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About Rick Muchow

From The Worship Answer Book, written by Rick Muchow, Worship Pastor from Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. Used by permission. For more information, please visit Rick’s website, www.encouragingmusic.com

What Is The Holy Spirit’s Role In Worship?


What Is The Holy Spirit’s Role In Worship?

Many “worship services” are held, but worship doesn’t always happen. One reason is that we sometimes fail to allow the Holy Spirit to fulfill his proper role in worship. In honoring God the Father and lifting up Christ, we also must be careful to give proper place to the Holy Spirit.

God’s Word says that the Holy Spirit is “the Spirit of Jesus” (Acts 16:7) and “the spirit of our God” (I Corinthians 6:11). He was involved in the creation of the world (Genesis 1:2). He brought us the Bible (2 Peter 1:21). The Holy Spirit caused the Virgin Mary to conceive (Luke 1:35). He guides us into truth (John 16:13), convicts us of sin (John 16:8), performs miracles (Acts 8:39), and intercedes with God for us (Romans 8:26). He assures us that we belong to God as he “speaks to us deep in our hearts” (Romans 8:16 NLT).

The Holy Spirit is a living gift to all believers and is the divine source of spiritual power and ministry (John 7:37-39; Acts 11:16-17; Romans 5:5). Excellent music cannot substitute for the Spirit’s power in worship. Eloquent speaking cannot replace the power of the Spirit in a person’s heart.

Authentic Christian worship happens at a spiritual level. Worship happens when the Holy Spirit in us rises to magnify the Almighty, giving the Father the honor he deserves and lifting up his Son, Jesus. Worship leaders may spend hours planning a service—seeking the Spirit’s guidance all along the way—but when the time comes to enter into worship, leaders and congregation alike must allow the Spirit to control the service. The Word says, “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD” (Zechariah 4:6).

As you strive to give the proper role in worship to the Holy Spirit, be sure to remember these three things:

First, the Holy Spirit is our teacher. The Bible says, “the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26). As our teacher, the Spirit’s primary tool is the Scripture, giving understanding of its truth to those with faith. The Life Application Bible Commentary says, “Through learning about Christ’s life, we can understand (more) about how wonderful God is and what he is really like.” The Holy Spirit leads us to God’s truth “which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit, that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel” (Ephesians 3:5-6 KJV).

Further, God accomplishes his work in us through the Holy Spirit. Jesus said the Holy Spirit is the one who reveals the truth about sin—to unbelievers so they can turn to Christ and to believers so we can be used by God for his purposes: “When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8). The Holy Spirit allows us to live in God’s power: “The Holy Spirit will give you life that comes from Christ Jesus and will set you free from sin and death” (Romans 8:2 CEV). As Christ died for us when we could not save ourselves, the Holy Spirit communicates with God in a way that also is beyond our ability: “The Spirit also helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8:26 NASB). The Holy Spirit also transforms us from within: “As the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him and reflect his glory even more (2 Corinthians 3:18 NLT).

Finally, the Holy Spirit is the real worship leader. Worship is allowing God to take center stage in our lives—wherever we are. When we worship together, we surrender the experience to the will of the One who alone is worthy of worship. Authentic worship is that which occurs “by the Spirit of God” (Philippians 3:3). God is glorified in worship when the Holy Spirit reveals God’s truth to us: “He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you” (John 16:14).


