Hopefully there were a few questions raised, or maybe even a few thoughts that you have had yourself at one point and the first installment helped you by way of a reminder. Hopefully it has helped you a little, pointed you more towards Christ. I continue to encourage you: take these things to Him, let Him show you.
So, without further interruption: here we go with Part 2!.
As I mentioned in Part 1, I came across two things as I was putting my thoughts down in this blog regarding worship that I thought interesting enough to share. The first was a quote by A.W. Tozer, the second thing which I saved for Part 2 is a link to an article from Regina Beardsley. I placed the link in here so you can read it yourself and understand that I am not coming from a position of attack against what she says. Her viewpoint comes from that of a worship leader and musician, someone who is actually on a worship team and her voice brings value to this conversation. I think that because she is part of the worship team she has some good points regarding the concert-like trend of worship these days, the lack of real doctrinal/Scriptural substance and Truth in the worship songs. She also helps illustrates the church view of worship, or for lack of a better phrase: the view of how the system looks at worship, or at least part of it. This helps to further pose questions for all of us to think about. Regina, if you ever read this post, thank you for your voice in this conversation.
Interestingly enough, before publishing this second installment, I came across this article in my WordPress Reader by Kevin Daniel. Please go read it as well. I don’t have this type of perfect timing, and in a short amount of space he articulates things very well from his viewpoint as a former worship leader. He does a good job hitting on the points of having a “God-cert” concert. It is another valued piece added to the conversation. Whether you read this post or not, thank you, Kevin, for your voice.
In the quote below, from Regina, the emphasis by underlining is mine.
“What is the point of a church worship service? Everyone involved in a service in any way should know what their goal is. The way I see it, my goal as a musician involved in the service is to facilitate and contribute to worship of our Lord Jesus Christ. The music department is most successful when its contribution leads the congregation into a place of worship where the music is no longer necessary and the focus is totally on the Lord. If I do my job well, the congregation will hardly notice I’m there, and at the end of the process I will no longer be needed. I am not THE worship service; I am simply an usher arranging a meeting between the people in the congregation and God.”
I would not be so foolish as to question her heart for wanting to ‘lead’ or ‘usher’ people into worshipping with God. I have to say, that I whole-heartedly agree with her attitude when she said: “at the end of the process I will no longer be needed.” Indeed, we should grow in our walk, understanding, etc where being led into worship is no longer needed. My questions then, revolve around what I have previously underlined.
Must there be a goal for a service? Doesn’t that sound a bit…corporate?
Why must a congregation, or why does a congregation need to be ‘led’ into a ‘place of worship’ by men & women?
Isn’t it by the Spirit that we are to be led, even into the way, shape or form of worship?
When did man take over arranging the meeting between God and His Children? I thought Christ fixed that issue…
Why would either side need to be ‘ushered’ into this meeting?
Again, shouldn’t we leave this up to God and let Him lead?
These questions aren’t being raised because I know all the answers, far from it. These questions are from my own journey as well as questions that have been posed to me in some form or another over the last couple years. Hopefully that is evident by now.
To quickly quote Kevin Daniel, he does a good job summarizing who a worship service is for:
“Singing in church, I believe, is just an act of unison between believers, an act of commodore.
Singing brings us together. It builds bridges. It reminds us of the hope we stake our claim in. It blurs out the differences and clarifies the similarities. It’s for us!
Why have we labeled it worship?”
Back to the premium which we briefly discussed in Part 1 that is placed on worship services these days. Listen to how people advertise or even talk about any particular worship service they have been to recently or are going to in the near future or even how they talk about its function. The talk revolving around and about worship is done in a way that it is basically advertising that service or event. It also infers that by coming to their particular worship service, you will have an encounter with God that you might not have anywhere or ever. Apparently the worship is so anointed, or the worship team understands so well how to usher the people into the Presence of God or usher in His Presence that God has no choice but to show up there. The deeper message then, is that if you don’t go to that particular service you will somehow miss your divine appointment with God. As if God gets lost or can’t keep His own appointments and will just randomly show up at the wrong church! As if God can only work within the small thirty minute worship schedule we have blocked him into. It’s similar to advertising a rock band on tour that is coming to town and on the tour is none other than the one and only Jesus Christ Himself.
In the worship service we (corporate “we” JIC you’re curious)are reminded:
God inhabits the praises of His People.
Enter into his gates with Thanksgiving and his courts with Praise.
During the worship service we pray:
God, we just invite you here this day, we make room for your Presence today.
God, as we usher in Your Presence today…
Think on it for a moment before moving on.
It might be good to remind you here that I’ve done all these things. I used to be a worship junkie! I got to a point where I worshipped worship, I was ravenously hyped up about worship.
What has changed?
What has the Cross changed regarding worship? Has anything changed?
Did the New Covenant change anything regarding worship?
Aren’t these attitudes towards worshipping, like ushering in, entering in, entertaining His Presence, and things of that nature just a bit Old Covenant?
To take that a step further, doesn’t it sound a bit similar to pagan worship where there are countless things to DO in order to get the attention/favor of the gods?
Think about it. God no longer inhabits the praises of His People. God now LIVES IN His Children!
Think about it. We no longer enter in to the gates of the Temple or its courts with any required actions. We are the temple! God has entered us!
Think about it. We do not need to invite God anywhere. I do understand the heart behind such a thing, I used to do this too. Just know that He is already there with you. Acknowledge Him if you wish. Even David knew this. Didn’t he ask the rhetorical question “where can I go that I can escape your Presence?” Meaning, there is no place that he could go where God wasn’t already there!
Yes, I am familiar with the Scripture that says “where two or three are gathered in my name…”, but couldn’t you look at it to mean that we should recognize that Christ is in each of us and therefore the Spirit can work through each of us to the benefit of the other?
Ok, for the sake of your sanity and eye strain I have actually created a third post, which will be shared in a couple days and we’ll finish up these thoughts on worship together. Honestly, I can’t believe that I’m making a third post on this. However, understanding that I can get long winded…I see how I did it. Crazy.
Again, I hope this is beneficial to the conversation going on regarding worship.