One of the things we spend a lot of time and energy focusing on at Nags Head Church in how we do and communicate things is trying to break down the misconception that many people have in their minds that the people on stage and the people in the congregation are two different groups. There is a great divide, even if it's unspoken, that exists in many people's minds that separates what happens on stage and what happens off stage, especially during musical worship.
This is why we stopped calling our band the "worship team"...they are NOT the only team in church that worships or even "leads" worship. This is why we don't call our auditorium the "worship center"...a room in the church building should NOT be the center of our worship lives. This is why we no longer call the music part of our gatherings "worship", but instead refer to it as the "music" or the "musical worship"...worship can and should be every element of our worship gatherings. This is why we've developed a discipleship class that covers foundational Biblical worship that every member of our church is required to take...we want to give people the tools to dig in and learn more on their own about true Biblical worship.
No matter how clearly we communicate, no matter how many barriers we remove, there are still people who just don't get it. But, it's so worth it for the people who do get it and are freed from thinking that it's my job as a "worship leader" to tell them exactly when and how to worship. I constantly remind the band (and anyone who will listen) that it's our purpose to get the corporate ball rolling and then step out of the way and allow space for people to worship together freely in their own unique ways. It's a blessing to watch people do just that, and frustrating to watch those who are always waiting for their cues.
I'm not saying that our corporate worship times should be a free-for-all and unorganized...God speaks strongly about corporate worship being focused and set up with holy boundaries. But, too many people can't get past the great divide in their minds that keeps them boxed in to whatever they're told to do.
How does your church address this great divide in your worship gatherings? Where do you see this misconception of worship show itself in the things that people say and do?
If you enjoyed this post, you may want to read the blog series titled "Rethinking Worship".