This past Friday I went on a retreat with the rest of the Biola Chapel Worship community. It was a lot of fun; we went down to Laguna, had a photo scavenger hunt, ate pizza overlooking the beach, and then had some training and teaching at the Little Church by the Sea.
Overall, the retreat was a success in every way, and I want to share a few thoughts on the wisdom we received that day.
The worship team at the church is great. They LOVE old gospel and folk music, so their regular instruments include: Banjo, accordian, mandolin, acoustic guitar and organ. Their reason behind this (apart from being in a small room where larger electric instruments could be overwhelming) is found in the roots of folk music. Its is true that folk/acoustic music was born out of communities, large and small, in living rooms, coffee shops, and parks. Its all about hearing those around you sing whether or not they have the perfect pipes to go with it. In a few words, leading musical worship in this style prompts people to sing more. I know it sounds kinda crazy, but i've seen it happen. There is an overwhelming sense of joy and rejoicing that comes with this music. Also, it allows you to hear those around you, which makes worship so much more community based.
Secondly, the pastor who led the evening began talking to us about our perceptions of the role of congregational worship. We all agreed that it prepares our hearts, and allows us to focus and communicate with God. But, then he brought up a whole new aspect. He went on to remind us that worship (offering ourselves as a sacrifice) is life-transforming. When we engage in music and worship we are soaking in an attitude that changes us. Its not a one time act of praise, but it continues on. What God does in our hearts at that moment should carry on. We are sitting in God's presence and learning more of his attributes that he wants us to display.
I hope that made sense. I kinda just wanted to write it out and get it down so I could start to grasp it more. Hope you find it helpful :)