david j. pedde

In the Audience vs. Having an Audience

Recently I received a notice announcing something like this: “This is your invitation to be a part of the live audience for our new worship recording.” 

Now I’m sure that the worship leaders and the promoters of the project had great intentions. They are involved in worship ministry, after all, because they want to connect people with their Creator. They use their gifts in order to give expressions of praise and worship to God and to facilitate these expressions for others. I am wondering, however, about their choice of words. (Keep reading) 

Several years ago, my son and I stood in line for what seemed like days hoping for our chance to be a part of the live audience for Late Night with David Letterman in New York City. We were so excited to be selected out of a crowd (my son was on crutches with a broken leg so they must have taken pity on us) and then ushered to our second row seats. What a fun and memorable experience! Before the show, the producer gave instructions on audience expectations and behavior. We were all more than happy to comply realizing this to be at least a minor chance of a lifetime. Once the show began, there was great music, incredibly entertaining segments, a witty monologue and thoughtful interviews. And, as expected, David Letterman was the unequivocal star of the show. Super fun! 

Everyone’s roles were clearly defined that day. They were the performers, skillfully and creatively doing their thing for world-wide viewers. We were the live audience, grateful to be there to watch.

(A few thoughts, in case it is tough to read between the lines, straight ahead)

There is a difference between being in the audience and having an audience.

To be in an audience is to be a member of a group of spectators, listeners, onlookers, patrons…a crowd, throng, congregation, house or gallery. Observation is paramount.

To have an audience is be given a meeting, consultation, conference, hearing, reception, interview or meet-and-greet with someone (usually of high importance). Personal participation is paramount.

To worship in spirit and truth (the kind we are going for!) is to have an audience with God. 

The job of the worship leader, then, is use every gift at their disposal to facilitate this meeting. It is “Come, let us worship together” not “Come and watch me do my thing.”

Worship leader: You may have already dismissed what I’ve written in the last 400+ words as nit picky, generationally judgmental talk of an older guy. Although, if you’re still reading, then perhaps I’ve got you thinking.

I’m simply hoping to encourage you in the holy mandate of humbly inviting others to an audience with God



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