Surrender – Part 1: Why I Opted Out of Praise and Worship Team

I live for Psalm 139:14: “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”   

I write letters to the head pastor at the church I attend, via email, pretty frequently. I have a relationship with him that I feel I can both confide in and approach him with concern or questions. Tonight, I was watching last week’s sermon (I had missed service due to what I thought was illness) and as I did, I felt very compelled to reach out. This particular sermon series is on Ephesians 6:10-17 which is on suiting up in spiritual armor.  (If you’re a reader of this blog, you realize this topic resonates deeply in my walk.)

Our pastor confessed, and had obviously been on his knees in prayer, asking the Lord to search his heart for anything dark that was hidden. What he shared sent my spirit forth and I was led to compose a letter. Let’s just say it involved church being a “production” and my sharing something with him on this and reminding him that there also needs to be ‘truth in worship’. I felt the urging to share this portion publicly after the Lord put this series entitled “Surrender” on my heart. (There are several reasons for it, which will come out in each post.) This particular one came about as I shared something in the letter to my pastor, that I sense the Lord wants other to see:

…As I was being led to write this, I was reminded of why the Lord led me to believe that being part of the Praise team at this point is not right for me. Truth be told, my spirit was simply not in agreement with how {name withheld} is leading. (I have not, nor will I tell him this.)  I prayed and sought the Lord for a long time, asking Him to lead me in this decision about the Praise team. My spirit isn’t in agreement with how he wants everyone to fit a mold and “style.” To me, this doesn’t seem to align with scripture. God doesn’t create us to fit into anything rather to be His vessel. When the Spirit takes control, whether it is of hands when writing, a mind when praying or a voice when singing…who are we to get in the way…our flesh must disappear. 

When I offer my voice to Him for His glory and use, it is not of or about me: I am HIS clay, HIS masterpiece…not one of my own design. I invite the Spirit to flow through me at any given moment, however HE chooses.   

We finally got to a place in choir where the Lord showed {name withheld} that he cannot have total control over us, for we are not singing for his pleasure and perfection, rather for God’s. That when we get caught up in the movement of the Spirit, he has to let it happen and not worry or get upset it didn’t go [his] way. I was in a community choir last fall where the Spirit took over completely – by the end of our set we were all jumping and crying and praising Him – then looked out to realize the audience was being moved as well. It was the most glorious, heart transforming moment of my life, when it came to submitting myself unto the Lord as a performing artist. It showed me who I am in Him and what He is capable of doing through us if we simply surrender. 

Understanding what it is like to be completely submitted in worship, I did not conclude that under his tutelage I would be ALLOWED to reach that place with (for) the Lord.  I was not led to respond to his call for auditions because the Lord led me to believe He would not be free to move through me, that I would not be allowed to go to that place to which He takes me during worship…”

What I had deleted from this letter were the several occasions of complete surrender I have experienced while singing before the congregation since December of 2013. These moments of giving myself up completely to be used and taken over by the Lord have been life changing. One cannot go backwards once they have completely surrendered themselves to His will and embodiment. Being ambushed by the Spirit is the most amazing experiences one could ever have but it won’t happen if you aren’t willing to surrender to whatever He desires to do, in and through you. I understand the concept of a praise and worship “team”, however, if you are contriving a worship experience to fit a “style” how does that leave room for one to succumb to His presence?

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