Photo courtesy of Texas Wedding Photographer, Matthew T Rader
The warnings against idolatry – putting anything above GOD – are hard to miss in scripture. Yet I believe it’s easy to do just that even as we purport to be in the act of worshipping. There’s a fine line between appreciating an element of worship and making it our focus. Here are a few things to be aware of so we don’t displace GOD in our corporate worship service.
DON'T WORSHIP THE MUSIC
What song rocks your world? Maybe in the 80s you marveled as Sandi Patty sang “We Shall Behold Him”. In the 90s “I Can Only Imagine” enhanced your view of Heaven and comforted you in the loss of a loved one. Even this week I barely made it through “Ten Thousand Reasons” without choking up.
I love my cordless drill. It makes jobs around the house quicker and easier. It reminds me of all the jobs I’ve done through the years that made my house more stable and attractive. But in the end, it’s simply a tool.
Songs, beautifully crafted works of art, should be enjoyed. Absolutely. But when they’re used as tools to worship God, the object of our attention and our appreciation should be on Him.
DON'T WORSHIP THE EXPERIENCE
“I was so blessed by our worship today!” We’ve all said it. And we should be blessed by it. How can you encounter GOD and not feel it?
But what if you don’t feel it? Does that mean you didn’t worship? Some folks would say yes. I would remind us that worship is an act of the WILL, not an act of the FEEL. And we’re not doing it to make ourselves feel good; we’re doing it to make GOD feel good.
DON'T WORSHIP THE WORSHIP LEADER
So you believe your worship would be more effective if you were led by Chris Tomlin every week instead of Brother Music Minister. Or maybe it’s the opposite. You just can’t worship when your guy or gal is on vacation and someone else is filling in.
Your worship leader would tell you that he or she loves the support and encouragement. But I guarantee they would agree with this: GOD must be the target of your attention and affection.
DON'T WORSHIP YOUR OPINION ABOUT THE WORSHIP LEADER/MUSIC
This is actually the opposite of the previous point, and other worship leaders and musicians are especially vulnerable to this. As the worship music begins most of the congregation focuses on GOD and begins to sing His praise. But you turn into a “worship critic”.
He seems pretty young to be doing this.
The drummer missed that fill.
I would’ve cut that intro in half.
She needs to engage the congregation more.
You’re probably pretty smart, but if it’s not your duck pond, don’t be taking any shots. It’s not a rehearsal, it’s a worship service.
DON'T WORSHIP BEING THE WORSHIP LEADER
Some of you are, in fact, responsible for leading the worship at your church. Here’s your slap in the back of the head. You know this, remember?
But in case you haven’t gotten it, here you go: IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU!
The heady rush of recognition can pollute the most dedicated soul. Here's a more extensive statement about the danger of the bite of fame for worship leaders in one of my other blogs - WORSHIP LEADER:Servant or Star?
DON'T WORSHIP THE WAY YOU DO IT
One of Scott Williams (www.churchleaders.com) signs of ministry arrogance is that you think your worship style is the only way someone could possibly connect with GOD. Whether you use predominantly hymns, modern worship, Southern or Black gospel, or masses and requiems, the most important thing is the heart offering you are making to GOD. It’s not the OFFER-ING that is most important, but rather the heart of the OFFER-ER (see Cain and Abel).
DO YOU HAVE SOME “DON’T”S TO SHARE (in the spirit of kindness of course)?