I’m preparing music to lead at a conference coming up, and in doing so I get to spend a lot of time listening to potential songs and a diverse array of worship leaders and their different tendencies. I have come to a tentative conclusion: the more famous you are as a worship leader, the more obscure are the things you can get away with saying as interludes between songs. And the shorter the sentence and farther from context, the better. Three word phrases like “faith is rising” or “sing it prophetically” have the most impact as obscure worship-phrases (OWP for short).
In an effort to increase effectiveness and urban appeal among worship-leaders, I’ve compiled the following Guide to Obscure Appropriateness in Leading Worship, or GOAL-W for short. Using this scoring system, you will be able to determine not only your level of obscurity and thus greatness, but where you are most fit as a worship leader to serve.
- You slip in the name of a lesser known Old Testament prophet. +2 points. +3 for each usage of Melchizedek.
- You forego using a verb. “Jesus Glory Beautiful” as an example. +1 point.
- You never open your eyes and are able to switch between songs and toss out an OWP +3 points.
- You use a Scripture reference, but only the address. “1 Chronicles 3:4” as an example. +2 points for New Testament, +3 points for Old Testament.
- That Scripture reference is Ezekiel 23:19-20 +10 additional points.
- You use the phrase “close your eyes and imagine with me” -10 points.
- You utilize the word “shekinah” +3 points for first use, -5 points for each subsequent usage.
- You instruct the audience to turn to their neighbor and say something. -25 points and automatic 5-minute timeout. (we’ll excuse one time per service for the purpose of reminding folks that this is corporate worship. After that, timeout.)
- Your three word sentence becomes a 5 minute story about what God is teaching you right now. -5 points. We didn’t ask you to give the sermon, just lead the music and keep your talking short and obscure, music (wo)man.
- The sound guy claims there was a “feedback issue” when he cuts the mic off halfway through your story. +4 points for the sound guy.
- You sing your OWP after you say it, for emphasis. +3 points.
- You turn that sung OWP into an impromptu chorus and encourage others to begin singing “bring shekinah Amos arise” over and over. +5 points for every minute you can keep in going.
- You utilize any of the following words/phrases in your OWP:
“dry bones” +1 point.
“purpose-driven” +2 points.
“emphatic” +1 point.
“sheep and goats” +2 points.
“prodigal” +3 points.
“Mark Driscoll” +5 points, unless it is part of a story, which has previously been outlawed, and will result in a -6 point score.
“amber bock” +2 points.
“effervescent” +4 points.
“Infinite improbability” +3 points. If followed by the word “drive”, +10 points.
“horsemen” or “apocalypse” +3 points.
-40 or below: Maybe it’s time to just cut the word “shekinah” completely out of your vocabulary. And while I’m at it, I think you need to consider a job as a story-teller.
-40 to -10: You are definitely a talker, but either you are not obscure enough, or you got caught off guard by the rule against having folks turn to their neighbor and say “neighbor….”
-10 to 0: You seem well fitted for a job in a small, quiet church where the last worship leader was a real talker. A -35 guy who gave a five minute intro to every song.
1 to 15: You are the type of worship leader who does more dancing than talking. You’ve got the Dave Matthews/Carlos Whittaker feet thing, and occasionally throw out a one-liner. You’re a mysterious guy.
15-20: You’re no Charlie Hall, but you are gunning for him. People come up to you after church and say things like “what did you mean when you said…________” You’re on your way.
20 and above: Michael W. Smith doesn’t read my blog, to my knowledge. But if he did, he’d have to admit this is where he scores. He makes Obscure Worship Phraseology into an art form, and nothing less.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my fun poke at one of the things that makes me laugh about Christians.