Once I had the privilege of leading worship for Mahesh Chavda at one of his healing crusades in Mobile, Alabama. Mahesh has a unique healing ministry and is very sensitive to the Holy Spirit. One evening he made a statement that was simple, yet profound: "Sometimes I see the Holy Spirit as a dove sitting on the platform next to me." Mahesh went on to say that any sudden movements or gestures would scare the dove away.
None of us want to quench the Holy Spirit during a worship service. There are decided steps we can take to avoid a flurry of feathers during the quiet times:
1.Wait. There is nothing wrong with waiting for a few moments. If the congregation knows that's your intent, you may even avoid ill-timed announcements to "keep things moving." A word to the congregation such as, "Let's just wait for a moment in God's presence and allow Him to minister to us," will help the congregation follow along.
In my early years as a worship leader, I was asked to lead worship during a tour of Canada. Should I go? I was fledgling. How would I know when the Holy Spirit was moving? I just wasn't sure I could hear His voice like other "men of God." But God spoke clearly to my heart: "Why are you toiling about My anointing? It is like a river that flows. Your job as a worship leader is to sit in the raft and go with the flow."" I was instantly released from my self-imposed pressures.
2.If nothing happens, move ahead with what is planned. Sometimes I find myself feeling on trial. The truth is, God is responsible for how fast or slow the stream's current flows. The temptation is to move into an area of "flash" - and promptly out of the Spirit. And despite the fact that Zechariah 4:6 tells us, " Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit," we still try sometimes to make things happen in our own power and strength.
As worship leaders, we must be prepared to exit the platform at the conclusion of a worship time, even if there was no "supernatural excitement."
3.Be courageous enough to follow His lead. It's one thing to have courage to wait for the Holy Spirit to give direction in a service. It's another thing entirely to be willing to obey! This may include something as simple as singing the last chorus one more time without music, or something as bold as asking people who need special prayer to come forward. (Please have the consent of your pastor before doing this.)
These things may terrify all of us at times, but as we become more familiar with the Holy Spirit's dove-like ways, we will become more sensitive worship leaders - and worshipers.
4.Be prepared to let the Holy Spirit lead each person at his/her own level. There is a great prophesy in Ezekiel 47:1-12 that illustrates the different levels of praise and worship. An angel showed Ezekiel a vision of water flowing from the altar of the temple. First, it trickled. Then it flowed until ankle deep, and eventually became a river. Many people have their toes dangling in the "waters" of praise and worship, very comfortable to sit on the water's edge. It is not our job as worship leaders to push them off the "deep end" before they are ready. Some just jump in and swim. For the less daring, however, it is a process: first the toes, then ankle deep, then eventually wading in and swimming. I believe that if we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us at our own level to a deeper experience in praise and worship, eventually our church will become like this river, bringing healing and life to everything it touches.
I'm convinced that in times of worship the Holy Spirit longs to heal the sick, deliver the oppressed and save the lost. Let's not be so locked into our order of worship that we miss the very thing we came to do: to sit in the presence of Almighty God.