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The Need to Redefine "Performance" & thus Restore Performing
Whatever worship tradition or style is practiced in your church community, there is a need for worship leaders, singers, accompanists and other players to understand their function in any worship context. All who serve in this capacity rightfully should struggle with not making it about themselves and thus their performance in a particular capacity--a struggle which is made more difficult when you occupy center stage/focus or when the gathering claps after your performance. Yet, regardless of the worshipping circumstances this struggle will never be adequately resolved until you:
(1) understand your function in worship,
(2) redefine your performance by this function, not for example by
technique, & thus
(3) restore performing according to your relational response of worship,
which is distinctly outlined below.
Serving in this capacity you perform a function, necessarily in relational cooperation with the Holy Spirit, to help "take" the gathered to God in worship. In order to fulfill this purpose--again relationally working cooperatively with the Spirit--your "performance" must (by its nature, not by obligation or compulsion) function ongoingly in the following relational response of worship:
(1a) Performing before God, not before the gathering or anyone else--this
defines the only relational context of worship, the integrity of
which must be ensured because this is the only context constituting
(2a) Performing for God, not for the gathered despite any good intentions
nor even for your own feedback to improve--only for God is the vital
relational clarity of worship that must be the ongoing focus of your
actions and words, thus minimizing digressing with the gathering or
eliminating what is effectively drawing the focus to yourself.
(3a) Performing to God, which further distinguishes "performing for God,"
as the only focus giving relational clarity to your action of worship,
by taking that action deeper than relating to God merely as the
object of worship to the more direct relational connection with the
intimately relational God; this direct relational connection is made as
performing is the expression of your heart (not your talent) to God,
thus coming together with the heart of God (cf. Mt. 15:8,9;Jn
4:23,24, where "spirit and truth" can be rendered "heart and
honesty"); this is the only relational response of worship that has
relational significance to God, because for God it's not about what
you do but about how you are involved with God in relationship
Any participants in worship must (by its nature) respond to God in this relational context, with this relational clarity and by this relational significance. All worship is a function only of relationship, intimate relationship with God, not a function of any other aspect included in a worship tradition and style. And worship leaders, singers, accompanists and other players have the added responsibility to participate in this relational context and process in growing relationship with God, so that your actions reflect your involvement with God and thus help "take" the gathered to God in worship together. Anything less than the above is a reduction of the relational whole of worship necessary to have relational significance to God. Any such reduction makes performance a substitute for this relational response--a substitute prevailing in many worship gatherings, thus rendering worship and church practice the ontological simulations and epistemological illusions of reductionism.
This note is by T. Dave Matsuo, based on his study, Sanctified Christology, on this website.