If you asked anyone at Grace Christian Church who our worship leader is, they will most likely point to me and say, “There’s Aaron, he’s our worship leader.” It’s true, that’s my title and what I do every week. But if you asked me (and I thought it wouldn’t confuse you too much), I would point to everyone else in the congregation and the praise team. These are my worship leaders, and they lead me in worship every week.
Here is my perspective on worship leading: I look at my job not as leading worship, but instead creating an environment where worship can take place. As worship leader, I make sure there’s order and flow to our music, but that’s not the most important thing. The most important thing is what happens every Sunday when we come together – a unique expression of the church that can only happen when people feel safe enough to be themselves in Christ. Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:4-7: “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.” It’s clear that through Christ, we have unity under the same Spirit; Yet at the same time, each of us has been given a different measure of grace. In order to experience that, we come together to share our gifts and build each other up.
At Grace Christian Church, I want everyone to know that they are just as much a part of the worship service as I am. That’s why we do things like have shakers available for anyone to play along with the music as they please. In every service, we desire to let Christ’s life in us be the one thing that brings us together. That’s how we can worship in the most authentic way.
For me, authentic worship is all about letting the Spirit lead throughout the week in the songs and scripture and preparation, and then simply letting God speak when we come together. As the worship leader, I used to feel like I had to create and inspire worship in others. However, I’ve since realized that that’s not my work, but God’s. Instead, I am discovering that I myself am being led in worship when I see someone responding to their favorite song, letting the music recharge them after a long week, or simply singing along quietly. I didn’t make any of those things happen; God was the one working through the songs, my team’s preparation, and each individual’s life experiences. This is how church gatherings are supposed to be – all of us bringing our experiences and what God has been teaching us, and letting the Spirit reveal Himself to us as we interact with each other.
Elder, Worship Leader / Grace Christian Church