Recently, I attended a wonderful birthday concert presented by Michael Dixon, a fresh young worship leader in our city. The concert featured the budding “worship unplugged” motif, a format in which production elements are reduced to minimal instrumentation, no special video elements and an emphasis on intentional congregational singing. During the concert, Dixon explained that he wanted to use this format as a tool to help the worshipper engage God more intimately, this in contrast to the more popular band driven worship style that dominates church services today. While not diminishing the value of band driven services, he raised the question, “What does your private worship sound like?” This resonated with me heavily. Even though we love “big” worship, are we able to engage God effectively when all the accouterments are not present (Matthew 6:5-13, KJV)? One of the greatest ways in which we can walk in obedience to God and enjoy infinite joy, peace and success is the practice of personal daily worship, unplugged.
Often, as I scroll down my social media timelines, I encounter videos of praise breaks, people shouting, clips of worship songs and sermons. This leads me to believe that we have become engrossed with the look, feel and sound of corporate worship, particularly with regard to ethnic and denominational expressions. While there is not anything necessarily wrong with that, could we be allowing our fixation with the style and sensationalism of church to intimidate us when it comes to the potential of our private worship? Because of the stark contrast between our comfortable corporate gatherings and intimate alone time with God, I suspect that many of us give ourselves permission to skip the latter. After all, in the corporate setting, it is easy to function as a consumer, neighbor or worse, spectator. With regard to uninterrupted personal time, there is no place to hide or blend in. There is no choir to enjoy or pastor to listen to. It’s just you, God and that deafening silence. This can be an overwhelmingly intimidating feeling that could lead us to neglect daily intimacy with our Creator and instead, give an unhealthy amount of attention exclusively to social media and other facsimiles of relevance, value and meaningful relationship.
If you would like to take your personal relationship with the Lord to the next level, please know that it is ok to start where you are. Don’t feel pressured to go from zero to one hundred in a day. If weekend services are the only dedicated moments you are giving God, continue to do so and consider adding a daily morning devotional time (Proverbs 8:17, KJV). Resolve to set aside ten to fifteen uninterrupted minutes (or more) at the beginning of your day for communion with God. During this time, intentionally engage in prayer, scripture reading and meditation. At The Luke Church, where I serve as Pastor of Worship, we are in the middle of a worship series called: Summer In The Psalms. Our congregation has been invited to read a Psalm daily during the week to coincide with arts and preaching based on the book of Psalms during weekend services. Sammie Dow, Director of Ministry Mobilization and Development at The Luke recently shared a beneficial tool for study and/or devotional time: S.O.A.P. Select the Scripture that you will read. Make Observations about the text and deduce what is being communicated? From your observations, draw practical Application for your life. Spend a few minutes in Prayer concerning what God is saying to you, followed by a moment of meditation and stillness. Another practice that I enjoy is the reading of a daily Proverb. There is an old adage that says, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” similarly, “A Proverb a day keeps foolishness away.” Proverbs is a book in the Bible that contains a wealth of wisdom and practical instruction. One of the thirty-one chapters can be read on each day of a full month. Take a moment and consider which methods work best for you, then take necessary steps to implement your plan. As you become more comfortable, at the Holy Spirit’s nudge, add more time and content.
We all enjoy our weekend worship services, denominational practices and occasional church’tainment activities. I encourage you to continue to enjoy all of these as you endeavor to develop a deeper relationship with the Lord. Make the decision today to move from the minimal two-hour engagement with God at church to a rich daily encounter with the One who loves you more than anyone (Psalm 63:1-8, KJV). The late Daryl Coley recorded a song called When The Music Stops, That’s When I Live My Song. What excellent lyrics. When the band goes home and we are left without accompaniment, you and I are redirected to Mike Dixon’s original question, “What does your personal worship sound like?” Hopefully, the answer is worship, unplugged.
Author, Chad Brawley
Worship Ministry Consultant