To worship is to enjoy god. To lead worship, however, is hard work.

Worship leaders must coordinate instrumentalists, vocalists, and readers, all the while concentrating on the congregation’s encounter with God. Is it possible to lead others in such a life-changing encounter and encounter God ourselves? Strange, isn’t it, that directing worship inhibits worship itself!

And yet I do worship, which I discovered in a painful way. After spending a week incapacitated by a pinched nerve, I was determined to lead worship on Sunday, even though back pain demanded the use of a cane I knew I would feel foolish using. There was also the embarrassment of standing and sitting slowly, and moving carefully.

That Sunday morning I realized my determination to be there was not born out of a sense of duty or desire to be seen—nor even a need to lead. I made the effort because I wanted to worship!

This is not, however, where the ability to worship while leading worship begins. It starts with our daily personal contact with God. No one can worship once a week and become strong in the faith. The New Testament teaches that corporate worship is a must—Christ went to the synagogue as a “custom” (Luke 4:16). But public worship alone can become a ritual. Worship as a part of the Christian lifestyle, however, provides vitality for the gathering of God’s people.

My personal devotional life consists not only of Scripture study and meditation, but also singing hymns and choruses that my study brings to mind. Other special moments center on family worship and on those events where our daily lives meet God.

Late one evening, our tireless two-year-old was having difficulty falling asleep. After trying everything else, ...

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