CCM School of Leadership – Worshipping In Spirit (with Simon Brading)

The CCM School of Leadership was created by Christ Church Manchester to train and equip those with a leadership gift to lead well wherever they are. We we were recently joined by Simon Brading from Emmanuel Church in Brighton and Newday, who taught on what it is to worship in spirit.


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Worship in Spirit and in Truth

  • You learn that worship leaders are often looking for the latest tips and tricks to enhance the worship 'experience'. Worship experience has been a phrase that has come up quite a lot in the last 10 years. Looking for the new song or production that enhances the worship experience.
  • John 4 is quite clear when answering this question of worship when it says worship in the Spirit and in truth. If you want electrifying worship the two power cables are the Spirit and truth.
  • There is an intrinsic connection between the Spirit and truth. The word of God and Spirit of God go hand in hand.
  • The Father is seeking true worshippers, it doesn't say just worship or converts or big churches, the Father is after individual worshippers.
  • The Old Testament was more about physical acts of worship, they didn't worship in the Spirit but in their flesh through sacrifices etc.
  • In the New Testament we therefore read how the veil was torn in the temple and His presence could dwell within us. We are able to connect with God beyond a fleshy activity.
  • There is now something spiritual going on because we are born of the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit Reveals God 

  • Paul prays in Ephesians that the eyes of our hearts would be opened. When the eyes of the heart are opened you see things in the spiritual realm, the Spirit is the One who opens the eyes of your heart.
  • The Spirit reveals things to us that we cannot do ourselves.
  • One of the primary roles of the Spirit is to continually reveal Christ to us. We get to see Jesus again and again and again.
  • When the Spirit shows us what God is like we cannot help but worship, our hearts come alive.

The Holy Spirit Manifests God

  • God is present everywhere, but the Spirit makes you aware that God's presence is manifest right there with you.
  • This is slightly subjective language – where you strongly feel the presence of God in worship but others hadn't felt God at all, or vice versa.
  • The Spirit is helping us know truly on the inside that we are sons and daughters of God.
  • We don't have to wait for the manifest presence of God, our mediator is Christ not worship, and therefore we can draw near in any moment.
  • But this is not just an individual experience but in a corporate sense we are built together as a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit. We are being built together so that the Spirit can dwell amongst us, we are the living stones.
  • We can look for the songs and bands to make the worship feel amazing, but actually what Christ is saying is that we need Him – He is amazing. 
  • Even in worship times when everything seems to be going wrong, we can still meet with God powerfully. It is a beautiful smack in the face that emotion cannot be confused with spiritual encounter.
  • Music can be very emotional, and our modern worship songs are written in a way to bring emotion, but we can't confuse singing something loud with emotion as a spiritual encounter. This isn't to say you can't have a spiritual encounter through those moments but they are not the same thing.
  • We are looking for the genuine presence of God.

The Holy Spirit Edifies Us

  • In our worship when we are glorifying God, He comes to us and edifies us.
  • Worship therefore isn't a one-way street – God doesn’t worship us, but in our worship to Him the Spirit loves to build us up.
  • One of the main reasons we have spiritual gifts is for our edification, not God's, God doesn’t need edification.
  • As a worship leader you can only go so far, you cannot do the revealing, only the Spirit reveals. The Spirit is the true worship leader, and this takes the pressure off of us.
  • Worship leaders can sometimes try and make people worship, only the Spirit can make people worship. What leaders do is shepherd, leading the congregation into the truth of who God is and the Spirit does the revealing, we can trust Him.
  • We shouldn't fear whether God won't come or not, that is the wrong language to use. If you are in Christ then God is here whether you feel Him or not.
  • We can use certain instruments or songs to feel the Spirit, and our language can assume that the presence of God leaves once the preach starts, but that isn't true.
  • The Holy Spirit is revealing God just as much through the preach as in the worship, as with communion. We should be just expectant for a spiritual encounter.