I’ve been involved with worship in the Church for well over half my life now. While I don’t pretend to be an expert, if there’s one thing I’m convinced of now more than ever it is this:
Knowing why we do what we do is as important as the knowledge and skill of how to do it.
You may be familiar with the story of Job. Basically, it goes something like…
Job has a big problem. Three friends take turns trying to explain Job’s problem and they tell him what he should do about it. Job gets increasingly frustrated with each one. 38 chapters into the story, the Lord speaks to Job directly. Job repents, responds, and it ends well.
In the moment prior to God speaking directly to Job we read about a guy named Elihu. Elihu was young and unsuspecting but he brought something to Job that the three friends didn’t. Elihu brought worship.
In chapters 36 and 37 we see incredible worship as Elihu paints a picture of who God is largely using imagery of a storm.
“Who can understand how he spreads out the cloud, how he thunders from his pavilion? … At this my heart pounds and leaps from its place. Listen! Listen to the roar of his voice, to the rumbling that comes from his mouth. He unleashes his lightning beneath the whole heaven and sends it to the ends of the earth…” (Job 36:29-37:3 NIV)
It goes on and on. I can imagine him shouting to Job, “Look at this! Look what God is like! He’s unstoppable!”
It’s in this moment that God speaks.
“Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm.” (Job 38:1)
How incredible is it that the platform from which God broke his silence and spoke directly to Job was the very imagery Elihu had just used to describe Him, to worship Him.
I believe that this picture perfectly describes what our creative teams, our worship teams, are all about. Each weekend we have the privilege of using our creativity to paint a picture of who God is, knowing that our efforts in and of themselves accomplish little, but through them God speaks.
We’re the ones who get to write and sing lyrics of songs and say, “Listen, God is like this!”
We get to design sets and use lighting and media to shout, “Look, God looks like this!”
We get to craft music, write poetry, dance, and create art which declares to our world, “Stop and imagine. This is what God is like.”
We’re the people who offer up our craft and trust that in it and through it God would speak and that those who hear His voice would respond.
My prayer for our Worship and Creative Conference in November is that God would remind us of the why behind the what. I pray that as our creativity is stirred, our gifts are honed, and our dreams ignited we would collectively shout to our world, “Stop, look, and listen! See who God is. Imagine what he is like.” And then God would speak, and we would respond.