5 Must-Bust Myths About Worship

Myth #3: If it’s going to be good, you’re the one who has to do it. 

While it may take some time to establish a culture of preparation, excellence, and innovation for your large group gathering, this does not mean only you can do it. I had to get to a place where I realized that if our large group gathering was ultimately contingent upon the leadership of one or two people (usually the preacher and the worship leader), then something was tragically wrong with my leadership—namely discipleship.

I used to think “protecting the stage” or “protecting the mic” conveniently meant that only myself and a very few others could ever share or contribute. Now I try to get as many people involved as possible. I still use discernment and structure to set people up for success. I realize this takes more time than if I just did it myself. But it’s worth it. One of our students’ favorite services (yes, I ask) is when we spend the entire night telling stories of our people, triumphant and tragic alike. Hearing this, I am thrilled and not threatened by the fact that God speaks just fine even without me preaching.

Myth #4: Being cheesy is the worst mistake you could ever make.

Avoiding risk and playing it safe all the time is the worst mistake you can make. This goes for worship leaders who aren’t satisfied just singing songs but who want to lead, pastor, and teach students old and new forms and postures of worship. This goes for me as a preacher. I take risks by looking silly, by doing some pretty over-the-top object illustrations, and by making room in the sanctuary for a wide variety of tactile responses to God.

I had to stop being paralyzed by fear of failure and become liberated, with the consent of my team, to risk making it memorable. We will try (almost) anything if it brings the text alive in a fresh way.

Over the last couple of months, this has included: flying a kite in the room to talk about the Holy Spirit as wind, making it rain money from ceiling (only $100 in ones) for the parable of the treasure hidden in field, actually throwing pearls to a pig to talk about throwing pearls to pigs, doing the imposition of ashes on our Ash Wednesday prayer service (by the way, I serve in a Baptist church), taking communion by having everyone come forward and walk through a 40-foot wide curtain to experience the significance of Jesus ripping the veil in to the Holy of Holies, telling personal stories that include the ones where I don’t look very spiritual, and using cracked eggs to talk about brokenness.  

And that’s not even the complete list. This leads me to the next myth.

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