All together now—applause for God! Sing songs to the tune of his glory, set glory to the rhythms of his praise. Say of God, “We’ve never seen anything like him!” Psalm 66:1-2 (MSG)
For the last two weeks the choir has sung in a different place in the order of service and immediately followed the choir anthem with a response of praise in a song of worship. Placing the choir anthem in a different place has been an intentional “re-focus” of how we listen to our choir and praise team anthems. Choir anthems are not meant for entertainment but, instead, for inspiration, edification, witness, praise, worship, and even evangelism. When we listen for entertainment value and applaud the singers for a job well done, we are not listening with the ears of a worshiper. When we listen for inspiration, edification, etc. we may respond with applause, but it will be applause to our Lord and Savior for what He has done, is doing, or what He is going to do. However, sometimes our response may be a Spirit-led “amen,” a word of praise to God, or even complete silence as we are overwhelmed by God’s presence.
I’m not sure who said it first, but I’ve heard several preachers say, “Worship is the fire or fuel for evangelism.” All worship songs, including anthems sung by the choir or new songs by the praise team, are intended to lead the whole congregation to worship God. Our worship fuels evangelism in two ways. First, as we sing, unbelievers attending the worship service hear, see, and experience the presence of God if we are authentically worshiping. Secondly, our worship is inspiring each one of us to personally live out and express our faith in a dynamic way–not just on Sunday but throughout the week! Authentic worship leads to evangelism. Going through the motions or simply being entertained leads to no evangelism and usually results in either a fleeting “feel good” moment or a dissatisfaction because God’s presence was ignored.
“God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” John 4:24