“Are you in the closet?” I recently posed this question to the worship team and as expected received a few funny looks coupled with a handful of chuckles. I was and still am serious about this proposition, however, so allow me to explain why.
To begin unpacking this odd question you must first read Matthew 6:1-6.
1 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
In this passage you see Christ talking about these hypocritical, self-righteous glory hogs. He was pinpointing a group of individuals that had their motives all out of whack and were utilizing things of a spiritual nature to gain the recognition, praise and glory of the people around them.
In verse 6 Jesus says, “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” This idea of going into your room is actually referring to an inner room or quarters like our modern day closets. Three times He warns against these public acts of righteousness before men that do not honor God. Jesus states that they’ve received all the reward they will ever get.
So what is the point? As a worship team commissioned with the task of standing before a congregation on a stage utilizing gifts, talents and abilities many may deem as “really cool” or “praise-worthy” we are, by default, set up for consistent opportunities to “pray great prayers on the street corner”. Together we must guard our hearts and minds against motives that can become convoluted or compromised. Investigate the way your team practices and rehearses. Too often our weekly rehearsal times and pre-service run throughs are all about getting the sound/lights/video dialed in and the music tight. Then, once we are finished we pray quickly and ask God to bless what we’ve done. Then flip on our “worship switch” to put on a good show. We might even receive a few compliments as people walk away having enjoyed the experience. But did we rob ourselves and God of what could have been an even more dynamic congregational time of worship?
I don’t know about everyone else out there but I know that sounds a whole lot like what a normal week looked like for me in the past. I firmly believe that God has called us to something more…something far greater. Consider your rehearsals as your worship team’s opportunity to get into your inner quarters. Pray, read scripture, worship in spirit and in truth. Do this and it will breed dynamic worship experiences in the life of your church on Sunday mornings. What you do on the stage simply becomes an overflow of what you’ve been a part of in practice.
So…are you in the closet?