A personal perspective of leading worship during COVID-19
The art of leading worship is a paradox in action. My goal as a worship leader is to do my best yet become invisible while standing in front of everyone in order to make performance art an all-inclusive invitation.
Worship leading is extremely relational. Normally, the worship leader reads the faces of the congregation to navigate the ever-changing waters of invitation. “Come and let’s seek the Lord, let’s exalt His name together. He is good and He is here.” This has been the heart of the ministry I’m blessed to engage in at First Church and it has never been more challenging than during this time of COVID-19. “How do I get out of the way and be seen on screen? How do I engage relationally and invitationally with a congregation I can’t see because they are in a remote location or their faces are covered and voices muted? I’ve been learning a lot during this time of change.
So far, the most effective avenues of ministry include investing more of my time in personal relationships with the congregation. When performing, I check my own heart and focus on the Lord. I have renewed my reliance on the work of the Holy Spirit. It takes faith to try new things and walk through a time when people’s eyes don’t tell the whole story.
As Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
Volunteer worship leader Solomon Tsuma said the following about his experience, “Empty chairs take getting used to, but being online still enables that ministry and relationship. It has been such a fulfilling time for me as it has allowed time to reflect, cast vision and ask, ‘Where is the Lord leading us?’ It has been a time God has poured into me. Our congregation has been supportive and engaged both in person and online and that relationship has helped refine the online ministry. I’m just grateful for what God is doing in this time.”
“It has been such a fulfilling time for me as it has allowed time to reflect, cast vision
and ask, ‘Where is the Lord
– Solomon Tsuma
Indeed, the Lord has lead the worship staff of this Church into innovation to help the congregation continue to worship. Tools new to us including worship music videos, streaming new online worship offerings such as 10:10 Pastor’s Message and Fridays at Five-Worship Music with Eric (over the summer), a new focus on streaming our Sunday services, a weekly Thursday prayer gathering, even a new outdoor Sunday evening service at Camp Loughridge. Leading in worship is always an act of faith, but now more than ever as we have stepped into the unknown of this season. I’m so grateful to be a part of a church and ministry that is unafraid to seek the Lord and find new ways of engaging in the ministry of His kingdom.