While at the Christian Musician Summit this past weekend I taught a workshop on Encouraging Spontaneity in Your Church. We had about 200 folks crammed into a room that held about 150, so it was, shall we say, a cozy setting.
At one point, I led the group in singing spontaneous responses to different sections of Psalm 100, similar to what we did at the WorshipGod conference. It’s a form of meditating on God’s Word through song. It was moving to hear how God spoke to different individuals through that exercise.
Here’s a general outline of what I shared in the seminar. You can download my complete notes here.
Cautions About Spontaneity
1. Don’t pit spontaneity against planning.
2. Don’t pursue spontaneity because you’re lazy and don’t want to prepare.
3. Spontaneity isn’t more “spiritual” than planning.
Some Reasons to Pursue Spontaneity
1. We gather to meet with a living God and a risen Savior, not simply to carry out our plan. (Heb. 12:22-24)
2. God’s Spirit is actively present among us when we gather to magnify Christ and his Word. (1 Cor. 12:7; John 15:26; John 14:26)
3. Spontaneity gives us freedom to respond to present needs and promptings.
4. God wants to care for his people in every situation. The natural effect of Spirit-led spontaneity is being more aware of God’s presence and his care.
How Can We Pursue Spontaneity?
1. Dependence resulting in prayer.
2. Expectation resulting in wise planning.
3. Responsiveness resulting in action and follow-up.
4. Have a clear understanding of who is ultimately responsible for leading the meeting. Trust must be earned.
The Practice of Spontaneity
See my notes on this section
1. Was what we did helpful? Did it exalt Christ? Did it deepen our love for God’s Word?
2. Don’t exalt impressions over pastoral leadership.
3. Don’t become over-dependent on spontaneous impressions.
4. Don’t over-analyze. God is sovereign and will lead us as we remain rooted in his Word and the gospel.
5. Thank God for what he has done and will do in the future to reveal his active presence in our meetings.
Your church may excel in this area. Then again, how many of us ever experience the kind of situation Paul describes in 1 Cor. 14:24-25?
But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.
Whether or not you believe in the present day gift of prophecy isn’t the point. Let’s expect God to do mighty things in people’s hearts and lives every time we lead, planned or unplanned, for the glory of the Savior.