Leading the Drama of Worship

April 15, 2019
Photo of piano keys with sheet music in the background

Drama—our lives are full of it. Sometimes we’re the lead actor and sometimes we’re the audience member. For many of us in leadership positions, it can feel like we create a drama, perhaps even a musical, each and every week. 

Whenever I consider the underlying drama in worship, I think about two different types of experience: times when the musicians, actors, dancers, or artists gave a performance and times when it seemed like they simply acted as communicators passing along a message. I’m sure you have witnessed these before, too. How do you feel in each case? Is offering worship as a performance or an art a showing-off of one’s skills? Or is our job to act as “enablers,” thereby providing tools that allow others to experience the Word in a feeling, a sacrament, or a sacred moment? 

In many churches, applause can follow an anthem or a postlude, especially when children are leading. Does that make the offering seem more like a performance? Or does the clapping feel like a spontaneous shout of “Amen” during a sermon? 

When we lead the drama of worship, can we create a dramatic flow that includes purpose, intent, narrative structure, and logical content? Can we offer our worship to God, and in turn, receive all that God offers back to us? I hope so, because our lives need to be full of drama!