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.

About The Author

Daniel Threlfall has been writing church ministry articles for more than 10 years. With his background and training (M.A., M.Div.), Daniel is passionate about inspiring pastors and volunteers in their service to the King. Daniel is devoted to his family, nerdy about SEO, and drinks coffee with no cream or sugar. Learn more about Daniel at his blog and twitter.

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