I love worshiping on Sundays with my church family. I know many of tou feel the same way. However, there is a small annoying thing that worship leades, even our worship leaders, will do from time to time. It is confusing, and I think it is time we shed some light on it.
It's not uncommon for there to be moments during worship and praise where a worship leader will say, "sing your own song to the Lord!", or something similar to that phrase. I have lead worship since I was 13 years old, and I have said something similar a thousand times. But, you can often feel a slight bit of tension, as a worship leader, whenever you ask a church to move off-script, for lack of a better term.
I heard a worship leader share a question he asked his church on a Sunday morning.
He walked out and asked, "are you ready to worship the Lord this morning?"
Someone responded "no that's your job"
What a way to start a Sunday morning service.
Let's be honest. We feel the same way at times, don't we? It can feel uneasy to sing something that is not on the screen. Actually, it sometimes makes us uneasy to sing at all. So, let's get to the bottom of this.
What's happening in these moments has been happening in Christian worship settings from the very beginning.
In Hebrew, the word for praise is tehillah, and it encompasses a beautiful and unique concept of worship.
Tehillah means more than just singing a worship song or expressing thanks for something specific. It's about praising God with a new song, one that hasn't been rehearsed or planned. It's about expressing spontaneous worship from the heart, with all its raw emotions and imperfections. This kind of praise adds to the redemptive story of our lives and reflects the unique work God has done in each of us.
If we were honest with ourselves, we could admit that most worship songs are, in some sense, generic. While we may resonate with the lyrics and the melody, there is no song that tells our story perfectly. God loves to hear us praise Him for what He has done in our lives specifically. When we sing a song of praise, we should aim to make it personal and unique, reflecting the specific details of what God has done for us.
At Wellspring Church, we make room for these spontaneous moments of praise. Again, this is not new. There is a reason why we see the word, "Tehillah" all throughout scripture. The people of God have been singing out their personal story of what God has done for generations.
How does this play out for Wellspring? During worship, you may notice gaps in the music, where the worship leader isn't singing anything planned. This is the perfect moment for you to lift up your own song of praise to God, expressing your personal thanks and gratitude. These moments of tehillah are the kind of praise we should strive for, the kind that God is truly enthroned upon.
Psalm 22:3 says that God is enthroned upon the praises of His people. This means that our personal praise truly manifests God's presence. God loves to hear us worship Him in our own unique way, and He takes delight in the new songs of praise that we offer up to Him.
Why is this kind of praise so powerful? Psalm 100 says that God's faithfulness will continue through all generations. We need people who will testify that the wonders we see in scripture are happening now and will continue to happen long after we are gone because God is good. We need the new songs of praise that give God a place to sit in this generation.
Tehillah is a beautiful and powerful concept of worship. It's about praising God with a new song, one that comes from the heart and reflects the unique work God has done in each of us. It's about expressing our personal thanks and gratitude, in a way that truly manifests God's presence. Let us strive to offer up our own tehillah, to bless God's heart and give Him a place to sit in our lives and in this generation.