Home Group Worship Seminar
23 February, 1991
Even though we’ll focus a lot on leading worship—everyone on the team needs to hear what is being shared today.
Home Group Elder
Home Group Leader
Home Group Worship Leader
Home Group Musicians
The Home Group Worship Leader may know a lot more about worship than the Home Group Leader—but submission to, and support of the Home Group Leader is still required and necessary; even in the area of worship.
See “Symposium’84,” page 159.
Speaker: Christopher [15 minutes]
It is not our intent to present a comprehensive definition of praise and worship, in this section. LaMar Boschman takes over an hour to develop this topic, and we’ve only a few minutes. If anyone is not familiar with LaMar’s teaching on praise and worship we strongly recommend that you borrow LaMar’s tapes from the New Wine Tape Library. That said, it is our intent to quickly review the fundamentals of praise and worship, and then to highlight a couple of areas we believe are very important.
Let’s begin by stating that worship and praise are different; but not unrelated. Many thousand of words have gone into expressing the differences, but we will limit ourselves to looking at two verses of scripture. Psalm 100:4a tells us to, “Enter His gates with singing and his courts with praise.” Then, in Revelation 4:10–11, John writes that the 24 Elders worshipped before the throne. I believe that entering His courts with praise is a very different thing compared to worshipping before the throne.
Scripture is very clear when describing how God wants us to praise Him! Acts of praise consist of: singing, shouting, clapping hands, lifting hands, dancing, standing, etc. Scripture also gives us examples of these acts of praise: David dancing before the ark, Miriam playing the tambourine, and the army of Israel lifting up a shout at Jericho, to list a few.
As well, the Bible doesn’t tell us to praise when we feel like it. God does not intend our praise to be based upon how we’re feeling: our praise shouldn’t be an expression of emotionalism. At the same time, God doesn’t mind when we put a little emotion into our praise!
We are all familiar with God’s direction for praise, but I don’t believe that we are as familiar with God’s instruction on how to worship Him. Let’s look at some of the Greek and Hebrew words translated as worship. A few examples are:
- segad (h)
- To bow down, do obeisance.
- abad (h)
- To do, serve.
- shachah (h)
- To bow self down. (Most of the Hebrew references to worship are this word.)
- doxa (g)
- Glory, esteem.
- proskun (g)
- To kiss (the hand) toward. (Most of the Greek references to worship are this word.)
- sebomai (g)
- To venerate, reckon venerable.
- therapeuo (g)
- To serve, cure, heal.
As we can see, worship’s emphasis is upon humbling oneself before God, in veneration, and in service. The word obeisance is an interesting one, it comes from a French word which means obey, and its definition (according to “Webster’s New World Dictionary”) is:
Worship is an attitude of the heart more than it is an outward show. As a side note, this knowledge that God desires within us a certain attitude should help us in our understanding of trials.
When King David was a boy, he spent many months alone in the hills tending the family’s flocks of sheep. This time alone shaped him; it moulded his heart into a shape which pleased God. David was ever in awe and wonder of God, seeking to obey Him in every thought and deed. However, David had a choice: he could have allowed the lonely days and nights to build resentment and bitterness into his heart.
The trials which come our way shape us. As they do, we can choose to come into greater reverence and awe of our Father God, or we can become hurt and bitter. The choice is ours, however, “Blessed are those who learn to acclaim You.” (Psalm 89:15)
So, worship is a life style! Romans 12:1–2 says,
“1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (NIV)
In doing what is holy and pleasing to God, we are worshipping Him! This applies to every moment of our lives. Although anyone or anything can praise God (Psalm 148:3–13), God seeks people who will worship Him in Spirit and truth (John 4:23–24). He has given us the will to choose to worship Him. Even when we are saved He doesn’t impart into us a never fail attitude of worship; instead this attitude develops in us as part of sanctification.
To state this idea another way. Praise is an act of our will. We offer a sacrifice of praise, no matter how we feel, because God commands it. But, worship is a response to God. He demands that we have no other gods in our life, but the act of worship is left as a response. I believe that we cannot truly worship God unless we first know Him. I think that is part of what Jesus in saying in John 4:22–24.
