The purpose of this blog is to encourage wholehearted worship worldwide.

Worship leaders and pastors know that the first and greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul , all your mind  and all your strength” (Mark 12:30) .

So, why don’t members of our congregations seem to worship more wholeheartedly?

This question has as many reasons as it has people in a community of faith.

Some barriers are practical, others are more complicated issues of the heart. This series will identify some issues and solutions. Let’s break it down in three spheres:

  1. The worship leader’s responsibility.
  2. Issues of the individual heart.
  3. Issues of group dynamics.

Barriers worship leaders create and can do something about.

Worship leaders have the responsibility to make it easy for people to worship. Here are some common problems that can be addressed with awareness and thoughtful planning.

  1. The song is not in a good key for congregational singing. The original recording of many popular worship songs are in keys that sound great for the artist, but are un-singable for many congregations. Maybe you can sing it, but nobody else can. Don’t be a diva or a rock star. Transpose the song so that your melodies aren’t too high for the ladies or too low for the men.
  2. The song has a really wide vocal range. Finding a congregational key for songs with a vocal range over an octave can be tough. Example:  “From The Inside Out”.  Great song, but tough for Grandmom to sing that chorus. Expect decreased participation.
  3. Nobody knows the song, or it’s a difficult song to sing. If there’s a big learning curve, or lots of syncopated lyric,  expect the average Joe to be lost. Large groups are not quick learners of complicated music.
  4. The sound is too loud. Fact: if the sound from the band regularly drowns out the voice of the people they will stop fighting the band and become spectators. Your goal should be facilitate participation, not observation.
  5. The worship leader is not setting a good example. This can manifest in two ways:
  • Behaviors or mannerisms that are distracting, annoying, or  drawing attention to the leader. This is off-putting.
  • The opposite is when leader gets lost in the wonder,keeps their eyes closed, ignores folks and is not clearly leading.  This is confusing.

I’ve learned all these things the hard way.

The challenge for leaders: Remove musical and technical barriers so people are encouraged to worship with all their heart, mind, soul and strength.

In my next post we’ll discuss some of the more complicated heart issues involved for individuals and groups.

I’ve listed some things that are barriers to participation in worship. What would you add to this list?

I’d love to get your honest input in the comments. Just say it.