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Balanced worship?

Re: “As worship leaders, how do you balance between allowing the spirit to lead, while maintaining a structure during a service?”



I have a book on my shelf called "Liturgy and Freedom", written by a Baptist Minister working in a charismatic Anglican church (about 15 years ago). He describes worship (and I quote from memory) as something like "a spontaneous planned Spirit-led happening" - which I like! Setting "Spirit" against "Freedom" or "Spontaneity" is to posit a false dichotomy (sounds good, anyway!)
Andrew Kleissner


I agree with you Jimmy. But surely there needs to be room for the Spirit to surprise us (even us worship leaders)? What about the thoughtful responses or planning of others who come to worship ready to bring a word, hymn or scripture? Unfortunately re have trained our congregations not to plan or prepare for worship or bring anything for the edification of the church. We have trained them to be passive consumers as we guide them through our carefully prepared services. In a word coined I think by Leonard Sweet, we need to be more "chaordic" We need not to plan out the chaos but plan for the chaos.
Phil Warburton


Thanks for your comment, Phil. It strikes me that you are addressing two distinct issues. Firstly, I agree there is often a certain amount of passive consumption within our congregations. Re-training and encouraging our brothers and sisters to bring a thoughtfully and prayerfully considered offering (which in itself is a Spirit-led activity!) should be part of our role as pastors and worship leaders. Incorporating such material into gathered worship times would be an enriching time for those involved, I'm sure. But that in itself is not necessarily 'chaotic'.

It is the notion that the Spirit needs chaos, spontaneity or the element of surprise in order to minister to us that I wanted to address in this post. It strikes me as odd that 'the Helper', who is shown throughout Scripture to bring order out of chaos, would suddenly choose to be disruptive and unruly instead of partnering with and enabling us to worship together.
Jimmy Orr


Thanks Jimmy. I agree with your overall track but perhaps any good relationship needs an element of surprise. Indeed the relationship of church to God is likely to bring up quite a few. I am not advocating chaos but I believe church must be open to listening to God through the ordinary person in the pew who hasn't got a theology degree or a guitar. ( I have both!) Indeed leaving such spaces as part of our worship diet or yes sometimes diverting from a pre planned course often demands more skill and planning to make it work.

I am actually probably speaking to the converted. From your bio at the end of the article you are already doing this stuff. Peace.
Phil Warburton
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