Tuesday, June 12, 2018

ARROGANT CHRISTIANITY


Arrogance is ugly. No two ways about it. We all know people who drip arrogance.  Heck, we have all BEEN people who were (or are) arrogant.  Pride is part of the human condition.  We have a deep need to know more, to be more, than our peers.  

What about "Christian Arrogance?" Is there such a thing?

Yep.

We could make a list of other Christians we perceive as arrogant.  That list would perhaps include certain worship celebrities, or televangelists, or pastors of mega-churches, or similar people.  It might include Christian movements or organizations or causes.  

We can make those lists because Christian Arrogance DOES exist.  Things get muddy when we accept the fact that we, too, like "all those other people," are also arrogant.  

Let me offer just one example of Christian Arrogance that seems to have been in place since the first moments believers gathered together for worship.  It has to do with "planning" and "programming" what we call "the worship service."

I won't say "all" (because hyperbole never sits well with people) - but, "many" churches seem driven to create what they believe is the "best" or "correct" or "most accurate" or "most successful" worship service in their community.  The best lighting. The best sound. The best music. The best musicians. The best Sunday school. The best parking. The best signage. The best preacher. Etc.  They spend many hours in many meetings pouring over research and enjoying endless discussions of what they need to do in order to make their church THE church that ALL must attend.  The reasons for this vary. Some are honestly well-motivated - reaching more with the gospel, serving the community, loving the children of God.  And some are not so well-motivated - - we need more money to run the programs and pay the bills so we need more people in the pews.  

And after all that planning and programming, we sit back in shock and amazement that SOME of the people in our church didn't accept or like or adopt our new ideas. The audacity! Don't those pew-sitters realize that we actually prayed and spent time seeking God's wisdom to provide the BEST for them and the people in our community?

Arrogance.

The truth is - no matter how great our plans - no matter how "God-breathed" they might be - no matter how "correct" or "right" or "best" they might be - - not everyone in your church is going to love your ideas.  In fact, some will hate them and speak loudly about their angst with others in the congregation.

Arrogance.

Listen - closely - to - this...

Jesus - ONLY Jesus - showed THE best way.  Jesus lived THE right way.  Jesus modeled THE correct way.  There was no other plan BETTER than the one Jesus modeled, preached and lived.  He was THE ONLY right way to do it.  His was THE plan and it came directly from God.  It just doesn't get any "better" than that! 

And where did that lead him?

Nailed to a wooden cross. 

If Jesus was killed for offering THE absolute BEST ways to worship our God, what makes us think our amazing plans will bring about a better result?

Bring your plans and ideas to the table.  Always.  Just be ready to accept the reality that no matter how wonderful your ideas may be, they will be met with resistance by some.  That's just the way it is.

If at all possible, try to proceed with your ministry free of the arrogance that is so ready available. You will be better off. Really. 

Thursday, May 31, 2018

FOLLOW THE LEADER


Let me begin this post with a disclaimer: Not EVERY leader is always worth following and that is usually because of some major moral failure on their part - NOT because "I don't like him/her."

Here is something we church-attending believers should pay attention to - we, all of us in a church, are called - dare I say, commanded - to follow our leader(s) ie: pastor, elders, staff, etc.  Acts 2:42 makes that pretty clear... "They devoted themselves to the apostle's teaching..."  The early church was "devoted" to their leaders.

Wow.

When you read further, you find a beautiful blessing... "the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved."  That is to say, because the church attendees remained devoted to the leaders (and to prayer, fellowship, serving and loving each other, etc) - God brought more people into their fellowship.  Certainly this is not an automatic "magic" activity - but - there is something we should pay attention to here... God cares a lot about how we follow our spiritual leaders.

What does it mean to follow the leader in a church?

Assuming my opening disclaimer was read, let's just agree that the pastor of the church is the one called by God to lead your congregation. Period. Yes, he/she works with the ruling elder board and the church hires a staff to fulfill the wider calling of the church.  But, ultimately, the pastor is the leader of the church, working in the calling and power of the Holy Spirit.

