My role as a worship leader carries a tough responsibility, one that requires my heart to be in a place of worship before Sunday morning. Yet just like everyone else, I deal with allergies, taxes, bills and the emotional needs of my family.

I have tried to cultivate worship in my family over the years by examining my own walk with God and asking myself if I am modelling authentic worship to my children. I am keenly aware that, many times, the next generation looks at the preceding one and points to the obvious spiritual contradictions.

Finding daily opportunities

Day to day, I look for opportunities to point out the hand of God, either in a glorious sunset, a striking cloud formation or an animal in the backyard. I encourage my family to appreciate the beauty in the moment and connect that moment to the Creator behind it.

At times we break out the guitar or sit around the piano and sing together. Sometimes we sing worship choruses and sometimes we sing songs from the radio. When we worship God with music, we are simply using a tool to help us connect to a living God. The Psalms provide all kinds of ways in which we can demonstrate or express our worship, such as singing, clapping, kneeling, dancing and playing musical instruments.

More than just singing at church

Yet worship is much more than 20 minutes of singing at a church service. What I try to model for my family and my church is that worship has more to do with relationship than it does with music. It is impossible to worship a living God – sacrificing our bodies, emotions, minds and hearts – and not have it affect all our relationships.

Of course, I go through seasons when life is hard and relationships are difficult. On occasional Sundays, I stand before my church and just go through the motions. But I can’t do that for long.

We can’t separate worship from relationship any more than we can separate intimacy from a healthy marriage. Just as intimacy wells up from the mutual respect and love within a marriage, worship springs from a surrendered and grateful heart.

A grateful heart

I have little patience for ungratefulness. I remind my family daily how blessed and fortunate we are. Psalm 103:2 says it best: "Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits." Remembering God’s blessings are the keys to a worshipping heart – a heart that desires to live a life of worship through singing, serving, loving and obeying.

We can decide to do these things and let the overflow affect others. Our example will remind those around us that there is a God worth knowing and that we were created for His pleasure and purposes. In that sense, we can all be worship leaders by practicing gratitude and walking in fellowship with God.

Paul Baloche has been a worship pastor for over 18 years.

© 2008 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used by permission.

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