3 Marks Of An Effective Call To Worship
My wife, Becky, and I went on a tour of the Grand Canyon a few years back. We arrived at the tour center and loaded into a large coach bus with fifty other excited and slightly sweaty tourists.
A few minutes later, the tour guide came onto the bus and introduced himself. He shared a bit about who he was and his "tour-giving" credentials. He then prepared us for the tour by reminding us where we were going and by readying us for all the sights we were going to see.
We then proceeded with the tour and had an incredible time seeing some of the most breathtaking examples of God’s creation.
Now imagine if the tour guide walked onto the bus, ignored us and never introduced himself. Imagine He simply sat down in the driver’s seat and proceeded to drive away. Not only would that have been awkward and rude, but it would have also left us all wondering whether the tour had started, or we’d simply been hijacked.
If you’re going to take people on a journey it requires beginning that journey the right way and as a worship leader, you’re the tour guide each Sunday. Each week, regardless of the service order you may use, you take people on a journey. You draw their attention to different things along the way and ultimately point people's eyes to Jesus.
But in order for this journey to get off on the right foot, it must begin with an effective call to worship. And every effective call to worship has 3 marks: It must reveal, remind, and ready.
1. You must REVEAL what God has shown and taught you.
I remember when I first started to lead worship I would scour the Psalms about 10 minutes prior to the service beginning, trying desperately to find something to read as my call to worship. I would look for words like “sing” or “clap” - something, anything to engage the people I was about to lead.
Obviously, reading Scripture wasn’t the problem. The problem was my refusal to open up about what God had been teaching me personally. The most powerful calls to worship I can remember have been when the worship leader steps up and is honest and transparent in what they share.
This honesty creates a warmth and a vulnerability that helps people relate to you as you stand on stage and invite them into worship.
Every good call to worship must reveal what God has been showing you.
2. You must REMIND people who God is and what He has done.
While I’m sure you desire your people to come into the worship service having spent the last hour or so communing with God, the reality is that most people come into the worship service thinking of anything and everything other than what’s about to take place.
From a fight with their spouse that morning to the painful circumstances they’ve experienced that week/month/year people tend to enter your worship service with their mind on so many things other than the One they are about to worship. Understanding this, your call to worship must remind them of who God is and what He has done.
This could mean sharing a particular Scripture that highlights a characteristic of God that you have been meditating on that week. It may also mean sharing something specific the Lord showed you about Himself recently.
We have to take a moment to remind people who God is and what He has done.
3. You must READY people for what’s about to take place.
Have you ever been to a surprise party where the person being surprised was so surprised that they freaked out? I mean screaming and running away kind of freak out? I have. It was kind of awesome.
However, I think it’s fair to say that people don’t generally love surprises. Most like to know what to expect and I think that is especially true in your worship service.
You have to ready people for what is going to happen in your worship service. Practically, this looks like simply telling people what’s going to happen. On a regular basis at Redemption I say some version of “this morning we are going to sing together and hear the word of God and lift our hands and clap and we would love for you to join us”. Doing this gives people an idea of what’s ahead and in turn helps to invite people into what‘s about to happen.
The call to worship is crucial and has the ability to set the tone for the rest of your worship service. Because of this, it is imperative to have a call to worship that reveals, reminds, and readies.