Now - please follow my logic here, because things might get a little sticky...

I'd like to do some "reverse engineering" if I may...

A church member sits in the pew and decides they don't like a particular song in the morning worship set.  Later, over a cup of coffee and a muffin, they express their angst about the song with a fellow parishioner.  This happens far too often, but that's another post for another day.  That church member probably thinks they have simply expressed their angst regarding the director of worship.  But the truth is, they have actually disrespected God.  How so, you might ask?

The musicians serve the director of worship.  The director of worship serves the pastor.  The pastor is following God's call on the church.  There really is a chain of "spiritual command" in a church and when we slam those in leadership over us, we are ultimately slamming our God.

Sadly, this sort of nonsense occurs in church far too often and, in almost every case, it leads to a  church-wide undercurrent of angst, distrust and even division.

All because a church member was miffed about a song. Or the color of the carpet. Or the angle of the communion table. Or one slide that didn't pop up at exactly the right moment. Or... or... or...

If you know someone (see how nice I was there?) who tends to bring a critical spirit with them into the assembly, please lovingly remind them that when they slam a particular staff member, or elder, or leader, or pastor of the church they are, ultimately, slamming their Creator.

Let's choose to follow our leader(s) as they choose to follow our Lord.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

BETTER WORSHIP

"Good, Better, Best, never let it rest, 'till the good is better, and the better, best." - I don't know who made this famous, but it was recited often by my high school principal, Sam Harvey. 

Working towards "best" is something we all desire. Few of us set out to do a mediocre job, right? For we who serve as artisans in the church, this topic seems to pop up quite often, especially in an era where high quality Christian music is the expected norm.  Sadly, over the past few decades there has been a somewhat unspoken teaching that "better music" = "better worship." 

Let's talk about this hot-bed, shall we?

What is Worship?
First, let's agree on what worship is, and is not.  Worship is purely a response to God for all He is with everything we are.  We use all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, to respond to God's awe, power, and might.  We respond to his favor and grace; his mercy and love.  That can be accomplished with very few, if any, extras.  In other words, we do not need a guitar or piano or drum set or choir or light kit or sound system in order to adequately worship God. In fact, we can have all of those things operating at full-throttle, all the pistons firing perfectly - and never, once, actually worship God.  This is because worship is a HEART issue, not an ART issue. 

The worship of God is actuated when the children of God bring to him their hearts, their souls, their minds and their strength.  One person alone in the desert with only the clothes on their back can completely and adequately worship their Creator, God - and, He is completely pleased and blessed by that worship.

Aids to our Worship
The Bible offers many aids or tools we can use to help us in our worship of God.  They are not at all mandatory but God, because He loves us, and has created us to be creative and expressive, has helped man develop various means of worshiping Him.  The musical world is filled with examples such as a wide variety of musical instruments, voices and songs, as well as an array of gizmos, gadgets and equipment that have come into development through the centuries.  A piano is not worship.  An electric guitar is not worship.  A choir is not worship.  A modern Christian song is not worship. A hymn is not worship.  All of these are tools we use to help us and aid us in our worship of God.  

We bring these various elements together to help us express to God our glory, praise and worship of Him. That is all they are. Nothing more.  They are similar to hammers, screwdrivers and saws that one might use to help build a house.  Nobody, when viewing a new home, comments on the wonder of the hammer that helped nail the joists together.  In the church of today (and even of yesteryear in many cases) we have put far too much emphasis on the creation OF the worship - rather than on the Creator who is to BE worshiped. And, it has messed us up.  

What is Excellence?
Now, the Bible does mention the importance of worshiping God with excellence.  Though in many churches (and Christian conferences and music companies and concerts, etc.) we have taken this notion of excellence to the excess and moved it more towards the idea of "perfectionism."  Of course, being good Christians, we would never really come right out and SAY that we want things to be perfect because we know deep down that God accepts us "just as we are."  So, we beat around the bush and make wide sweeping statements about the importance of excellence inferring that God will be BETTER or MORE worshiped the more excellently we play or sing.  