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Anonymous Posted 4/1/2008 1:41:04 PM
We often feel like we're not effective if WE don't see the results, but we need to trust that God moves when we can't see Him, and knows the content of all hearts. A vibrant crowd is like icing on the cake, it can make people think it's a pretty cake, and it certainly makes it taste extra nice, but cake without icing is still cake, and icing alone is just a lump of sugar.
Anonymous Posted 3/26/2008 9:42:56 AM
Thank you for a great article. I meet every 4th Sunday morning for a "Worship Discipleship Class" and I am going to share this with them. It truly saddens me that we are so caught up in "the right song" that we miss "the real worship". I am praying that I will always allow the spirit to lead me and that I will stay focused on why I am in the position I am in "to lead myself and others to the Throne of God! Where there is refreshing, healing and restoration. Thanks!
Anonymous Posted 3/24/2008 6:42:48 PM
It's "reassuring" (yet discomfitting) to know others are experiencing the dead church here in Laodicea - the conditions go along with material prosperity and our focus on it, but good news - the economy of the lord of this world is failing and the purging is soon to take place! Then people will yearn for worship in spirit and in truth and won't be bored any longer by our musical excellence.
Anonymous Posted 3/22/2008 10:40:29 AM
May we never forget to offer every aspect of our lives as a sacrifice to the Lord. It is our spiritual act of worship to our Lord and Savior. Sometimes our lives Monday through Saturday don't reflect what may be happening in worship on Sundays. People express their praise and admiration to God differently. The artist who penned the song "Heart of Worship" hit the nail on the head in my opinion. Our lives with Christ go much deeper than feeling and emotional expressions.
Anonymous Posted 3/16/2008 11:25:54 AM
I thank you for the words of encouragement and teaching at the same time. I know that alot of us forget that playing worship is a ministry and we only play for an audience of One. We forget to humble ourselves and put ourselves aside and put God first and that it is not about how well we play, its not about us. We forget that the talents we have are from God, but alot of us want to take credit for it. We play music to "REJOICE", to "WORSHIP" our audience of One, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Anonymous Posted 3/14/2008 7:25:45 PM
I am guitarrist in the Worship Team in my Church, and sometimes I am more performing than worship Our God, and I have been asking to God help me out on this situation. I love to play, I love music, but I also need to use thiese gift given for God to me to glorify Him. Thank you for reminder me that. Thank you for reminder me that The Holy Spirit of God is so Special when Worshiping.
Anonymous Posted 3/14/2008 2:24:33 PM
Excellent article and the exhortation is right on time for the body of Christ. There are two things that we must remember about true worship. One it requires a true hunger for the manifest presence of God, and two it requires us to take captive every thought and imagination that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. If I as the leader operate in those two things and I teach my team to operate in these two things then there is no hinderance to the Holy Spirit's leading in our services
Anonymous Posted 3/11/2008 2:28:36 PM
A note of encouragement to the writer who describes the congregation uninvolved in worship (at least the singing aspect of it): remember that when any group of people gather, you're dealing with a diverse landscape of backgrounds, cultural expectations, musical/artistic opinions, as well as different emotional seasons of life. Seeing apparently uninvolved people in your congregation might not necessarily be proof positive that they are missing out on what God has for them that day or in that season of life. Some people just don't sing loudly because they didn't grow up singing loudly. Others don't close their eyes because it's culturally uncomfortable for them. Others may be struggling with deep pain in their lives, but the fact that they are still in the congregation means that they haven't given up on God. The scriptures do command us to sing, but the artistic particulars are left (in God's wisdom, I think) open to interpretation. I really understand your deep longing to see your congregation worship God, but I would caution against setting up the false syllogism of "(1) I am worshiping God expressively, (2) I don't see others worshiping in the same way, therefore (3) Others aren't worshiping God." I think the person who commented after your entry hit on something important when he/she said "By listening to the Body about what stirs their hearts, we may find changes are necessary in our worship service." As leaders we walk a road between presenting God what the people like (stylistically) and what God commands. I think there's great wisdom in meeting with members of the congregation one-on-one and asking them what would assist them in their worship. It might be a simple question like "can you please recommend a song or two that helps you see God?" or "is there any way we could involve you in the service that would help you experience God?" Often, these kinds of questions can be very eye opening. For one, they begin a deeper relationship with a person you might not have known. In addition, they can help you see that what you perceived to be deficiencies in them or yourself were something different altogether.
