The first night of our Renewing Worship EXPO, Mike Harland, director of LifeWayWorship, shared four essentials for our worship ministries. Part two of the presentation will be available soon.  
Below are some of the points from Mike’s talk:

What does worship really look like when it happens in an authentic way?

There are four values that are present when a worship ministry is healthy.

VALUE ONE: Healthy worship ministries are telling the story.

Tell the story of Jesus Christ and then tell the story of His gospel and its impact on our lives.

Today, we too often focus on how we FEEL about Jesus, and our songs tend to be more about us than about Him. Healthy worship songs have an obsession with expressing the character and nature of Jesus and His story of what He did.

Healthy worship ministries understand the power of the tool of music—that we become systematic theologians to our congregations.

We don’t only tell His story, but we also tell our stories. The power of a personal testimony is one of the lost arts of the modern church. Our confession becomes the encouragement so many others are desperate to find.

VALUE TWO: Healthy worship ministries are making true disciples.

The mission of the church is not making music, it is making disciples.

The buzz words of the church in an earlier era were CHURCH GROWTH. This led to an attractional model of worship—more performance orientation. Now we talk about church health and making disciples.

 We are not just providing music to warm up the crowd so the pastor can speak, we’re not just an artistic experience to be attractive to a community, and not just a community of artisans that enjoy making this art form. We are part of a disciple-making enterprise and are disciplemakers.

Am I an artist or a shepherd? The artist will sing for the sheep. The shepherd will teach the sheep to sing. An artist will do something for the sheep, the shepherd will lead the sheep to something, We need shepherds who master the artistry. We are shepherds who are discipling people.

VALUE THREE: Healthy worship ministries are enaging the body.

The quickest way you can see how healthy your church’s worship culture is is to see how engaged they are in worship.

Praise is the fruit of the lips of God’s people. We don’t have a worship expression on the lips of many of our people. Some of that is our fault. One of those is SONG VELOCITY. We have a tendency to move through adding new songs at too rapid a pace for our congregations to ever get to really know the songs. People are much more likely to sing when they know the songs.

Today we have become infatuated with constantly adding new songs to our church repertoire and burning our people out. By time the people even recognize the song to sing it, we are moving on to something else new.

The value of engaging our congregations has to be lifted up. We must begin measuring the worship response of our church not by how well we execute the music but by how engaged the congregation is when we sing.

VALUE FOUR: Healthy worship miniStries are aspiring with purpose.

Whatever you do, do it with a spiritual sense about it.

We aspire for excellence in what we do, but with a purpose that the presentation of the gospel goes unhindered.

We must eliminate distractions.


Go Deeper

Go deeper by reading Mike’s book, Worship Essentials, available here.

To learn more about how to flesh these essentials out, consider one of our Worship Leader Boot Camps.