As an aspiring Christian songwriter with a long way to go, there are few people in the the world I would jump at the chance to hear more than Tim Hughes. So as you can imagine, I was quite excited to hear him speak at our church yesterday.
I had the immense privilege of meeting him for a coffee a few years ago with Colin and Helen but our time was mostly spent talking about what I would call the ‘day-to-day’ aspects of running a worship team. Whilst he was incredibly open and insightful, it was fantastic to hear him speak to the whole church on the subject of ‘worshipping’ itself. Humble and easy to listen to whilst incredibly knowledgeable, I was very impressed. One thing he talked about in particular fascinated me.
Tim talked about there being two types of worship. We often discuss the idea of worship as a lifestyle and the musical portion of our worship; this was different. He talked about how we can view worship as a task and as a gift.
Worship as a task: When we view worship as a task to be performed, it becomes exhausting and unsustainable. We are worshipping in order to earn God’s love or to fulfill a duty. If we view worship this way it we essentially place ourselves at the centre of worship.
Worship as a gift: We can instead view worship as a gift – something that we’re invited into. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are drawn into his love. Worship is life giving, replenishing, restoring, healing. We realise that all things are possible. When we view worship in this way, it becomes almost impossible to worship God genuinely without being changed from the inside out.
I really needed to hear this. It’s so rare to hear messages focussed totally on worship. In all honesty, I find it a real battle to avoid slipping into the routines of a busy lifestyle or focussing on ‘worship as a job’. Take Sundays for example. It’s my job to ensure the band sounds the best they can. It’s my job from Monday to Friday. I’d be lying if I said that there weren’t occasional Sundays where I find it difficult to switch out of ‘work mode’ and into a place of focussed, heart-felt worship. I guess that’s one of the few downsides of getting to work full time for the worship team. I think I am on the verge of slipping into the realms of worship becoming a task with confuses me as it’s something I’m so passion about. My focus for the next few months is to be fully consumed in worship again – to have a full understanding of the gift that worship is in our lives.
(P.S I thought I’d add this fantastic yet unrelated quote from Tim’s message today as I liked it very much:
“This world can be saved from political chaos and collapsed by one thing, and that is worship” William Temple)