Sorry to burst your bubbles, but that is simply not something the Bible ever commends at all.  And our rationalizing of the concept doesn't make it true.  The bottom line is this - if you want to play really well, go for it!  But God will not be more pleased by your effort.  The only thing that pleases God "more" is our honest, heartfelt level of love, adoration, glory, praise and worship of Him - no matter how "excellently" we perform. 

Worship Performing, er - uh - I mean Leading
So - we live in an age where music, in general, is at extreme levels of perfectionistic performance.  American Idol, The Voice, and similar shows have trained us to seek "the best" performers out there. Those who do not measure up are discarded as if they have no value at all.  Very sad, and that is a topic for another blog article someday.  But this same mindset has crept into the church.  The Jesus Movement ushered in a new kind of church music which my generation welcomed gladly as it sounded nothing like "church music" and everything like "rock music." (That is a vast generalization, but pretty close to reality.)  Not long after this movement hit, Christian bands formed that led to the writing of a specific type of Christian music that actually encouraged the singer to connect with God at a heart level.  We called this music "praise choruses" but they were far more than that.  Some have shared that, where the traditional hymns pre-Jesus Movement tended to speak ABOUT God, the new songs were speaking directly TO God.  There was a new, "first-person" feel to the songs that seemed to help draw the singer into a deeper connection with God.  

It is my contention that, in a very real sense, these years (about 2 decades or so) of church music truly were "leading in worship."  But as music technology changed, we suddenly saw a transformation in the music and musicians.  Slowly, worship "leaders" were becoming worship "performer" and even worship "celebrities" with churches doing all they could to emulate what they heard on radio and saw in concerts.  Churches realized that, in order to keep up with trends, they had to create the same level of perfectionism that was being produced for the Christian masses.  Right or wrong, this is what took place.

Show Me The Money
Now here is where things get sticky.  Unless a church is blessed with high quality musicians who can actually pull off what is being produced by Christian worship celebrities on radio and in concerts, then they must find ways to build their base of musicians to a level that sounds and looks similar.  This means either God brings them the volunteers who can accomplish the task or the church pays pro musicians to fill this need.  

There are churches who do both.  Some have been blessed.  Others have been budgeted.  The reality is that those churches who have a budget set aside to pay for their musicians will, most likely, have a "better" quality stage presentation of the music.  And, for churches who see this as a high value, they will move in that direction.

Where The Rubber Meets The Road
The question must now be asked: "What does your church want, and why?" As we said at the outset, a group of people can gather and worship their God with heartfelt gusto without the aid of a pro band. One person with a guitar or piano, plus a few singers, can easily create an atmosphere where God is glorified providing these musicians truly are men and women after God's heart when it comes to worship.  

How can I say this?  Because I have experienced it.  I have been in a worship setting where the singer was not "the best" and the musicians were "pretty good" and the Spirit of God was flowing through the room in a powerful way because the musicians were worshiping and encouraging those in attendance to do the same.  

This is NOT a plea for mediocrity!  This is a reminder that God is the one we worship - not the presentation of the music.  The story may be very different at your church.  You may decide that you need to fill your 1000-seat auditorium three times each weekend and, therefore, you need to bring the best performance you can for every service.  My word of caution is that you always remember that just because you are putting butts in the seats does not automatically mean those people are truly worshiping God.  They might be.  But they also might be enjoying the fantastic God show you are putting on.  And - I actually think that is fine!  My issue only comes when we re-define worship as somehow directly related to the presentation.  It's not. Ever. 

Conclusion
I don't have a conclusion. This topic is never-ending and always on the table for debate.  Strive for excellence because God wants us to do our best for Him.  If you are not as good as the hip church down the street, you can moan about it, you can upgrade what you offer to compete, you can buy your way to a presentation that makes other churches jealous. Or, you can thank God for bringing you servants who do the best they can with hearts of worship to glorify their Creator.  Because, the truth is, in God's economy - Good is okay, Better is okay, and Best is okay - when the worship is for God and God alone. 

