Monday, December 27, 2010

Worship, Incorporated

***In March of 2007, the Lord inspired me to write about the importance of unity in the Body as it concerns worship. In August 2011, dancers, musicians, and singers will gather as one tribe to bring glory to God in Las Vegas, Nevada. Here is the original inspiration behind this movement and a preview of what's to come.***

In my time of ministering through dance, I have been (more often than not), the spectator in the waiting. Whether ministering during a dance concert, church service, or special occasion, there is a time to stand back and observe. Have I felt frustrated? Yes. Bored? Yes. Impatient? Yes. I have also experienced overwhelming joy, thankfulness, and the desire to break out into spontaneous praise. What is it that makes others seek to worship Him along with the dancer?

I agree that some dance presentations resemble a performance more than a ministry. Some ministries have been classified “angels” on the platform and deemed “divas” offstage. It is often a challenge to get up and “minister” in an atmosphere that has been saturated with entertainment.

It is at these times that I feel the most vulnerable. There is the mounting pressure to “set the atmosphere,” “tear down strongholds,” and “usher in the Presence of the Lord.” Several times after ministering before people, I have been approached by many who said that they “didn’t know how to respond to what they felt on the inside.” I do not believe that this is the design for public worship.

As a movement minister, I realize that I am not merely a spectacle for others to sit back and critique. For corporate worship to occur as a result of the dance ministry presentation, I realize my responsibility is that of a Praise & Worship “Usher.” In understanding my position as a dance minister, I agree with Michael & Vivien Hibbert’s statement in the article Expressing the Moods of the Holy Spirit: “The ultimate in worship is not the expression or worship, but the knowledge of His presence. It is not the music or the songs of the Lord or the dance – these expressions must come out of knowing Him- they must be a result of worship rather than being acts of worship.”

Worship Defined

I have realized that the definition of worship of today unfortunately, at times, is viewed as a one-person or small group responsibility (i.e. the recent rise of "Superstar" Praise & Worship Leaders and the explosion of Praise & Worship teams in most churches). Upon studying the Scriptures regarding worship, I found many instances of Worship, Incorporated. This is how Webster defines incorporate: 1) To unite or work into something already existent so as to form an indistinguishable whole: to blend or combine thoroughly 2) To form into a legal corporation b: To admit to membership in a corporate body 3) To give material form to: EMBODY.

One Hebrew word for worship is tsaba' (Strong's 6635) or tsbadah (from Strong's 6633); meaning, a mass of persons (or figuratively, things), especially reg. organized for war (an army); a campaign, literally or figuratively (specifically, hardship, worship): appointed time, army, battle, company, host, service, soldiers, waiting upon, war (fare). Tsaba'(Strong's 6633) to mass (an army or servants): assemble, fight, perform, muster, wait upon, war.

For instructions concerning New Testament worship, we see a few Greek words that point to the Lord’s desire for a unified body in worship. Episunagoge (Strong's 1997) from 1996; meaning, a complete collection; especially a Christian meeting (for worship): assembling (gathering) together. We also see this in a few other words: Homothumadon (Strong's 3661) unanimously: with one accord (mind), and in Sumphoneo (Strong's 4856) To be
harmonious, to accord or stipulate: agree (together, with). Sumphoneo is akin to the word Symphony. A symphony consists of many different instruments, but they all play the same song, in the same key, in time together, to be complete. This reminds me that, as a movement minister, I have to be careful not to think that the dance is the only component being used to impact the worship experience. It is indeed an awesome sight when all aspects of worship including instruments, singing, and movement function together to produce Worship, Incorporated.

The Incorporation Process

There are several passages of Scripture that highlight the importance of Worship, Incorporated. Let’s take a look at 2 Chronicles 29:27-29 (NKJV): “Then Hezekiah commanded them to offer the burnt offering on the altar. And when the burnt offering began, the song of the LORD also began, with the trumpets and with the instruments of David king of Israel. So all the assembly worshiped, the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded; all this continued until the burnt offering was finished. And when they had finished offering, the king and all who were present with him bowed and worshiped.” Though the Lord has appointed many to dance, we must also remember that dance ministry is not assigned to everyone, but movement (bowing) was done by all of the assembly!

Yet another Scripture points to the power of corporate unity: “And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. Then all the people answered, “Amen, Amen!” while lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.” (Nehemiah 8:6) We see here again, that all the people lifted their hands and bowed (movement) corporately. Just to make sure that we understand how powerful corporate worship is, 2 Chronicles 7:3 informs us that, “When all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the LORD on the temple, they bowed their faces to the ground on the pavement, and worshiped and praised the LORD, saying: “For He is good, For His mercy endures forever.” Unity is essential to the worship incorporation process.

The Present Worship Report

We often use Scripture to talk about worship in spirit and in truth. Though the Bible accounts for us many instances of Worship, Incorporated, it seems as though, for a season, many factions of the worship department broke off into their own “companies.” The choir, praise team, musicians, dancers, and ministers of the Word often decided separately what was the most important concentration for themselves, while ignoring the corporate umbrella of congregational worship. Competition inevitably arises as to which unit is the most responsible for leading the people into a worship experience. Recently, I have begun to witness musicians, singer, and dancers participating together in corporate praise & worship in major congregations. A return to the biblical model has begun: NOW IS THE TIME!

Future Worship Projections

Not only was this a pattern for the past, but we are informed that future worship shall also be Worship, Incorporated. The Bible gives a several glimpses into the future worship portal: “All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations shall worship before You." (Psalm 22:27). It is wonderful to see that neither denomination, race, nor geography will hinder the future of Worship, Incorporated as prophesied in Revelation 15:4: “Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, for Your judgments have been manifested.” Not only will this happen in the Earth realm, but in the heavenly Kingdom also: "All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God." (Revelation 7:11)

The Bottom Line: Business Matters

Worship, Incorporated must lead to a return on the investment that our Heavenly Father has placed in us. Although He created each one of us uniquely and with great care, He orchestrated it in such a way that we as many members fit together. He has designed us to succeed and has plans to prosper us. We must realize that each of us is essential to the success of Worship, Incorporated. Like Jesus in Luke 2:49, I must be also about my Father’s business!

Sources Used: (Hebrew and Greek Word definitions)
Make His Praise Glorious Manual (119)
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture references are from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION of the HOLY BIBLE.

Rain Rein Reign Ministries Presents...
"Worship, Incorporated" National Worship and Dance Conference
August 11th-13th
Las Vegas, NV
Details in January!!!!

1 comment:

Lynnea-Praise is what I do! said...

This is answered prayer that I found your blog and that I found out about this conference. I was just thinking earlier how I have a strong desire to use dance as an evangelistic tool! Thank you so much for sharing. I really am considering going to this conference.