If our leadership conveys that worship starts when we start it and ends when we end it…If we expend all resources and energy preparing for and presenting a single hour on Sunday and have nothing left to encourage worship the other 167 hours of the week…If we aren’t exhorting them and modeling for them how to worship not only when they gather but also when they disperse…Then we are indeed shallow worship enablers.
Eugene Peterson wrote in Christ Plays in Ten-Thousand Places, “Worship is the primary means for forming us as participants in God’s work, but if the blinds are drawn while we wait for Sunday, we aren’t in touch with the work that God is actually doing.”
Congregations will never evolve from shallow worship to “deep calling unto deep” worship until we as leaders resolve to offer them opportunities to move from enabled dependency to intentional empowerment (Ps. 42:7). And if we don’t help them catch that vision, who will?
Dependency is conditional or contingent on something or someone else. It is relying on or requiring the aid of another. Worship dependency is saving it until Sunday and waiting for someone else to initiate it. Worship dependency focuses only on what is done for us here and has to start over every week. Dependency can also increase worship conflict since we only get one chance at it.
Empowerment is increasing the capacity of individuals or groups to make choices and to transform those choices into desired actions and outcomes. Empowerment equips and offers encouragement to think, behave, or take action autonomously. Worship empowerment encourages congregants to take ownership in their own worship responses to God’s revelation at the moment it occurs. Worship empowerment focuses on what we can do and who we can be out there and starts every day where we left off the day before. Empowerment can reduce worship conflict since we get multiple chances at it.
Worship empowerment arises from the shallowness of dependency and leads to the full, conscious, active, and continuous participation of worshipers. When worshipers are empowered and no longer enabled, what occurs on Sunday is then an overflow of what has already occurred during the week with an added benefit of getting to share it with others. The weekly gathering is then expanded to a daily occurrence allowing a congregation in full assurance and with complete confidence to proclaim that Worship has left the building and will continue until we meet again.