by Bj Pridham
Preaching had ended, the arena was full… Pastor walked onto the stage and the music team sat poised, ready like elite forces eager to take ground. The atmosphere was charged; pregnant with the presence of God. All eyes were on our fearless leader as the air was sucked out of the room and God sat down on our worship.
The next 20 minutes was an orchestration of worship that literally felt like we had stepped out of an arena of 8,000 into the hallways of heaven. We caught some of it on an album a few years back. The track called “Kiss Towards” is a constant reminder of how powerfully God wants to move in our praise and worship.
I’m so thankful for Senior Pastors who are passionate about the presence of God. At Planetshakers, Pastors Russell and Sam Evans are our church’s finest worship leaders and, in my opinion, the greatest in the world. I’ve observed over the years how they can plan so precisely, yet allow God to take the reigns and lead us right to where He is. I watch our staff when our Pastors walk on the stage as they pay close attention to Pastors Russell and Sam, find “the moment of the meeting” and agree with heaven’s agenda to see a powerful move of God.
Today, I wanted to share with you three critical things I’ve observed being one of the praise and worship Leaders at Planetshakers. I’m always learning, but I am so glad I have great “generals” as examples in my life. Get yourself a cup of coffee, and let’s have a chat!
1. God’s method for Praise and Worship is Spirit and Truth.
There are so many differing opinions on what praise and worship is, and truthfully, I feel as though its roar has been lulled to sleep in the global church. God’s Word gives us a clear definition of what it means to praise:
Psalm 100: Enter His courts with thanksgiving, enter His courts with praise…
Psalm 47: O clap your hands all ye people; shout unto God with a voice of triumph…
These are some of many Kingdom guidelines to praise the way God loves to be praised. It was Israel’s obedience to shout that brought down the walls of Jericho. Despite what your flesh says, the Bible says God loves someone who worships in Spirit and in Truth… Therefore, how we feel (flesh) is not the basis of praise. Who God is and how He likes to be praised according to the Word is how we should praise.
2. Praise and Worship is a Kingdom Culture.
Psalm 22:3 (Amp): But You are Holy, O You who dwell in the Holy Place where the praises of Israel are offered. Our Fathers trusted in You; they trusted (leaned on, relied on You and were confident) and You delivered them.
When we lead people into praise and worship, we are bringing people into an environment of Kingdom Order. This Scripture tells us that God abides (sits on) our praise. A praise and worship leader ushers people into “Heaven on Earth.”
Here’s one of thousands of testimonies we have from a recent meeting:
An 11-year-old girl who was 90 percent deaf in one ear suddenly noticed that the music was excessively loud whilst in praise and worship. It was then that the realization had occurred she had been healed! Since then, doctors have verified and confirmed she has 100 percent hearing in both ears.
Paul and Silas, imprisoned in the midnight hour, sang hymns of praise to God. What happened next is supernatural. The cell doors flung open not only for themselves, but also for others. As leaders, we must know praise is not only a weapon that brings freedom to us, but releases freedom to others.
3. Praise and Worship evokes an Encounter with God.
The Bible says where Jesus was honored, He was able to perform miracles. I believe it’s the same with His presence. Whenever we lift Him up, giving Him honor, He is right there with us, able to do whatever He wants to do.
This incredible privilege, whether you’re a praise and worship Leader or simply passionate about praise and worship, it is an “all in” deal. I love the response of the cripple at the gate Beautiful when he received his miracle in Acts 3:6 (Amp):
And leaping forth he stood and began to walk and he went into the temple with them, waling and leaping and praising God.
His response to God’s work in His life was proportionate to the miracle he’d received. Those who are forgiven much (healed of much in this case)… love much and usually have no problems showing it. I have two beautiful boys (3rd is due in a matter of weeks!!!). As their daddy, my favorite time of day is when I get home from work. They run, leap, cuddle and kiss me like crazy! They don’t care what it looks like. All they know is Daddy’s home. It is impossible to love someone with your whole heart and not show it. The Father did with Jesus and withheld nothing by sending Him to the cross and raising Him in a glorious victory. Perhaps praise and worship, using our whole being (mind, body and soul) is indeed a fitting response for all He’s done.
Bj Pridham is Worship Pastor at Planetshakers City Church, husband to Marla and father to Archiblad Alexander and Levi Charles. He is also a member of Planetshakers Band.
Originally formed in 1997 to lead worship for the first Planetshakers Awakening (conference) held in Australia, Planetshakers Band is passionate about uniting generations worldwide through worship. As Australia’s largest youth/young adult Christian movement, Planetshakers’ goal is to see people encounter God, be transformed by His presence and empowered to make a difference in their world. While they tour internationally, the team remains based out of Planetshakers Church, a multi-campus, 12,000-plus member congregation based in Melbourne, Australia that is pastored by husband and wife, Russell and Sam Evans. www.planetshakers.com