declining tactics! This declining fall happened to us once or twice in our journey! The old patterns of self-importance began to resurface.
In the secular music business, it is vastly preferable that we try as much as we can to sound exactly like the original recordings. It is sad to see a very similar trend in the church world. If our hearts are sold out for Him, then our musical style preference should take a back seat to our open hearts releasing our praise to Him. Sometimes I hear musicians warming up to a familiar "secular" song on the church platform. I personally wonder why? Perhaps some people have not experienced the effect that some of these songs can negatively have on some listeners?
The church platform should be a place of holiness. I believe we are called to holiness. We are called and honoured to worship the Lord. God is worthy to be honoured with all of our hearts, in Spirit and in Truth.