Monday, July 23, 2012

The Green Room

The Green Room.  This is a room usually to the side of the stage in some churches where pastors, staff, and worship-team members gather to eat doughnuts, drink coffee, and have snacks before they walk out ‘on stage’ for their part in the service.  It’s cool to do that.  Makes 'em feel like a rock star. 

Even worse, some musicians and singers will retreat to the Green Room after their time on stage has concluded, completely missing the preached Word of God.  Some pastors will sit in the Green Room during the entire music set – waiting for it to conclude – before they walk out on stage to do their thing.  Or deacons will hang out in the board room during the service.

None of this is healthy. 

Although some churches don’t have an actual Green Room, many people engage themselves in the same practice by hanging out in the hallways, atrium, their offices, the kitchen, the patio, or the parking lot.

PCC does not have a Green Room and we never will.  Yes, I realize that some Sunday morning duties take people out of the adult service - and this is necessary because we couldn't operate otherwise.  But no one should be out of service habitually under any circumstance.  That's why we have rotating schedules for workers. 

Having said that,  here’s why missing church is a bad practice:

1) Pastors:  Since they are men of the “Word” they sometimes feel like they can skip out on the musical & singing side of worship because their sermon is so important.  But all pastors need to learn a vital truth:  You never graduate past your need to worship God corporately with fellow believers.  Sure, pastors have been called to preach, and they have to teach God's Word even if no one in the church could strike a tuning fork in the key of A - but beyond that, pastors were created to worship just like everyone else.  There isn’t an advanced level of Christianity where you no longer have to engage God in corporate worship with the saints.  So don’t let your mind become so preoccupied with what you’re called to do – preach – that you lose sight of what you have been created to do – worship.

2.  Musicians & singers:  Some musicians and singers feel like their role in the service is the most important thing, so after they have performed, will slip out of the service and hang out in the hallways sipping coffee.  Even worse, some leave church altogether… and it is simply wrong.  Church is not a gig, and you are not a rock star.  You need the Word just like everyone else.  And you need accountability too, just like everyone else

3.  Staff Members, Ministry Leaders, & Church Workers:  If you are skipping church, you are skipping church.  It’s as simple as that.  Being somewhere in the building is not the same as being in church.

Ultimately this is an honor issue. Yes, honoring your pastor is part of it. He’s been preparing all week long for the Sunday message and one of the best ways you can support him is by actively responding to the Word.  But really this is about honoring God Himself.  Here’s why:  There isn’t an advanced level of Christianity where you are exempt from hearing the Word no matter what your Sunday morning duties are.  Besides, there is no such thing as true worship that is divorced from God’s Word.  Without the Word there would be no basis for Christianity at all - that's how important the Bible really is - and you need a steady diet of it just like everyone else.

So whether you’re preaching or playing music this weekend, or leading volunteers, or working on the schedule, you should choose to fully engage yourself in worship. Pastors, put your notes down, and worship the God you’ve been studying about all week. Worship musicians, catch your breath for a minute, and then pick up your Bible, a pen, listen and learn from the sermon, and press in to the God who is the source of your creativity and talent.  Staff members and church workers, push away from the ‘business’ of Sunday morning and get engaged with God again.

Myself, I’ve made the commitment to be in church on Sunday mornings.  I’m not going to be hanging out in my office for extended periods of time, strolling the hallways, loitering in the atrium, or skipping the preaching.  Sunday morning is the “LORD’S DAY” and He deserves my attention.

That's why every Sunday you see me on the first or second row (in seating section one) near the acoustic piano.  It’s important for me to be in service – even during the time when I’m not "on stage" – and here’s why:

1.  I need to worship.  Spending time in corporate worship really helps to prepare my heart,  getting me vertically focused just before I open the Word and speak.  Besides, I am believer and God has called me to worship Him.

2.  I am a worship leader.  My actual position at PCC is Senior Pastor.  PCC's worship team does a great job of providing quality music and God-honoring worship each Sunday.  As such, they are leading worship at that point in the service.  However, there are some people in the congregation who are going to take their worship “cues” from the people around them – including me.  So when people see me on the front row raising my hands, head bowed in silent prayer, clapping, shouting, or playing ‘air guitar’ (no, not really), they will take their cues from me.  Why?  Because I am modeling worship.  As a pastor I should be.  And so should our staff and all other key people.

3.  I want to support our team.  Our worship leader, band members, and tech team work HARD during the week to bring the heat every Sunday for the cause of Christ. I always want them to know that what they do is an important part of the vision of PCC. We are a team. I never want them to think that hanging out in the my office (or some Green Room) drinking coffee is more important than what they are doing to reach people far from God with the Good News of Jesus Christ.

4. Accountability!!! I never want our people to ever wonder if I have quality time with God. They can’t follow me into my prayer closet. They can’t hang out with me while I’m having my quiet time. They can, however see me worship…and know that I’m connecting with God every Sunday.

5. God wants me to worship Him. I would never presume to know or the mind of God in all things. But I tend to think He likes to see and hear His people praise His name. That includes a very imperfect person like me.

Finally, every believer should be involved in corporate worship on a regular basis.  Only a person who has grown cold and distant in their heart would argue otherwise.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I could not agree with this post any more, and I share your position on it. It is important for EVERY believer to be in worship services as much as possible. But for Christian leaders especially (team leaders, ministry leaders, small group leaders, etc.), one of our main jobs is to inspire people and the first step in that is to simply be present in worship.
As for me, the Sunday worship service is hands-down the highlight of my whole week .. I face challenges thru the week that often leave me feeling like I've run out of gas ... but then comes Sunday morning ... I love being in the worship service with my church family ... I look forward to it, I NEED IT for myself and I need it in honoring God... and it re-fuels me.
I expect my team to not only lead worship, but to be in the worship service which most certainly includes hearing the preached word, sitting among the people we lead and honoring God by our attention to His word.
Yes, volunteer; Yes, serve; Yes, lead; but also be part of the crowd that is worshiping. Corporate worship is VITAL to the health of any church, as we always have known, but were acutely reminded of several years back.
I love my job, and I love leading worship, but in a nutshell ... I can't effectively lead you if I can't also sit down beside you.
--Your Worship Leader