In the past four decades, the development of church worship has advanced more into a spiritual experience with the presence of God than ever before. Due to the spiritual renewals of the 1960s and '70s, churches have migrated into a state of praise and worship where the music draws people into a more conscious awareness of the presence of God. As churches are responding to the Holy Spirit, they are being filled in the Spirit like in the days of the Book of Acts. Worship is becoming a spiritual experience of fellowship where the presence of God is not worshiped but experienced in praise, as the people worship in truth and spirit.
Churches are learning that corporate worship is where believers come together and sing praises to the Lord as they move into worship and praise; which is the strongest thing a body of believers can do. This type of worship leaves the traditional one hour come to church and enters into a loss of time that is open to the move of the Holy Spirit. This is worship that does not try to define who God is but redefines who the people are in Christ.
This part of the ministry of Helps described in 1Corinthians 12:28 is on the same level as the five-fold ministry, miracles, healing, and speaking in tongues.
And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.
In this expanded level of worship the Gifts of the Spirit flow with freedom as the people receive prophecy, healing, wisdom, and knowledge from the power of being filled in the Spirit.
17 Therefore do not be unwise but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God. [NKJV]
Worship then becomes a reaction to the greatness of God, not a ritual.
The Ministry Work of Praise and Worship
To accomplish worship and praise in a church body as described above requires ministers that are more than the music leaders or choir directors of the past. The ministry of Praise and Worship has grown in volume and fullness in Christ, where those working in the fields of music and production are ministers of spiritual guidance, bring their congregations into a more conscious move of the Holy Spirit during a time of worship. Skills of music writing, singing and voice quality, equipment technology, sound, and visual production, and stage presentation have become normal skill-sets for those who minister in the arts of Praise and Worship.
Professionalism has heightened individual abilities that carry congregations beyond singing hymns and making a few announcements, as these ministers of spiritual awareness carry their congregations into a rich, full experience in the presence of God.
Many of the people who work behind the sense of a worship service may not realize they are ministers in their own right. Everything they do for the congregation is ministering to meet the needs of the overall experience of worship. Sound technicians, camera handlers, production booth technicians, and lighting, all contribute to the final outcome of worship and praise to the Lord Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. Where churches thirty years ago used a person to start and stop the recording equipment, now churches have producers, directors, and an army of technical personnel that are skilled with professional level abilities that create an atmosphere equal to that of a major production company in television.
Smaller churches have fewer opportunities to develop large productions of praise and worship, but each worship service should continue to be the greatest experience of the presence of God that can be presented. Every church member, from the smallest congregation of two or three families, to the football stadium size churches, should have just as great of fellowship and communion with God, because it is a time of Praise and Worship. The intensity should not be less because there is fewer people. Intimacy with the Lord God is no less important because all praise and worship starts as an individual thing and grows as each person in the congregation enters in. The Holy Spirit moves with power and the presence of God fills the space where praise is being conducted. Then true worship becomes an experience of sweet fellowship in the Spirit.
This is where every worship team should carry their congregation. It is more than just putting a person in front of the group to lead in a few songs. This is fellowship with the Lord God, as we invite Him to make his presence know. Then we enter into a true time of worship with Him. At this moment, God uses the spiritual tools and gifts he has placed within us, and all the needs of the congregation are met according to the will of God.
This is having Praise and Worship in the local church today.