Let the church lead worship, not worship leaders

Let the church lead worship, not worship leaders


We had a really interesting but potentially controversial comment yesterday on one of our blog posts on worship leading about interactive worship. We’re publishing the quote here in full as we’d love to hear others’ views. Please do continue the discussion below.

Frank Viola and George Barna write in chapter 6 of Pagan Christianity:Exploring the Roots of our Church Practices:

“Those who lead worship select the songs that are to be sung. They begin those songs. They decide how those songs are to be sung. And they decide when those songs are over. Those in the audience in no way, shape or form lead the singing. They are led by someone else who is often part of the clerical staff – or who has similar stature.

This is in stark contrast to the first-century way. In the early church, worship and singing were in the hands of all of God’s people. The church herself led her own songs. Singing and leading songs was a corporate affair, not a professional event led by specialists…

A worship leader robs God’s people of a vital function: to select and lead their own singing in the meetings – to have divine worship in their own hands – to allow Jesus Christ to direct the singing of His church rather than have it led by a human facilitator.”



(Cartoon courtesy of asbojesus.wordpress.com)

Other blog posts you might find interesting:

What is worship? – Michael Frost’s take on Paul’s definition of worship

The gathering of believers vs open mic night – the way one church chooses to lead worship

Brian MacLaren on worship songs

A theology of worship – stumbling towards mystery

Something old something new – combing liturgy and postmodern culture

Thoughts on church, worship, theology and more