My Philosophy of Worship

“Sing to Him a new song;
Play skillfully with a shout of joy.”
– Psalm 33:3 (NASB)

I began to sense God calling me to the ministry when I was a freshman in high school, and from that moment on, I have spent my life attempting to hone and polish my philosophy of worship. I guess I use the term “worship” loosely. As Christians, we should spend our entire lives in worship of our Lord. What I’m talking about here is my philosophy of leading worship through song. At some point in my time at Boyce College in Louisville, KY, I latched on to a particular verse of scripture that has been a guide to me throughout my worship leading ministry.

“Sing to Him a new song;
Play skillfully with a shout of joy.”
– Psalm 33:3 (NASB)

There are three main thoughts that I pull out of this verse.

“Sing to Him a new song”

There is something to be said about keeping your song repertoire fresh. There have been times in my music ministry when I would not introduce a new song for months upon months. Over time, our minds become a little numb to something we hear over and over. Unfortunately, this is true even of lyrics to worship songs and hymns. I imagine that this is just another aspect of our fallen nature. And so we have to keep things fresh.

Here’s what I’m not saying by this. I’m not saying that there should be a limit to either how long we sing a song or how old a song can be. Some of my favorite songs that we sing are over a century old! The key here is to keep the musical aspect of the song fresh. Occasionally, I will change the chords or the tempo of a hymn. Our guitarists will write new parts to play over an old song. When we do things like this, it makes us listen and reevaluate what we’re hearing. It can make an old song “new!”

“Play skillfully”

This one is pretty straight forward. Whether in my personal guitar playing, or in my study of how to string songs together with transitions and scripture reading, or how long to pause between songs for there to be an opportunity to reflect, I always want to be honing the skills and talents that God has given me. He is absolutely worthy of the best that I can give, and so that’s what I want to give! And the fact is, my best from 6 months ago is not my best today. And so it is a constant striving to give my best.

But praise be to God, Jesus has fought for us! He has won the battle and given us the victory in His name over death and sin!

“with a shout of joy.”

This one is probably the most challenging out of the three. It’s the only one that centers on our heart. We can sing new songs and play skillfully, but without joy, why are we doing any of it? There has to be joy. When it comes down to it, there is no valid excuse for there not to be joy. If we sit and really contemplate what we are doing when we come to worship, it should fill us with joy unspeakable. We get to come to the feet of our Creator and talk to Him. We get to kneel at the feet of our Savior and speak to Him. We get to bask in the truths that He has given us in His Word, and rest in the promises that He has and will fulfill in our lives. We get to do all of these things with the full knowledge that we really have no business (on our own) doing any of it!

On our own, we are not worthy to come before our Creator and talk to Him. On our own, we are not worthy to come before the Son of God and speak to Him. On our own, we have only the lies of the deceiver to fill us with hopelessness and despair. But praise be to God, Jesus has fought for us! He has won the battle and given us the victory in His name over death and sin!

If that doesn’t fill us with joy, what will?

The truth is, while this verse is directly associated with worship through music, the truths in it can be applied to our lives overall.

“Sing to Him a new song” – Let the Gospel be fresh to you every day. Preach the Gospel to yourself. Let its truths sink deep in to your soul each morning when you wake up. If you do this, the song of praise in your heart will always be new every day.

“Play skillfully” – “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” – Colossians 3:17 (ESV) That verse pretty much sums up how “play skillfully” can be applied to our everyday lives. If we’re doing everything in the name of Jesus, shouldn’t we desire to do our best?

“with a shout of joy.” – I’ll piggyback off of Colossians 3:17 again here. Just the fact that we get to be a part of the family of God, that we get to do things “in the name of the Lord Jesus,” and be used in His Kingdom should fill us with so much joy that it overflows from our mouths with shouts of joy and praise!

So that’s my philosophy of worship. The more I meditate on it, the more I realize how applicable it is to my everyday life. I hope and pray that this verse speaks to your heart, and that you will also sing to Him a new song, play skillfully in every part of your life, and let your mouth be filled with shouts of joy for what Jesus has done for you!

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