Psalm 100, How to Lead Praise & Worship

Psalm 100, Amplified Bible (AMP)

A Psalm of thanksgiving and for the thank offering.

1 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all you lands!

2 Serve the Lord with gladness! Come before His presence with singing!

3 Know (perceive, recognize, and understand with approval) that the Lord is God! It is He Who has made us, not we ourselves [and we are His]! We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and a thank offering and into His courts with praise! Be thankful and say so to Him, bless and affectionately praise His name!

5 For the Lord is good; His mercy and loving-kindness are everlasting, His faithfulness and truth endure to all generations.

This familiar Psalm is excellent for praise and worship teams as it speaks about praise and worship AND gives a framework on how to approach God through the devotional, or praise & worship, part of service.

Make – Serve – Come – Know – Enter – Be (Thankful) – Bless

The tone here is authoritative; this is not a suggestion, but a command. It also gives reasons why we ought to serve & praise God (AND be glad while doing it). The writer even instructs how to approach God with the phrase “come…with singing,” giving Biblical basis why “praise & worship” is first in most church liturgies (order or service).  You music ministry should be lead by instructing and reminding that God is worthy of our praise no matter what is going on.

God is the audience, NOT the congregation

Notice how many times the words “Lord,” “Him,” “He,” & “His” appears. There is always a temptation to be focused on the people instead of God. If the lyrics don’t bring the focus on God, (perhaps) let a choir sing it instead. It is ok for some praise & worship to be more instructional and therefore speak to the congregation. However, ultimately the main goal of the praise and worship team is to move towards singing worship to God. I encourage teams to lead by example, almost forgetting about the congregation, as they move into songs of worship. Ever notice that worship songs often use the word “You” instead of “He?” God becomes audience and all “eyes” should be on Him.

Know the Order: Thanksgiving, Praise, then Worship

Verse 4 begins a sequence. 
Thanksgiving is giving thanks. If you can thank someone for giving you a birthday gift, then you can thank God for life, strength, mobilty and more.  Praise is a laudation for a job well done, even if you are not the direct recipient of what was done.  If you can clap and scream at a sporting event, then you can praise God for things he has done throughout history. Worship requires a love relationship with God. While the word “worship” does not appear here it is indicated by the words “bless,” “His name” and, in the amplified, “affectionately.” Worship requires knowing God’s character and lovingly acknowledging those characteristics much like a woman tells her husband how she loves his physique, his bravery, or how wonderul a husband and father he is.
A good worship leader won’t make the mistake of simply mixing up fast and slow songs, but rather will ensures that everyone can get through the gates and courts of thanksgiving and praise and, hopefully, leads those willing to a place of worshipping God.

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