Thursday, September 27, 2007

Leading From the Rear?

There are two separate but similar discussions going on at two of the worship leader forums I frequent. One is titled “The postion of a worship leader or lead worshipper” and asks the questions: 1) What did the role/responsibilities/actions of a worship leader look like in the Bible, and 2) What does that mean for those of us leading worship today? The other is titled “Congregation seating” and simply introduces the topic of how and where the band/worship leader(s) should physically lead during a corporate worship service and asks for any positive/negative comments (you may be able to view this conversation Here).

The latter discussion has brought up some incredibly sarcastic and close-minded comments (which is not unexpected on this particular forum) from a few who do not see any value in taking a deeper look into why most churches always place the band/worship leader(s) in the front of the worship space, usually on a stage, facing the congregation/audience. Their basic arguments are: 1) There is nothing in the Bible to support anything other than having the worship leader in an up-front, easy to follow (visually, musically, etc.) position, and anything else must be unbiblical, and/or 2) This is just the latest “fad” of churches who are trying to do whatever they can to be modern and edgy for the sake of being modern or edgy.

I see great value in these discussions (or this discussion as I think they can be one and the same), as do several others who are trying, despite the attempts otherwise, to have an honest, open conversation. I am led to believe that there is nothing unbiblical about moving the band away from the front/on stage position. I also believe that a church should be able to participate in this conversation with more motive than simply being cool and hip. And, I understand that not every church should to do anything differently because either a change is unneeded, or the resulting problems/issues would outweigh the worth (“change” in a church always causes some level of stress for somebody).

So, here is my attempt to unite these two discussions in an effort to take an unashamed, unbiased look at answering a few questions: 1) Is there anything in Scripture that should dictate how our corporate worship space should look and function (layout, stage, lights, etc.) in relationship to a person or persons leading worship? 2) Is there anything in Scripture that should actually hinder or encourage us to consider changing things up (relating to the topic in question 1) if we feel we might be able to better fulfill our church’s purpose (whatever your church’s purpose may be)? 3) Would the culture of your church and community allow your church do make some seemingly “radical” changes? 4) What does/would this look like, practically in your church building?

As always, make sure that you understand the purpose of this discussion and of this blog before jumping into the discussion. I really hope you can help me come to a clearer understanding of this topic. Thanks!



MilePost13 said...

A great place to start is by looking at the story and history of the Levites.

Steve-o said...

I think as far as sanctuary positions, possibly looking at the OT temple (minus the holy of holies area) as a possible option. I've heard, though I can't say for certain, that the original temple was a model of the temple in heaven (or something along those lines). If that is the case, maybe that could be a possible starting point for such.

MilePost13 said...

Good Stuff!

Rahel said...

I go and read Leviticus now... :-)

Rahel said...

Just want to say, I'm still running around with the questions! I did not forget this place...
It's just...what we speak about in the Worship Seminary gives me help to define what we do in a new way, so I have to chew on it a bit more to be able to say what it means for us in practice.
And secondly, a few weeks ago, we had to leave the place where we used to be for our services. Now we meet in homes and everything gets into a different light then. Our worship there looks different. Most of the time, just with a guitar.
Perhaps, that's why I started to think about what we are doing and what is good and what should definately be there and what doesn't have a high priority (like can be, but must not).
But it can all be the question of the purpose.