How do you feel when you hear someone say the words spontaneous worship? I am sure that if I was to ask a panel of twelve worship leaders from different denominations, I would probably get twelve different answers. Some of the twelve may know what it means, while the others might say, “I think I have heard of that and make a wild guess”. This does not mean that the ones who know the answer are right or the ones who guessed at it are wrong. Everyone will describe their worship experience differently from others. Remember, it is ok to agree and disagree. Keep in mind, we all are here for one purpose, to worship our King.
This started me thinking and researching this subject. I have read all sorts of ways people described spontaneous worship. I began praying and I felt the Lord say “Give your experiences, you lived them”. Do I have all the answers? Not at all, but I do have the experiences. I hope this will shed some light for some of you.
Let’s look at what spontaneous worship means:
Spontaneous worship is to help create in us as worship leaders and worship teams and our congregations, a freer expression of worship to our God.
The dictionary describes the word spontaneous as:
Performed or occurring without premeditation or external stimulus.
In other words, spontaneous means:
Things happening naturally and freely without planning.
Here is an example of an individuals spontaneous worship:
Have you ever started singing a song that maybe you have heard on the radio or at church? You are singing it out loud and you are feeling good while singing the song. The next thing you realize is that you have sung a whole different song and words. You were making a melody in your heart to the Lord. There was no stopping or thinking about it. The words just flowed out of your spirit.
Ephesians ch 5 v 19 NIV:
Speak to one another with Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord.
Zephaniah ch 3 v 17 NIV:
The lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.
These verses are describing what you were experiencing when you were singing a song from the heart or from your spirit. And the Lord was rejoicing with you.
Let”s now look at spontaneous worship from a worship leader or worship teams experiences with their congregation. The same scriptures apply, but add this next scripture as well.
Psalms 150 verses 1-6 niv:
1. Praise the God in His sanctuary, praise Him in His mighty heavens.
2. Praise Him for His acts of power; Praise hHm for His surpassing greatness.
3. Praise Him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise Him with the harp and lyre.
4. Praise Him with the tambourine and dancing, praise Him with the strings and flute.
5. Praise Him with the clash of cymbals, praise Him with resounding cymbals,
6. Let everything that haa breath praise the Lord.
I love Psalms 150 for it describes every part of a worship team. God did not leave anyone out.
As worship leaders, you are always listening for just the right song or sound for your group and your church. But with spontaneous worship, there is not always an organized set list of songs. You may start out with your list and get half way through the list and the Spirit of God has something else in mind. This is where you as a worship leader will need to know how to discern by the spirit, or as some would say feel the spirit realm changing. As you yield to the spirit changing, so will your team members as well as the congregation. Discernment does not come over night, it takes a lot of yielding and knowing God’s Spirit.
I have been in worship services at times and I could almost feel a light wind blowing, but not like a natural wind. A gentle flow of His spirit had entered the room. We were in the middle of our worship song and I was sensing that God was wanting to do something. We finished our song and at this time I could feel the atmosphere changing. We all began to worship the Lord quietly and it seemed like the musicians played a tune like I had never heard before. I encouraged the congregation to press in more, Worship Him, Worship Him, Hosanna, Hosanna, I cried out with excitement! Myself, the team and the congregation became a resounding noise. We were all singing in one accord. What a beautiful time in the Lords presence. Then once again it became quiet. Not an instrument, singer or movement was to be heard. As I was basking in His presence, I felt the Lord was prompting me to sing something.
Remember me talking about singing a familiar song and then you are singing something totally different? This is what happened. I began singing something simple like, we love you Lord, we need you Lord. The next thing I know I was singing a new song to the Lord and over His people. There were people crying and rejoicing. When the spontaneous song was over we were all worshiping together once more. This was not planned and was not on our set list. It was spontaneous worship to the Lord. God did what He needed to be done and his people rejoiced.
My team members have been with me for over 6 years now and we have learned by God’s Spirit to hear His voice and yield to the moving of His spirit. As I have said in my opening statement, we will all have different answers to what spontaneous worship is. Some describe it through dance and the arts, some through instruments and some will combine all of these.
I always like to line up our worship with what the Word of God says and to be free to move in His leading by His spirit.
I encourage you today to yield and discern by His Spirit in your next worship service. And remember to thank God for choosing and trusting you to lead His people into the presence of the King.