Saturday, March 24, 2018

THE INFLUENCES OF WORSHIP


When we gather for worship it is primarily for the purpose of responding to God for all He is with everything we are.  We respond to God’s power, glory, might, mercy, awesomeness, wonder – and the list goes on.  And our response is a choice, a matter of the will, expressing our worship in all the ways we are able – our heart, our soul, our mind, our strength, our silence, our laughter, our bodies – and more.

Regardless of what style or form a congregation adopts to offer their worshiping community, our goal is the same: to encounter the life-changing presence and power of God, through Jesus Christ, in the power of His Holy Spirit. 

Now, if we stopped here all would be well.  We’d hug, share a smile and a hearty “Amen” and be on our way.

But, sadly, far too many churches fall prey to the always-present angst of squabbles over music styles and worship formats. 

Do me a favor – go back and read those first two paragraphs.  When you’re done, come on back.

Did you read those two paragraphs?  Cool, then let’s proceed.

I call those first two paragraphs the WHO of worship.  Nothing in those two paragraphs speaks of specific ways or forms or methods.  The focus is simply on WHO we are gathering to worship. 

Now, let’s talk about the issue that continues to raise angst in many congregations – the HOW of worship.

There is really no need to list the many, many, many (get that?), MANY ways that we believers have created turmoil and strife in our churches having forgotten the WHO while spending enormous energy on the HOW.  The WHO never changes.  Ever.  The HOW always changes.  And it should! 

One of the problems is that many churches continue to force everyone into one worship service that we call “blended” which is designed to create and ensure a meaningful worship experience for all who enter since all the favorite styles will be represented. 

This is not working.

And the proof of that is seen in the many churches who continue to suffer due to harsh comments and criticism from individuals with an agenda to force what they believe is the “right way” to worship.  Very generally, this tends to fall along stylistic and/or age demographic lines. 

Those in church leadership try to rally the troops and encourage us all to get along and be accepting of the polar worship styles of those around us. 

Again – this is not working. 


THE FOUR T’S

I happen to believe there are essentially four “T’s” that influence our worship.  They are: Temperament, Taste, Trends and Traditions.  Let’s briefly look at each.

TEMPERAMENT – this is how we FEEL with certain music styles.  For some, classical music touches them deeply and stirs the emotions.  For someone else, where classical music puts them to sleep, they are emotionally impacted by a rock or pop music expression.  Some like country.  Some like gospel.  Some like urban.  Some like rap.  Music is an art form and, as such, will always make everyone feel something. Music emotes a wide range of emotions and, for many believers, there is a deep, spiritual connection to music that spoke to them at the time of their conversion. 

Someone who was saved at a Billy Graham revival of the 50’s, for example, might have a very strong emotional and spiritual connection to the gospel music of the era.  A person who met Jesus at Calvary Chapel in the 70’s will have a connection to the music of that era.  Someone who finds Christ at a Matt Redman concert will be connected to that style of music.   All three music styles are valid for those three groups of worshipers.  None of those three styles should be forced on the other groups as “the right way” to worship.  And this is, in part, where we have failed as the church.

TASTE – Similar to Temperament, everyone has unique tastes in music.  I happen to enjoy just about all forms of music – from classical to country to jazz to pop.  Not everyone shares that level of diversity with music styles.  Some choose to only enjoy rock.  Some choose to only enjoy classical.  For the purpose of this discussion, some choose only to enjoy hymns in the hymnal.  Others choose only to enjoy current Christian music heard on today’s Christian radio.  Still others choose to only enjoy music from the Jesus Movement.  And in all of these cases, that is simply their taste in music.  It is not a value judgement at all. It is a simple matter of taste.  I hate asparagus.  My wife likes it.  After 35 years of marriage, we’re still doing okay because we don’t focus on asparagus nor do we attempt to force each other to our way of thinking regarding asparagus.


