May 20, 2010

It’s Not a Rock Concert. It’s a Worship Service

Introducing the topic of “worship music” in a group of Christians is kind of like lighting a match in a propane plant. Things can get hot and damaging real fast. The article you’re about to read (if you choose to) isn’t a one-sided rant on the issue. It’s not an attempt to tell you how to worship. It’s a suggestion for how not to worship. But first…for some (satirical) comic relief, here’s a video to watch…

“Sunday’s Coming” Movie Trailer from North Point Media on Vimeo.

Whether you’ve felt like you just got your toes stepped on, or whether you’re pondering the profound satire isn’t the point of this post. The point is this. Does the “worship” in our services more of a rock concert than a worship service? The reason why I bring the question up is not to launch the debate over music styles. Instead, the question is meant to help identify the focus of your worship. Calling something “worship” does not make it true worship. Instead, it may actually blind us to the facade of Christian words which hides a despicable self-worship.

Let’s say that we accept as our definition of “worship” the following:  Pure adoration of God, in which the worshipper is taken up with the glory of what the Lord is. (from Under that definition, it is helpful to compare standard worship fare with the biblical ideal, which the definition describes.

Does our worship adore God or display the skills of the performers?

Does our worship focus upon truth and spirit?

Does our worship attempt to manipulate people or does it simply display the glories of God?

Is our worship focused upon externals or upon the heart of the matter?

Does our worship, however deceptively, aim to please people or to please God?

Does our worship conform to biblical passages and principles?

Does the manner of our worship match its motivation–the character of God?

Does our worship invite our participation or our entertainment?

Does our worship reflect who we think God is, or who we know God to be from His Word?

Does our worship attempt to achieve relevance with worldly culture (albeit not sinful), or to forge a Bible-centered worship style?

After asking those questions, it should become apparent that traditional and contemporary services alike run the risk of being at best non-worship, and at worst idolatrous affairs. Bob Kauflin’s perceptive comment rings true: “The video appropriately makes fun of those idols, but where they exist in our churches and our hearts, it’s anything but funny.” Admittedly, this is a confrontational set of questions. They are not intended to bash anyone. They are intended not to create hangdog feelings. They are intended to glorify God by wiping away cheap worship in order to exalt Him better.

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4 comments

  • Hein · May 20, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Love the video. I agree that our focus in worship should always be on the Lord. I think that in the modern day church we run the risk of changing our styles to become more relevant in order to attract a younger generation thereby compromising our standards. You don’t change worship and church to fit in with the world, the world changes to fit in with a pure and holy God.

    No matter if you have a professional music team, or just someone playing acoustically on a guitar, it should all be done in holiness, purity and with absolute focus and adoration towards God. Just like we will know believers by their fruit, so we can also judge true worship by its fruits. Ask yourself this, “If contemporary worship was taken away and we were only to sing without accompaniment, how many would still come to church?”

    Does praising the Lord depend on emotion, hype, energy or a true mediation on the Word with a focus on God?

    I believe the latter.

  • Tim · May 26, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    I saw this video about a week ago, a friend send me an email with it attached. its a very funny! yet at the same time. sad video. cause this is how it is sometimes for churches.

  • Tracy · May 28, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    This video caused me to reflect on the way that I personally worship. I pray that I can do a better job in my personal walk with Christ. Thank you for the video. It was truly thought provoking, I pray that everyone who watches it will allow it to speak to them.

  • Charmae · May 30, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    I enjoyed your video. It’s true to form. Now you need to make one on how to worship God. Many of us don’t really know how. Psalms 100 says to make a joyful noise unto the Lord. Is this just praise and not worship? I truly liked the part when the singer said “You don’t know the words to this song”. Music is a powerful tool. This is what brings people to God sometimes. A person will hear a particular song they know and it will touch their heart.

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