3 Worship Lessons from a Marching Band


A simple Sports Illustrated mention aroused curiosity. A search of YouTube found the video in question.

I watched.

I laughed (and, if you watch, you’ll know exactly where).

I thought about how this relates to Christian community.

1) Practice makes the planned seem spontaneous. In the video, the band breaks out into spontaneous dance. What appears serendipitous though took hours of behind-the-scenes, out-of-the-public-eye practice.

Consistent, healthy worship happens best when a worship team spends the time in preparation for corporate worship. Enough practice allows greater latitude during worship. Spontaneity takes time together because it involves both skill, an oft-practiced art, and trust, knowing one another well enough to let go.

But not all of us are worship leaders. How do we practice? Through daily workouts like prayer, devotional readings, and anything that opens our hearts to God’s presence. For me, this includes walking the dog and observing God’s creation around me. Whatever connects you to the eternal during the week prepares you for corporate worship on the weekend.

2) Enough practice allows room for individual creativity. Obviously, the band leader didn’t choreograph every move among the band members. The musicians bounced in different directions and created their own dance moves. Although what they did had guidelines, it also allowed room for specific personalities to emerge—from lively to more reserved (but not that much more reserved).

True worship engages the heart. And the heart can be quite creative. True worship also allows for individuals to respond in different ways—from raised hands and shouted hallelujahs to bowed heads and silent prayers.

3) All this happens within community. For the Bobcat band to pull off what they did at halftime, members had to spend time together. I imagine not all band activities took place in the band hall or on the football field. Meals together, late-night conversations, library study halls, all helped to build community. The band director organized some activities but others happened as band members developed organic relationships, ones that flowed out of a natural connection to a common interest.

Boy, does that describe the church or what—people with a natural connection to a common interest? We love the Lord Jesus Christ, our common interest. That love connects us one to another just like the love of flying connects pilots or the love of dogs connects pet owners.

Due to daily preparation and community building, may you find the Spirit moving you in a new way as you worship.

Question: What are the natural connections you have with others in the faith?

About tnealtarver

I've traveled and spoken around the world but always love to come home. There I eat exceptional meals, drink coffee to my heart's content, and get loved like nowhere else on earth. I believe a community centered in Christ should be all that and so much more.
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