22You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. 24God is Spirit, and His worshippers must worship in Spirit and in truth.” (NIV)
Just what does all this have to do with us today? Well, one of the primary criteria for leading worship is that you, yourself, be a worshipper. For unless you are a worshipper, worshipping in Spirit and truth, you will not be able to lead others in worship. Worship is a response. Worship is lead by the Holy Spirit. It cannot be a mechanical action, or your worship will be rejected by God.
“13The Lord says, ‘These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.’” Isaiah 29:13 (NIV)
But, we shouldn’t worry about God rejecting our worship; for we can learn to be worshippers, and we can always become better worshippers. As Psalm 89 tells us, we can learn to acclaim God: We can learn to worship.
Implied in the statement, “Worship is a life style,” is the is the answer to the question, “Where and when should we worship?”. If worship is to be our life style then where is everywhere, and when is always. If we allow Him, God will develop in us a desire to respond to every and any situation with a reverent and humble heart. From our lips will come praise for God, instead of complaints about our situation.
Judah, means praise. Knowing this, I wonder if it should be any surprise to us that the tribe of Judah (the tribe of praise) accepted David as King seven and a half years before the rest of Israel (2 Sam. 5:5)! Is it any wonder that as we look back upon moves of God, many of them have been accompanied by an outpouring of praise: Luther, Wesley, and the Charismatic Renewal being to examples. Those who have allowed God to grow in them a heart of flesh are the first to move with His Spirit.
In conclusion, let’s summarize What Is Praise And Worship by stating three general definitions:
- Thanks God for what He has done for me.
- Praises the God who did those things for me.
- Worship Him for who He is, not for what He has done, nor because He has done things for us.
Speaker: Christopher [15 minutes]
Praise and worship are more than just pretty songs and dance. Praise accomplishes things on at least three levels: horizontal, vertical, and inward.
- Praise serves to bind and unify us as a congregation. Additionally, many of the songs we sing at the start of a service are sung as much to one another, as to ourselves, or God; we stir one another up and unite ourselves in thought and purpose before the Lord.
- In this area, praise serves to make it easier for us to express to God our appreciation of Him. As He takes us from one situation to another, always showering us with His love and grace, our feelings for Him build up and need to be expressed to Him. God gathers us to Himself, so that we can know Him as I am, face to face. Praise is a vehicle into His presence, where we can worship Him, face to face.
- Thanksgiving and praise work in us and help us to take every thought captive, and bring our minds into submission to the Lord (2 Cor. 10:5). When we arrive at the service and begin to praise, we are always at least a little carnal. We need to focus ourselves, and allow the praise to plough up the fallow ground in our hearts (Hosea 10:11–12), that God’s word might take root there.
What praise accomplishes is closely tied to God’s protocol for entering into His presence; and we will consider this in the next section.
Praise and worship are more than just the preliminary part of the service or meeting. We don’t have some singing just to settle the crowd! The time we spend in praise and worship of God prepares us to receive His word. Both His word as taught to us by a teacher, and His word spoken to our hearts by the Holy Spirit.
At the start of a service there is typically not a lot of prophecy, etc. coming forth. This is not because God is unwilling to speak, but that we’re not ready/prepared to listen. Once we’ve brought ourselves into submission before God, as a body, we’re ready to bring forth the word He places in our hearts. Within the assembly there becomes an atmosphere conducive to the release of the gifts.
Without the praise and worship, nothing else in the service would be the same. Even if we don’t sense anything happening while we praise, it is still important to obey God, and offer our sacrifice of praise to Him. Our focus during this part of the service should be upon blessing God, not on getting blessed. God loves to pour His blessings upon us, and He will. But we need to seek His face and bless His Holy Name; without an expectation or motivation of personal blessing.
Remember, God doesn’t need us to praise and worship Him. But we need to praise and worship Him. God created us for His pleasure, and so it is only right that we worship Him. Something happens within us when we move into that place God created us for. Things start to change inside, and we become the people God has called us and created us to be. It is a blessing to worship God—even though that’s not to be our focus.
As worship team members, our responsibility is to provide the best possible environment for the congregation to praise God, and to enter His throne room and stand before His face. We strive to praise God, and to worship Him in a manner that encourages the congregation to follow us; that all of our hearts may be ploughed up and prepared; that all of our minds might be taken captive for the Lord Jesus. We want everyone to have the best opportunity to become all God would have them be.
