My View from the Worship Team


I’m on the worship team at church, so when it’s time to sing, I’m looking out at the congregation. I see it all—the joy, the struggles, and the boredom. I’m reminded how Jesus welcomes all of us, that his body is made up of all sorts of different people.

To the passionate, early 40s woman—It lifts my heart to see you worship God. You close your eyes, lift your hands, and focus on every word. Not all of us are so demonstrative with our bodies in worship, but your love for God can’t come out any other way. I see the joy in your face and I see the children around you—they’re watching. You’re giving them a picture of devotion to our Savior. I’m so glad you’re part of our family.

To the young father near the front—I love to see you teach your son to sing. You crouch down and point to the words on the screen, helping him to follow along now that he is starting to read. The church needs men who sing, and it’s great that you’re training him in these early years. You’re helping build up the body of Christ; I’m glad you’re part of our family.

To the silent man in the back pew—you sit as far away from the preacher as possible. You stand during the songs, but you don’t sing. You don’t look bored as much as you look angry. You sit by yourself, though you act like someone is forcing you to attend. I hope you find our church is a safe place to doubt, to ask questions, or to simply show up as you are. I don’t know you well, but I’m glad you keep coming back.

To the two older ladies in the back—you are a treasure! You have trouble standing during the praise songs, and you might not be able to see the screen. I know we don’t always make our services easy for you, but I love seeing you here. You are models of faithfulness, wisdom, and grace, quick with a hug or an encouraging word for anyone that needs either. You point me to our Savior with your steady trust in him. I want to be like you as I grow older; I’m glad you’re part of our family.

Our church isn’t perfect. We’ve got a lot of learning and loving and growing to do. But as God gathers his imperfect people around his perfect Son, I’m glad to be a part of this family.

This post is an imaginative essay. I don’t sing on the worship team, and none of the people in the essay are specific individuals in my church. These characters are amalgams of people I have seen and known (and imagined) over time.

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Photo Credit: John Price (2015), public domain

3 thoughts on “My View from the Worship Team

  1. Challies linked the article. I think physical expression in public church singing is highly nuanced. Sometimes the lyrics don’t make sense, aren’t correct, or say opposing messages to the sermon. Sometimes the music doesn’t correlate appropriately to the lyrics, mocking the message of the song. Sometimes I personally can’t sing the song because I’d be lying to God, even though I wish I was in a place to sing it. Singing ought to be authentic. Careful how you interpret physical reactions to what might be happening in the heart.

  2. I am struck by the “charitable esteem” this imagined worshiper shows towards his neighbor. He is “loving, desiring, and rejoicing in their good name; sorrowing for, and covering of their infirmities” (Westminster Larger Catechism 144). Christian worship is TO God, but WITH God’s people. This reflection of worship from a thankful heart seems to be very specific application of the command that Paul writes to the Colossians to sing “with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Col 3:16). These thoughts then are the results of word of God making one’s heart its home (Col. 3:16a). You may not know what’s going on in the hearts of those worshiping around you, but you can and you should assume the best. The ninth commandment requires it! What refreshment singing in church brings to my soul! It’s not just the words. It’s not just the music. It’s praising the One True God with His people, together. What a helpful reflection in loving my neighbor in worship!

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