By: David Champagne
 Oh sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth!  Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.  Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!  For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods. Psalm 96:1-4 (ESV)
When the church family gathers
Sunday morning is both a landing pad and a launch pad. It’s a time of culmination and a time of preparation. As we come together , we bring with us the very fragrance of the previous week, as well as expectations of joy, fellowship, and hope to prepare us for the week to come. People come into the worship gathering having been pulled in so many directions since the last time you saw them! Pressures of daily life, responsibilities, goals, and deadlines have run them ragged. So many are hurting, and have come desperate for the encouragement and satisfaction that only Christ can offer.
“Sunday morning is both a
landing pad and a launch pad.
It’s a time of culmination and
a time of preparation.”
We all affirm that Sunday morning is a Saturday evening decision, but how many of our folks come in to the room with a heart that is prepared to Sing to the Lord, to bless His name, and to tell of His salvation from day to day?
We are indeed a forgetful people. As we begin our time of worship together, it is imperative that we are consistently intentional to keep certain truths, or “fence posts” in front of our church family. Here are three to get you started:
1- Worship is the response of a redeemed heart to Who God is and to all He has done
No amount of foyer coffee, no perfect lighting level, and no polished top 40 opener is capable of doing what only the Holy Spirit through the Word of God can do in preparing a heart to worship. Throughout scripture, we see the proper way of things demonstrated:
2 Samuel 7, Exodus 15, Luke 1, Luke 2, Romans 11, and so many other passages show us that true worship happens when God speaks and when God acts. We are not trying to create counterfeit goosebumps! We have the prophetic word more fully confirmed (2 Peter 1:19), so we do well to pay attention! Always, always, always begin your service with a clear reading of the Word of God. Remind everyone why you have gathered! Allow the singing of the congregation to truly be a response to Who God is and to what He has done by simply opening your Bible and reading it to the Church.
2- The worship team exists to encourage, to facilitate, and to accompany the singing of the congregation
Literally say this to your church family! Many of us in Worship ministry have a background as professional musicians. Admit it: Sunday mornings can feel a lot like a concert, right? We are on a stage, under the lights. There are sound guys, microphones and amps, and a lot of people listening to you play and sing! We wrestle with this on a weekly basis, and we seek to decrease that He might increase (John 3:30). What we may not realize , however, is that many in our congregation are drawing the same parallel. In an ultra consumerized society, we have become accustom to being entertained quite well. We must constantly remind our folks that they have not come to listen to a concert. The worship team is not here to entertain. When we find ourselves leading a congregation that is used to enjoying the show on Sundays, we can become very happy to oblige. We prepare bigger, better, and more impressive at the expense of the singing of the Church. “Y’all sit comfortably and let the professionals do it!” While we may not say this, (I truly hope you don’t say this) we may imply it with our song choices, demeanor, and presentation. Sing to the Lord a new song! This is a call to worship. We must be faithful to lead them; to Pastor them in singing Scripture rich, Christ exalting, singable songs that cue them up to fill the room with their voices.
3- The most important sound in the room is the sound of the voices of the gathered believers
 Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! Psalm 67:3 (ESV)
” What is the style of your music at your church?” Congregational. Keep philosophy, not style in front of your people. Choose singable songs in good keys, and keep the music so excellent that it’s not distracting but not so excellent that it’s distracting. Read Scripture, point to Christ, and trust the Lord to do what only He can do. The challenge here is that we must be careful not to say one thing and do another. There are many excellent posts on what to do with your lighting, volume, and other variables to encourage singing. I won’t go into those items here, but I do encourage you to do your research and to pay attention to the details! The goal is not to come off looking and sounding good. The goal is to disappear and point to Jesus.
We are indeed a forgetful people. As we gather from week to week, plan to drive these fence posts into the foundation of your worship services. Trust the Word of God, and be clear about the roles of the worship team and congregation. Be consistent and loving for the Glory of Jesus Christ.
David Champagne (@davidchampagne) is the South Campus Worship Pastor at First Baptist Church, Jacksonville, FL. He is also a member of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC)