I asked this of God tonight: “How can I lead a kid’s worship department when I feel like I don’t know how to worship well?” This is me being honest. I feel very called to lead this project, but I feel unqualified sometimes. I don’t even play an instrument, and I don’t have the intimate relationship with God that I want to have. With exception to my theological knowledge of worship, I have very little experience in actually doing worship. I’ve done this for 6 months, and I still feel out of my depth.
What God gave me in response to my question brought a lot of peace and assurance that I am on the right track. He said: “You do worship me well! You worship me in the way you live out your life! That’s what I want to show through you.” We continued to talk for a short while, and He gave me this list of ways in which I worship Him well. This is, obviously, not a comprehensive list. These are just examples of unexpected methods.
I know that Worship doesn’t always look like standing in a room together, singing songs, lifting hands, moving feet, and following the leader. In fact, I think that sometimes we get so distracted in that setting that we don’t actually do what we set out to do, which was worship God The goal of worship is to communicate and connect with God. Outside of a traditional “Worship Service,” what does worship mean?
Here are a few quick examples of worship could look like. I hope this helps you find ways to connect with God in the small things, not just in Sunday morning worship.
- Writing love letters to God. I have journaled off and on in different seasons, and I know that God really loves it when I say “Dear God” at the top of a page and list out every reason I can think of to love Him. Sometimes I ramble on and on about my life, but I try to focus my perspective onto my spiritual life, and how He’s been working around me. God loves to listen to me talk about Him, even in a simple journal entry.
- Reading (the Bible) interactively. I think we all crack open the Fat Book, flip to random pages, and start to read sometimes. Then, we close the Book because it’s boring, or we fulfilled the daily quota, and we gained nothing. In fact, we wasted our time by doing that, because words without power creates religion. Words themselves are tools that can be used for good or evil, so it’s important to have evidence and power to back-up the Bible. What I do during my reading time is ask questions. What is this really saying? Why did this person do that? Any random passage can come alive when you ask a question and wait for an answer. The key is to read, ask, and wait for an answer. Don’t move to the next verse until you know you heard from God. Gaining understanding of the Bible is a form of worship, because we are honoring His word and learning His ways and patterns. We are connecting His word with His being and with our knowledge of Him!
- Singing spontaneously. You might not be a singing person, but I am. If you hear music or words in your head, sing them out! The Hebrew word “tehilla” can be applicable here. Listen in on what the Spirit is saying, and sing it out. You can sing in tongues. You can sing while driving to work, or doing dishes. I pick up on normal songs like “I like to move it, move it,” and I just get in a groove of singing. I let my spirit-man do what it wants, and typically we end up somewhere pretty cool. This form of connecting in the spirit is totally worship!
- Serving my community. I have volunteered a ton of hours every month for the last 2.5 years at my church. I’ve done fun jobs and hard jobs. I’ve gone months without attending the real service. [As a side-note, I do attend Austin School of Supernatural Ministry through my church and coordinated by my pastor. I get spiritually fed very well there, so I don’t miss the meaty sermons, communal worship, or a community.] I’ve served this church to the point that many people would question if I was getting spiritually fed at all. Some months I lean back, most months I lean in, but I’ve never felt bad burnout. I have (almost) always let God guide my commitment level there, and I don’t feel like I’ve missed out on any of Him. In serving where God has placed me, I am connecting to Christ through the offering and sacrifice of my time.
- Honoring those around me. As born-again Christians, made in the image of God and carrying the Holy Spirit within them, the members of my community operate in a culture of honor. By giving grace and forgiveness, giving positive and constructive feedback, providing an opening for respectful confrontation to occur, and by trusting those around me, I am honoring the Holy Spirit and Christ that they carry in them. By having integrity and intention in the relationships I maintain in my community, I am honoring God and connecting to the piece of God that they carry in them.
- Communicating God’s heart. Through giving prophesies (to kids and friends), praying for healing and wholeness in situations, and by teaching and serving, I am translating what God is saying to me and giving it to others. If I gain deeper understanding in an area and share it (like in this exact blog post!), I might help another person see God (and connect with Him) in a different way. In addition, studies show that if you can teach or paraphrase something, it demonstrates a mastery of the content. By sharing testimonies, prophesies, prayers, or anything God gives me to others, I am engaging in worship.
- Taking risks. God is not going to make wine out of air. He needs something to work with: Our willingness and our faith. He wants us to be so devoted to Him that we will risk dignity, finances, relationships, or all the above to show our love and obedience to Him. We are the vessel for Him to fill with His glory, but have you ever heard a cup cry out “No! I don’t want to hold that kind of wine, because it might make me look stupid!” Of course not! By surrendering our will to Him, we create a space for Him to fill (which usually forms a deeper connection with Him.) And it’s worship! Look up the Hebrew word “yadah,” which means praise through surrender. It’s all there.
- Asking questions and being curious. Challenge things. Never take something at face-value. Seek it out for yourself. Look it up in the Greek or Hebrew. Ask friends about it. Ask God. Go back to the Greek or Hebrew again. By searching for depth and assurance, you are pursuing a deeper connection and understanding of God’s ways. Always be open-minded, and trust in the Lord’s ability to back up His word with power. Human pastors might say something backwards in a sermon, or they might insert a personal opinion or theory into their message. By mixing it up and searching out Truth and Authenticity in God, you’ll base your beliefs off of God, not people’s interpretation of God.
- Sitting and waiting on the Lord. Sometimes we are so busy that we completely miss so many great opportunities to see God work in our lives! In any moment of anger, frustration, confusion (i.e., the opposites of the Fruit of the Spirit), we should take a minute to ask God what He thinks. In education there is a theory called the 3-Second Rule. If the teacher asks their class a question, the teacher should count out 3 long, awkward seconds to give the class a chance to process what was said and to respond with a question. When we ask God a question, we have to take several long seconds, moments, beats, or minutes (or days, weeks, months) to give us an answer. He operates on a different frequency of time, and the answer will always come at the right time. But don’t be afraid of the long, awkward, difficult wait-time between question and answer. Some answers take some processing time, and sometimes God is not thinking about your answers; He’s wondering if you’ll be patient for it.
- Be creative. God is a creative being, and He is constantly creating beautiful masterpieces all around us. Not just in nature, but people and ideas too! Imitation is the highest form of flattery. By reflecting His creativity and creating things in response to the world He created for us, we worship Him. Creating a new offering, from ourself (not repeating the worship leader), I am worshipping Him more intimately and authentically. This means I never give up when something looks impossible or insurmountable. When they couldn’t build train-tracks over the mountains, they creatively came up with the plan to drill straight through the mountain and go under it instead. When they said “This is the smallest possible computer,” Apple creatively created something smaller. Creativity is not just rainbow paintings and doodles. Creativity is looking at an impossible situation and finding a solution, even when it appears nonexistent at first.
I am overseer of a Kid Worship program at my church. I don’t play an instrument (except singing). I’ve never been a worship leader. I don’t even enjoy “worship services” very much; the songs are a little boring and I get distracted and self-conscious. (Of course I engage in worship services, I just don’t enjoy very much.) It seems that among my church community, I would be 10th or 11th in line to be Kid Worship overseer, but I was actually only the second person to take over the department, and the first and only person invited to replace the former overseer. Since I took over this job, the question “How is it that I am qualified for this?” has rung in my mind. But worship is not what we typically expect it to be. I’m not what I expect myself to be. And that’s kind of the point: What do I do? I teach kids to worship, no matter what form it takes.