Leadership In Biblical Worship

Source: The Complete Library of Christian Worship, Robert E. Webber, General Editor

Biblical worship is both an individual and a corporate offering of praise to the Lord; it is both spontaneous and organized. It is a declaration of God's greatness and a celebration of the covenant relationship between God and his people. It is an act of obedience to the Deity who has ordained certain ways by which his sovereignty is to be acknowledged. In order for worship to be organized as a corporate expression, there must be leadership-leadership that is acknowledged by and...

Family Heads as Worship Leaders In the Old Testament

The patriarchs of Israel and the leaders or elders of the Israelite tribes are portrayed often in Scripture as taking the lead in their family or community worship of the Lord.

Prophetic Leadership In Old Testament Worship

A careful survey of scriptural evidence discloses that the worship of the Lord is most significantly influenced, and often expressly led, by persons functioning in a prophetic role (as opposed to a priestly role). Prophets served as mediators of the covenant; they were closely associated with the sanctuary and vitally concerned with the integrity of worship; they functioned as directors and musicians.

The Priest as Worship Leader In the Old Testament

In the directives of Moses, priests were specially commissioned for the role of representing the people before the Lord and thus occupied a central position in the worship life of the covenant people.

The Role of the King In Old Testament Worship

Despite the predominant function of the king as a military leader, the Bible records many occasions when the kings of Israel and Judah fulfilled a significant role in the leadership of the nation's worship.

Worship Leadership In the New Testament

The emergent New Testament church did not have the same clearly defined offices of leadership as did the worship of Israel. However, the functions of family head, prophet, priest, and king are summed up in Christ, who through the Spirit leads the church, the community of the new covenant, in its worship of almighty God.

Bishops, Elders, and Deacons

In the formative years of the church its ministry exhibited amazing variety and adaptability. Emerging at Pentecost as a Jewish sect, the church naturally modeled its ministry in part on patterns borrowed from the synagogue. But the Spirit of Christ also fashioned new functions and channels of ministry through which the grace of God might be communicated. The principal "orders" of ministry that arose were those of the elder (bishop) and the deacon.

Women In Worship Leadership In Biblical Times

Women appear at critical times in the life of their worship communities. Acting as prayer leaders, prophetesses, sages, or apostles, they perform deeds that embody the spirit and life of their community. To read their stories is to discover how this people experienced God and lived in fidelity to that relationship. Their communities remembered them and retold their stories, giving them honored place in the community's oral and written memory. Their leadership continues to be handed on to renew life and spirit in communities faithful to their tradition. The importance of women in the worship life of biblical times may be seen in the stories of Miriam, Huldah, and the woman who anointed Jesus, as well as in the biblical personification of wisdom as a woman.