Speaker: Christopher [15 minutes]
I’m going to do this section in two parts: first an exhortation regarding preparation and planning, and then a practical discussion on planning a worship leading session.
The Lord is a God of order. He acts in an orderly fashion, and asks that we do the same. Paul gives specific direction for orderly worship services in 1 Corinthians 14:26–39. Part of this order involves preparation and planning. However, charismatics are notorious for do everything by the Spirit; in other words, without any advance planning. Let’s look briefly at a little of God’s order for worship, and at King David’s planning for worship.
The book of Revelation shows us three distinct categories of worshippers:
“8…the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9And they sang a new song: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll…’” (NIV)
“3And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders…” (NIV) and Revelation 15:2–3. “2And I saw what looked like a sea of glass mixed with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and his image and over the number of his name. They held harps given them by God 3and sang the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the lamb:…” (NIV)
“11Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12In a loud voice they sang: ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain…’” (NIV)
John noticed distinct groupings of those who worship before the throne. In a similar way, we put all the musicians together in a group, we don’t scatter them throughout the congregation. In many churches the elders sit together during the worship service. We prepare for worship in the groups too. Sure, we have reasons for making these groups—they make things more orderly—but the point is that even in heaven God has put people together in groups, for the purpose of worship.
The story of King David moving the Ark of the Covenant from Abinadab’s house to the City of David is a familiar one: David’s dancing before the Ark is especially memorable to us. There is, however, a lesson for us there.
As you’ll recall, David failed in his first attempt to retrieve the ark (I Chronicles 13). Specifically he failed to do three things:
The result of David’s ignorance was disaster, and a delay in the moving of the Ark.
Later David properly prepared for moving the Ark, and everything went well. Specifically David did three things:
With all that said, hopefully we are all better grounded in God’s desire for planning and preparation. To quote David, “We did not inquire of Him about how to do it in the prescribed way.” (I Chronicles 17:13b). We need to inquire of God! Please note that I am not teaching against spontaneity, or against moving with the flow of the Spirit!
I’m sure many of us have been part of groups where no preparation was done: no prepared teachings, no prepared worship. I believe that the people involved in those groups are sincerely seeking God, and His will; and I believe God honours their efforts. Yet, I also believe that Christians who don’t prepare miss out on some of the blessing God has for them.
Preparing ahead of time gives God the opportunity to doubly anoint our efforts:
This applies to all members of the worship team. Everyone, from the sound technician to the worship leader can seek God’s anointing upon their study and practice, as well as during the formal worship time.
This preparation does not place us in bondage. Worshipping in Spirit and truth means that God can and will speak to us as worship progresses; and He may direct us in a different way than He did as we prepared; but very often He does not.
Preparation, when done in prayer, seeking a revelation from God about what to do, offers a way of safety when we lack direction, have too much direction or are just plain confused about which way to go next. We always have that earlier Word from God to use as a reference point.
Leading the congregation in worship is like taking a group of people on a journey up the mountain. Journey’s have final destinations—and so should our worship. That destination may be high praise, or intense worship before the throne, or even just spending time in praise and celebration together as a body. It helps to have an idea of where you’re headed.
It is difficult to lead a group if we try to navigate while reading the map for the first time. It’s far easier if we’ve first become familiar with the map, and the terrain, before we set out.
This familiarization involves:
These things are all part of our planning and preparation for leading praise and worship, and they apply to all members of the worship team!
God has a protocol for coming before Him. We find some of that protocol in the Psalms:
We are not going to take time to explore the many passages of Scripture which deal with praise and worship. Rather I’d like to draw our attention to one important point the above verses show us.
I believe that a key point in God’s protocol is, we go to Him: God does not come to us so that we can worship Him. We enter into His presence, into His courts, and come before His throne. Look again at the two verses from the Psalms we read: we go to Him.
Generally, praise and worship begins with fast songs, and moves to slower ones. It begins with expressions of praise and thanksgiving, of exhortation and celebration. Once praise has properly ploughed our hearts and we’ve submitted our minds to Christ, God sends His manifest presence among us. We begin to respond to His presence and His Spirit and to worship Him for who He is. He ushers us into His presence.
