It happens every week: Sunday.
For a worship leader, this means every week you have a worship service to plan, songs to pick out, music to prepare, a worship team to equip and rehearse, a tech team with which to communicate, lyric slides to prepare, creative elements to get in place, and much, much more. (Many of you may be getting a little anxious just reading that list. It’s OK…you’re not alone!)
With all of this to prepare from week to week it can be really easy to walk into church on Sunday morning feeling spiritually exhausted. This is something that I’ve wrestled with over the last 10 years of full-time ministry, and I have found three things that have helped me specifically on Sunday mornings, to maintain a healthy spirit in worship.
The first thing I recommend to help maintain a healthy spirit in worship is to pray. I know this sounds simple, but making intentional time to pray can really help you set your mind on heavenly things rather than earthly things (Colossians 3:1-2). Take time on Sunday mornings to pray for everyone who will be helping to make the worship service happen.
When I say pray, I don’t mean pray that they hit the right notes or that they don’t miss their cues. Pray for their whole person, body and soul. Pray for their families, their marriages, their kids, and their health. Pray that God will use them for His glory during the service, and soften their hearts to hear His word. This takes some time, and you might need to get up a little earlier on Sunday morning to do it, but it will help put your spirit in the right place as you walk in Sunday morning to serve.
The second thing I recommend to help maintain a healthy spirit in worship is to fast. Fasting is an often overlooked spiritual discipline, but it can help focus our physical hunger into spiritual hunger. Many Sundays I will intentionally fast from food from when I get up in the morning until after the worship services are over (6:30 am to 1 pm) to help me stay focused on my spiritual needs rather than my physical needs. (DISCLAIMER: You should always consult your doctor before trying a food fast!)
The third thing I recommend to help maintain a healthy spirit in worship is to be the biggest encourager in the room. Go above and beyond on Sunday mornings to encourage everyone around you. If your mix sounds good in your monitor wedge, thank the sound person. Compliment your slide person on making good transitions between lyric slides. Find something that your weakest musician or singer is doing well, and point that out saying, “Way to go! That sounds great!”
Encouragement can help inspire a person to do their best or even give them the courage to take steps to make them better at what they are doing. Encouragement also shows your team that you believe in them, and it will build trust and unity. Encouragement is not only good for those around you, it is also good for your soul as well. Fake encouragement can be spotted a mile away, so please be genuine and real as you encourage your team.
Ephesians 6:12 says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” This verse is a challenge and an inspiration to me as I get up every day, and especially on Sunday morning.
It’s a challenge because it reminds me that there are forces of evil that hate when we gather and worship the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit on Sunday mornings, and will try anything to distract us from fully engaging. It is also an inspiration to me because it makes me want to be as prepared as I can spiritually, for whatever the evil forces have planned. These three things are what help me prepare and maintain a healthy spirit in worship on Sunday mornings, and I hope that they can help you as well.
Matt Hanegraaff is a worship leader at Faith Reformed Church in Zeeland, MI.