Around the country in Asian churches, on any given Friday night there are dozens of “praise nights”, revivals, and retreats, but although “a life of worship” may often be the rallying call, worship itself is often an afterthought, a gimmick, an attention-getter for the young generation. Musical worship is the “opening act”, or in some cases, a talent showcase, or at worst, a church bragging rights contest. But if I might be so bold…worship is something sacred, where the deepest part of me cries out to the Deep. So while I don’t consider myself a worship leader who has the right to offer these suggestions, I do consider myself a worshipper.
- Stop singing Chris Tomlin / David Crowder / Matt Redman / Hillsong songs (or whatever songs you always sing) for a few weeks. What would you sing that is not part of the contemporary Christian worship industry? “Sing a new song…”
- Write your own worship songs with talented people in your midst. Write from your heart and your story. What has God done in your life, neighborhood, community? Sing that for Sunday worship. Can you imagine an Asian American church that actually offered worship that was particularly written from our hearts? Wouldn’t we sing about growing up latchkey kids who now have keys to the Kingdom? Or how our pursuit of success and security is a chasing after the wind, not the breath of life.
- Unplug — quit trying for that electric sound. These aren’t performances, these are collective prayers. Imagine a sanctuary that is filled with pure, unamplified, unadulterated praise.
- Don’t practice the music, practice the heart. Too many praise teams work on timing, transitions, chorus buildups, and harmonies, but the real work of worship happens before an instrument is ever picked up. Asians love to get organized and ordered, but let’s be honest, you can’t schedule a true revival and you can’t pinpoint a move of the Spirit either, so if you think practice is going to take you there, you’re almost all wrong.
- Continue reading “Worship Manifesto”