I plan for a worship service by first praying and seeking the Lord. Often I’ll have a time of worship, with my instrument. I’m seeking a starting point, and direction, from God: has God been doing something specific over the period of a few weeks? Do I have a specific word or scripture? Is there a song that I’ve been unable to shake? I use these kinds of indicators in choosing a beginning point.
After having sought the Lord, I look through the song book. I look for songs which jump out at me; which seem to have God’s anointing on them. I’m not yet concerned with the key or tempo of the music I’m selecting. I pay special attention to the songs which go along with what I believe God is saying.
Once I’ve pulled some music I start to put things together. Often by this point I have a beginning and ending I’d like to use. I start with the first song and add additional songs by looking at theme, key, and tempo of what I have pulled. If there isn’t anything appropriate in the selection I have out, then I go through the book again.
At this point I begin to take an almost overwhelming number of factors into consideration. Let’s briefly examine the following list of concerns (this list is by no means exhaustive):
It is a good practice to ensure that most of the music you choose is reasonably well known by the group you’re leading in worship. We do want to regularly introduce new music. But we also want to be careful when we use new music.
Generally it is best to start worship with a well know piece. It makes it easier for the people to enter in to praise when they begin from a familiar footing. It’s also good to use familiar songs when the people have entered into worship—it is much easier to worship when you know the song, and you can close your eyes and focus on the Lord; rather than focusing upon singing the song.
The best place to teach a new song is at the beginning: just before or after the first song. Be sure that you learn the song well before you attempt to teach it. It you have a lot of instruments playing along with you it will probably help to have most of them remain silent the first couple of times through the song. If it has life, then use the new song frequently until the people are comfortable with it.
Regularly learning new music helps to keep us from falling into a rut.
A songs can not be chosen solely for one of its musical merits. That is, don’t choose a song just because it’s the right tempo, or in the right key. Temp, key, rhythm (feel), and melody range are all musical factors to be reckoned with.
We can modify some of those factors each time we use a song. For example, a song need not always be sung in the same key. Here too we must be careful. Radically altering a song’s musical attributes can throw off the congregation.
Key changes can be used effectively in a couple of ways. Changing keys can be used to build the momentum or intensity of a song. Or we can use a key-changeable-song as a bridge between two songs which are in otherwise incompatible keys.
A big factor in making my selections is the length of time allotted to praise in the meeting or service. I allow at least five minutes per song. I have to allow for singing the songs, spontaneous worship, and manifestation of the gifts. If God is really moving and there are words and lots of spontaneous worship, then ten minutes per song is not an unreasonable amount of time to allow.
The easiest place to get fouled up when planning worship is the transitions between songs. If two songs are in radically different keys, then you may not be able to move between them as you would like. The best test of transitionability is simply to try it out. Tempo, key, and theme are all important when planning a transition.
Also, a transition which works well when you’re worshipping by yourself may not work well with a larger group. Experience will be your best guide to planning transitions.
Often a song will be anointed for a season. Week after week and meeting after meeting, the song is full of joy, life, and blessing. However, a short time later, that same song may fall flat on its face! There is often no obvious reason for the change. However, when God is moving through a particular song we need to recognize this fact and move with Him.
Ruts are those habits we fall into when we get comfortable and lazy. Every group of people has its own set of ruts which tempt it, and as worship leaders we must ensure that the groups within our charge do not succumb to ruts. We’ll deal more specifically with ruts in the next section.
Notice that I didn’t say, “planning the spontaneous.” When we make our plans we need to make room for the spontaneous things God will do. If we’ve planned for exactly two and a half minutes per song then we’re going to blow it the first time someone delivers a prophecy.
As I plan a worship, God often gives me a sense of where He’s going to move. I don’t play for Sister Ruthanne to prophecy here, and Brother Judah to pray there. Rather I allow time in my schedule for the spontaneous, and then while I’m leading I watch to see what God is doing…so I can move along with Him.
There is a lot to consider when planning worship. We can easily be overwhelmed by it all and spend hours and hours planning for a twenty minute praise session. Or we may react in an opposite manner and be so intimidated that we don’t do any preparation at all for a 2 hour city-wide worship meeting.