Anonymous Posted 3/11/2008 1:08:12 PM
Great article - I find that after the 'opening' numbers that people who WANT to, can be LEAD into true worship - but only if I go there myself and allow them to follow. It surely is a PROCESS of LEADING the people and taking them "into the throne room"! Be very Blessed, from Central Florida
Anonymous Posted 3/8/2008 6:45:20 PM
Such a precious reminder, Thank you! Of any "Guest Speaker" to be desired, the Holy Spirit should be welcomed to have a voice among us every day and especially in our congregational worship. Some times we need to stop and humble ourselves again to make His presence of greater importance that our 'show' or schedule. Thank you for this call to refocus.
Anonymous Posted 3/8/2008 12:10:53 PM
This response is to the person who wrote a comment on 3/08: Each Sunday I come to church hoping to be drawn into God's presence and filled by His Spirit. However, most of what we call praise choruses seem so trite and monotonous to me, I find myself just sitting and not even singing! My life is now full of worship to the Lord, but mostly when i pull out the hymnal. It's not that my preference is for the old hymns, but that many (not all) seem to have more complex themes, and seem to worship more attributes of God and His character than many of the "praise" songs we are tending to sing now. Why don't you ask the people who don't seem to enter into worship if there are songs that call them into God's presence. Then Listen to them, see how God's Spirit is leading in their life. It may be that we as leaders of worship need to connect more with the rest of the body, finding out what draws them to God, and not necessarily the songs that we enjoy or that give us goosebumps. By listening to the Body about what stirs their hearts, we may find changes are necessary in our worship service.
Anonymous Posted 3/8/2008 9:58:51 AM
I thank you for the messaget. I personally agree. I spend much time preparing for the music ministry in my church. (We're an AG congregation, so you WOULD think we would have the spirit working there to work inside of us..... However, I cannot tell you the countless tears I've shedded to discern such a "barreness" and "deadness" throughout a majority of our members' "worship" opportunity. I thank our Lord that when I rise up to play and to lead the church (along with my husband), the Holy Spirit's anointing falls upon me so mightily that I can "feel," at times, that I'm about to jump out of my skin--with goosebumps all over. However, just ONCE in a while, since my piano faces the congregration, I cannot HELP but to occassionally see people standing slumped to the side; no mouths moving in praise; some looking at their watches, and just a few praising the Lord. How discouraging because I know that God's Word says that HE ordained PRAISE to avenge the enemy; We enter His gates with thanksgiving and praise! So many would have "victory" each morning if ONLY they would FIRST be willing to TRY to open the avenue of their hearts to praise Him, and then, begin to do so. I've said many times, "This is NOT a performance; this is FOR HIM; we're NOT performers." But again, after 7 years, I cannot tell you how many times I've felt like stepping down to head back to my Lutheran roots. (I cannot do this due to the calling on my life, and I will not choose to do so in spite of the obstacles faced.) Sometimes, though, there appears to be more of a move of the Holy Spirit--believe it or not! On another note, I cannot tell you the prayers I've prayed; the music I've used; and again, nothing.....We have such a variety of ages within the small-numbered congregation, and with that, I play from the hymnbook (for those who are edified through this); straight into OLD-TIMEY hymns from LONG LONG ago); then, after a few other things needing addressing each week--like offering; announcements, etc...I go into praise songs from the "older choruses" to even the "newer choruses," and then I do the same for the worship. Unfortunately, at this time, our congregation JUST can't seem to "handle" MORE than 5 choruses. Many are dead when we begin, and many are dead when we're finished--from the time stepping into the door to the time heading OUT the door. It's not like I'm spending more than 20 minues on praise and worship songs. (This doesn't include the hymn and old-timey songs before this.) What can I do after prayer; tears; etc....? I realize I can't do anything within me; I can only pray and do what I'm called to do....But again, it's SO very discouraging. I'm just looking for the day when the people and the hearts within will begin to reach out, so that the Holy Spirit within will fall POWERFULLY upon the congregation! I can only begin to believe in my prayers.........````````
Anonymous Posted 3/7/2008 9:38:56 AM
Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the human side of "performance" we forget. God bless you!
Anonymous Posted 3/6/2008 11:25:33 PM
Thank you!!! These are concepts that I know, but easily forget...

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