The Power of the Nag or The Power of the Holy Spirit

Featuring John Telman Posted on May 2, 2008

Worship leaders can easily be trapped into wanting a response from people. Men especially seem to want to get a rise out of a congregation.  Recently I heard a worship leader say, “A quiet church is a dead church”.  Another worship leader said, “Worship God even if you don't feel like it”.

There is no doubt that God is worthy of exuberant praise! It's easier to calm a fanatic than to raise a corpse. When Jesus entered Jerusalem to the shouts of throngs of people, the Pharisees became irritated. They said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples” (Luke 19:39). In the next verse, Jesus responded that “if these become silent, the stones will cry out”. King David praised with the dance, to the consternation of his wife (2 Samuel 6:16)

Yet, people like Moses, John the Revelator, and the people of Israel  also worshiped in quiet humble adoration.   1 Chronicles 29:20 says, "Then David said to the whole assembly, 'Praise the LORD your God.' So they all praised the LORD, the God of their fathers; they bowed low and fell prostrate before the LORD and the king."  How does that fit with the  idea that "A quiet church is a dead church"?

This caution is not for the worshipers but for worship leaders. Those of us who have been given the responsibility of leading others in worship must do so with a singleness of heart and mind. Worship must be for God and God alone! We do not stand before others to gain a certain response.

You may say, “I don't get it.” Allow me to explain.

When leading in worship, the most efficient and effective way to lead others is to proclaim who God is and why he is to be worshiped. To tell people to make noise does not connect hearts with the awesomeness of God and it is not an indicator of true worship. Hundreds of thousands of people make a lot of noise at sporting events but they are not worshiping God!

Getting a response does not guarantee that a crowd is worshiping.  So what is a better way for us to lead?  Instead of begging or nagging people to worship God, try the following things to say:  “God, today, we declare that you are great! You are wonderful! You are the focus of our worship! We joyfully bring you praise! You are the faithful one! You are the great healer! We delight in you!”

It's all about the direction. As you can see, we effectively lead others by doing it! Worship God! Speak, sing, and physically express worship! Instructing someone will not make it happen as well as modeling it!  In fact, some people may dig their heals in and resist if we tell them to express in a certain way. Still others may go through the motions because they are told to.

Yes, people may sometimes be dry and need encouragement to worship, but focusing on who God is and speaking to him will help them see why we worship and will draw them to worship!  We can trust the Holy Spirit to “power-up” the worship time. After all, Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would glorify him ( John 15:26).  Nagging and begging someone to worship is not only ineffective, it is not drawing from the Holy Spirit!

The power of the Spirit is in the revealing of who God is!  Since emotions are simply a by product of a person's belief system, to say “worship, even if you don't feel like it” is short-sighted. Helping people see who God is, puts us in partnership with the Holy Spirit. He will then build their faith and stir within them a true desire to worship.