We need to find a balance. Preparing worship for a Sunday morning takes me about three hours. I count on spending a whole evening preparing. However, putting together twenty or thirty minutes of praise for home group shouldn’t be a whole evenings work. It might take us that long the first time we do it. But it’s probably still over-preparing.
It is the Holy Spirit who is the real Worship Leader. You might say we are simply acting as His agent. We can’t grunt up enough stuff to make the meeting happen. We must seek God, hear Him, and act in obedience.
Speaker: Christopher & Terry [15 minutes]
The worship leader’s chief duty, and by extension the worship team’s duty, is “to provide the best opportunity possible for the people to worship.”5 In order to provide that optimum environment for the congregation, we must be aware of what is going on around us during worship. We can’t simply lose ourselves in worship and bask before the throne. We don’t have that right. To some extent our focus must be on the people, as well as on God.
Providing the best environment possible for the congregation means that we, as worship leaders, can not totally abandon ourselves in worship. Sure, we can have our moments of abandon, but unlike the congregation, we must put our feet back on the ground with some regularity. Otherwise we won’t be able to properly lead the people.
If we look back at the Old Testament priests, we see that they spent quite a bit of time offering other people’s sacrifices to God (Lev. 3). We don’t need anyone to offer a sacrifice of praise on our behalf, but the worship team’s purpose is to facilitate the offering of that sacrifice of praise: Facilitate, not mediate.
As a worship leader, we serve to provide a point of focus for the worship time, and also to unite the musicians and congregation rhythmically. There is a lot of responsibility riding upon our shoulders, yet we shouldn’t be pulled down by it—we’re part of a Team!
As a team member, we shouldn’t be afraid to consult with the pastor, or other team members when discerning what the Spirit is saying. But, as the team leader we must be confident to lead out boldly in the direction God has shown us. Above all others, consult with the Holy Spirit.
Boldly, with confidence, but not as a cheerleader. In general, God is not asking us to whip His people into a frenzy of worship. Rather, as inconspicuously as possible we should set out to lead the people in praise. As they enter into the praise, the Holy Spirit will come lead you and them all into the throne room. Whether or not we/they enter, is up to the individual.
We should note here that it is the home group leader’s prerogative to take the reigns, and then hand them back. He may take the group in a direction you hadn’t planned. It’s his prerogative. God has placed him in leadership of the group. It’s important to remember that he’s not correcting you when he takes over for a time. We are there to support him, not be in competition with him.
Keep that list of songs you prepared close by. But don’t get stuck in it. If God starts to minister healing to people, and you’ve chosen nothing but ra-ra-praise songs then you had better get some other songs out quick. Also, don’t throw away the list once there’s been some deviation. I often come back to a list after we’ve done a song or two that wasn’t on my list.
If you keep your eyes open part of the time, and look over the congregation periodically, it will help keep you in touch with where the people are at and where God is moving. As well, look to the home group leader from time to time: making sure he can get your attention if he needs it. Keeping the eyes closed all the time is probably the most common mistake worship leaders make.
There is something which often happens that I want to be sure to mention. I find that because God is directing the show, everyone works together. As such, a sung prophecy may come for which negates the need to sing a song from my list. For example, if the next song on my list is “Come Holy Spirit’, but before I can lead it someone delivers a sung prophecy/prayer which expresses the same thing the song was going to, then I sometimes skip the song. Whether or not I skip the song is quite subjective and is based on whether or not I feel that the people have all made that singly expressed prayer their own.
Speaker: Christopher [10 minutes]
Everyone in leadership wants things to go smoothly. However, we all know that from time to time things go awry. Let’s look at some typical problems, and some possible solutions.
This is only a problem if you don’t know what God is trying to accomplish. If you are at a loss for direction, then don’t hesitate to admit it to your home group leader. I don’t recommend that you have an open discussion with the home group. Just consult quietly with the home group leader. If you’re both unsure, then wait upon the Lord. On more that one Sunday, you’ve heard Denny say, “Let’s wait on the Lord for a few minutes.”
