I don’t go skating often, but when I do, I rent a pair of skates that countless others have worn before me. The result: the skates never fit well because they are not my own. They’ve been worn out by countless others before me.
Because I’m not practiced at skating I feel awkward, and stumble and fall a lot. As I hug the wall of the rink, I look very much like an insect that has made an unfortunate connection with the windshield of a vehicle traveling at high speeds. I shimmy around the wall until I feel brave enough to let go, and venture slightly closer to the center of the rink. It’s obvious to everyone around me that I do not routinely roller skate.
Let me introduce you to another group you will see at the skating rink. These people know exactly what they came there to do. They don’t hug the wall, or in any way hesitate. They don’t need coaxing or convincing: they go for it! Straight to the center! These are the people that brought their own skates with them.
I want so much to be like them; to be free and have the fun they are having. So I observe them, and it’s not too long before I begin to let go of the wall, and try to follow what I am seeing.
We should be like those practiced skaters when it comes to worship service: boldly venturing straight into the center of God’s presence without hesitation; without being coaxed; without wearing someone else’s worn out skates. Bring your own skates!
Bring your worship with you to praise and worship service. Bring the worship with you that you’ve been engaging in all week in your home; in your car; at your work place! Help someone tear themselves away from the wall so they too can learn what you have learned: how to be in the center of God’s presence.
As worship leaders, we should influence and inspire those around us to do what we are doing, and go where we are going. And this doesn’t just apply to the congregation. I’ve seen fathers and mothers skating alongside their little one: holding their hand and gently leading away from the wall. Without this encouragement and reassurance, their child would probably get discouraged and want to take off their skates and never go back the rink again. Not only are we leading a congregation to the center of God’s Presence, we should be investing in and training up the next generation worship leaders.
But let’s not neglect our own preparation time. Those skillful skaters would lose their proficiency if they ceased to put on their skates. We need to put on the garments of praise in our private time. It is vital to have our own consistent and intimate time with God. How can we teach others to value the Presence of God if we find ourselves hugging the wall: too unpracticed to make it to the center of the rink?
In John 15:5 Jesus tells us, “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” In order to be effective worship leaders, we must remain in the Presence of God or we will fail!! We need to position ourselves in the center of God’s Presence before we position ourselves on center stage.
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