3. Presence Trumps Production

This is a continuation of an earlier post on effective worship leadership. Click here to see other related posts.

Credit: NationalWorshipLeaderConference.com

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the National Worship Leader Conference in Kansas City. There were 1700 in attendance. Different churches, different denominations. I love it. Exhibitors were there too, you know companies that serve the worship leading market. I’m learning about using tracks and loops to supplement live players, so I was eager to talk to the Loop Community and MultiTracks in particular. It’s a cool time to be a worship leader. Yet for all of the whiz-bang gadgets and tricks that are out there, I found that some of the most meaningful and passionate worship experiences were from a very simple setting. One person, on one keyboard, leading us in the right song. It brings to mind another principle of effective worship leadership: Presence trumps production.

It’s so easy to get caught up in gear, transitions, video, props, and “hitting our queue.” We can control and measure these things. We determine success and failure on them. But really, all that matters in worship is whether the presence of God was experienced. Contemplated. Cherished. Am I somehow changed because of my worship?

This experience is hard to define, harder to control, and can’t be expected on demand. I’m not against technology, nor am I saying that a solo piano is how you experience the presence of God. The most important thing is our hearts. What are we desiring from the experience?

So, I’m still learning about loops and MIDI triggers, but I pray that I will always first be seeking His presence.

Over to you:

How do you use technology in worship? How do you keep it “in check”?


About Jonathan Riggs

Singer, actor, songwriter, and entrepreneur. And I like vanilla bean.
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4 Responses to 3. Presence Trumps Production

  1. Kevin Riner says:

    I am gonna have to steal that quote. I’m a guy that truly believes in the K.I.S.S. method (Keep It Simple Stupid). I love that quote Presence trumps production. We keep it pretty simple. Live band with white words on a black screen. Nothing more.

    • Jonathan says:

      Thanks, Kevin. To be clear, I am not anti-technology. The challenge is to keep it in its right place. Make sure it enhances the story and not distracts from it. And watch out for the trap of thinking that high-production value is the goal. His presence is what we seek.

    • Jonathan says:

      And yes, you can use the quote. [smile]

  2. Kevin Riner says:

    Yeah, I’m not anti-technology either. I think it works in certain settings. But I’m also a big fan of a simple instrument and choral of voices. That’s why Phil Wickham’s Sing Along CD’s have sold so well. It’s pure and undefiled.

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