This is a symptom of a problem. It is not usually the problem itself. Not entering in may be a symptom of:
Always strive to be flexible; roll with the punch, as it were. Your reaction may be to want to dump the rest of worship into the home group leader’s lap. Don’t do it. Seek the Lord and ask Him to bring your vision in line with the home group leaders. Don’t hesitate to ask the leader for further clarification on direction, if you’re unclear (private consultation).
Don’t let circumstances frazzle you. Just fix it and go on. Even if you can’t solve the problem, no matter what the problem, worship can always continue in one form or another. If your instrument breaks, go on without it. If you forgot your music at home, then use songs you know well; and only use your instrument if you feel confident to play without the music. If you start to lose your voice, get one of the strong voices in the group to stand beside you and let his/her voice be yours.
This is really just an indicator of the presence of the Holy Spirit moving on people. Consult with the home group leader.
Depending upon where you are in the worship time, you may want to stop and restart the song, hold your position and wait for them to catch up, or just keep on going.
This too will happen quite by accident from time to time. Just treat it like a missed transition. However, if one or more of the musicians deliberately rebelled, then you should talk with the home group leader and then the musicians after the meeting. At the moment it happens you’ll just have to make the best of it: you may have to follow them for a verse or two until you can change the direction again. Until you’ve spoken with them, believe the best of them—that it was an accident!
Within the home group, we always try to accommodate all the instruments people are willing to bring and play. But, if you do have more people than you can handle something will have to be worked out. Maybe the musicians can be broken into teams who play alternate weeks. Or if it is only specific songs which are giving you trouble, then for those songs have only specific instruments play. Work with the home group leader and musicians together.
In the absence of instruments, worship can still be joyful, anointed and alive. Choose songs that have a strong, regular beat and that are easy to sing. Be bold in singing out—even during the song of the Lord. If we as worship leaders are timid, then the people will probably be timid as well.
Sometimes worship goes longer that we expect. In that situation we’ll probably feel pressured to have another song ready, pronto. It’s quite alright to re-use a song that was anointed earlier during the worship time. Re-using a song can be an effective way to continue to worship while giving you a chance to gather yourself and decide what you need to do next.
Even when we’re properly prepared, and prayed up, things can happen on the way to the meeting that cause us to lose our composure. It is usually friction with other people that is the cause. A lot of tension can be avoided by allowing yourself extra time to get to the meeting. Then when you get caught in grid lock you can still be on-time.
Traveling to the meeting with someone else can also result in tension. Jean and I had a little trouble in this area until we agreed not to use the time traveling together to bring up issues.
Speaker: Christopher [10 minutes]
See attached document: “Worship Team Member Guidelines”.
Everyone involved in the production of the worship is part of the worship team. Sound technicians, banner bearers, musicians, everyone.
Christ tells us to lead by serving. We are on the platform to serve God’s people, not to serve ourselves. Service involves sacrifice and discipline.
Notice the order of gifting!! Worshipper, servant team member, musician/ technician.
We strongly recommend that anyone involved in worship read all of the books on the reading list. eg. Even sound technicians should endeavor to read the books on dance.
The cost of commitment is high!
Demo “Worship The King”, playing all the chords.
What we’re trying to accomplish is a simplification of the existing arrangement—not create a new arrangement. We want to make the song easier to play, without making it too bland. Just how simple it needs to be depends upon the expertise of the musician.
I look at four items when looking for chord elimination clues:
However, in the end I finalize my judgment with my ear.
This workshop is discussed from a guitarist’s perspective! I make no apologies for that fact.
In general, you don’t want to play a different chord on every beat of the bar. That is, you want to hold each chord for more that a single strum. For example the D/G chord in the first bar of the song has a 1/4 note duration. Plus the pianists left hand is playing the same notes for the G’s as for the D/G. Thus is it a good candidate for elimination.
On the second line of the second page. There are strange E2sus chords surrounded by regular Em chords. Thus the funny E chords are likely ones to eliminate.
On the third line of the second page. The D/C chord at the end of the line is held for half a bar: that’s two strums, or a half-note. It is probably a good idea to hang on to that chord.
The above kinds of techniques are what I use to simplify a song When I’m playing with other musicians, my simplification may no longer work. My simplifications may clash with what is actually written. The burden is then on me to alter my simplification; assuming the other musicians are playing what is written.