As someone in ministry in a local church, it is hard to get the nourishment we get during worship. Even if I’m in the worship service, my mind is often thinking about all the things that need to happen. I’ve had many conversations with other friends in ministry and they express the same sentiment. How can we get this nourishment that we are so badly longing for?
For me, being a “conference junkie” with my friend Christina is a place where I can wholly worship God. With being a Seminary student, sometimes I get to go to conferences at a deeply discounted price or even free. I take advantage of this for several reasons. Not only are conferences a great way to network and learn how to do ministry better, but for me, my primary reason for going is so that I can 100% wholly worship God.
Last week, I was at the D6 Conference and right now I’m at the Kidmin Academy Live event. Getting to worship with others who are serving in ministry, where we are coming to God depleted and empty, can be some of the most beautiful sounds you hear. I can sit and let the words of the songs really sink in and think about what they mean. As we were singing the good old tune “Shout to the Lord” this afternoon, I started to think about the words. Giving God all of our praise and worship.
That reminded me of being at the Women of Joy conference in Pigeon Forge last year when we sang Amazing Grace. As a musician, I think of Amazing Grace in its musical phrasing. For some reason, though, especially with the 2nd or 3rd verse I was able to put it all together. “Through many dangers, toils, and snares, I have already come. ‘Tis grace that brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home”. Even as I type that out, I am hearing the tune in my head. It was in the midst of working through a really difficult time that God brought this verse to me, where I was able to put it into the 2 sentences instead of the 4 musical phrases. I’ve been through a lot of bad stuff in my life – the dangers, toils, and snare. I’ve come through it all. By the grace of God. As I really started to think about what this verse was saying, I remember having to stop singing and just cry.
As I think about this, I think about the songs we sing in church each week – whether it be an old hymn or a contemporary praise song. How often do we, as christians, sing these songs but we don’t pay attention to what they are really saying? I think that so often we sing these pieces without giving a single thought to what they are saying. How often do we sing about Jesus overcoming death, that Jesus is victorious over Satan and hell? Yet, when it comes to talking about these things (Satan and hell), it’s taboo because even though so many claim to be Christians, they don’t actually believe in hell or Satan. Yet, they’re singing songs about it without thinking about what they are singing.
I’ve always been someone to look at the meaning of song lyrics because I like to use music to express my thoughts and feelings. It’s something that I’ve always done – maybe it’s the musician in me. I don’t know. When it comes to singing in church on Sunday, I really like to think about the words because it is then that I can wholly worship God.
As a person in ministry, one of my favorite places to worship God is in my car. Right now, I have the Shane & Shane 10 CD Worship Collection in my car. These 10 CDs have a blend of hymns and contemporary praise songs. Songs from Amazing Grace to Oceans. Whenever I’m in my car, alone with God, I love to sing loudly for Him. I want to give God all my praise and all my worship. That’s what God wants from us – our praise and worship. God has done so much for us, giving him our worship is so small. After all, He is a good, good Father.