TRENDS – There have always been trends in music. The popular music during the time when most of the great hymns were composed had a strong classical bent.  During the 60’s, as music in our culture changed, so did the music in our churches and the trend was akin to classic rock.  The 70’s and 80’s and 90’s saw such trends as disco, hip hop, fusion, etc.  Some churches attempted to stay in line with all of those trends – and it was a bit of a train wreck because, as we all know, trends can change rapidly.  Still, trends influence how we worship and can, if we are wise the approach, help reach those who may not feel comfortable in a church that seems out of step with the times.

TRADITIONS – Sometimes it’s easy to forget the shoulders we all stand on who have helped forge the path to where we are today.  The list of bold pioneers who came before us is long and I encourage you go take a few minutes to consider how we got to where we are today – with technology, with science, with the arts and, of course, with church music. 

You may not know that the word “hymn” comes from the Greek word, “hymnos” which translates “an ode or song to or about God.”  It does not only refer to the songs bound in the book sitting in the pew.  Technically, ALL songs that speak to or about God are – by definition – a “hymn.”  Still, for many, those early songs from their youth – from when they first met Jesus – ARE the great hymns of the faith and when they are sung it’s far more than simply singing “a song from the good old days.” It is actually ministering to them in a profound way, much like a millennial singing “Speak Life” will be ministered to in today’s worship culture.   We cannot ignore the traditions that brought us here and, in fact, we are called to minister to all who enter our gates.

There is one final “T” that I saved until now.  As stated at the outset, our calling is to willfully respond to God for all He is with everything we are.  I call that THE TRUTH. 

In a perfect world the notion of gathering together in one service that allows for traditions, trends, taste and temperament (the HOW) to live together in harmony while always remaining focused on the glory and worship of God (the WHO) is wonderful and, in some churches, this actually works!  I reckon that heaven will be like that!

But we don’t live in a perfect world.  We live in a fallen world where just about everyone has their very own idea of what is right, wrong, up, down, good, bad, etc.  We are literally all over the map with our thoughts on trends, taste, traditions and temperament.  

This is why I believe the best way to “do church” is to give ourselves the freedom to move away from forcing all to suffer together in one blended service – unless (and this is huge) – unless those in the congregation have chosen to truly, and simply, love one another and accept the differences in worship as led by the pastors and staff who are called to help their churches encounter, and be changed by, the power of Jesus Christ. 

And, if that is your church, then praise God and celebrate!

For those churches who still struggle in this area of worship angst, I suggest you seriously consider creating worship opportunities that speak to each of those four T’s – some may have overlaps of 2 or 3 – the point here is to hear the hearts of your congregation members and then seek ways to best minister to whom God has already brought and whom God will be bringing in the future. 

If we agree that our goal is those first two paragraphs (the WHO), then however we design our various worship opportunities (the HOW) will potentially result in less division, more joy and changed lives - who will change the lives of those around them...  

I don’t know about you, but that excites me!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Those Annoying First 15 Minutes
























I have a confession to make...

I am so tired of the whining and moaning and complaining and comparing... regarding the first 15 minutes of the worship service.  I am tapped out reading article after article about why the "musical worship" in most worship services is annoying or distracting or otherwise a huge waste of time.

The complaints range from one end of the spectrum to the other... the songs are too hard, the songs are too fast, the songs are too new, the songs are too old, the songs are boring, the songs are not theologically sound, the songs have too many ancient words, the songs are this, the songs are that...

GET OVER IT!

I say that in some sort of very angry love mixed with a tad of condemnation.

Let me ask a question - who do you think you are?

Let me ask another question - who do you think God is?

The modern church (and, I happen to believe the church of days gone by) has simply turned into a nearly 100-percent narcissistic monster only focused on the HOW of worship.  And it is sickening.  It has nothing to do with the worship we read about in God's Word.  Not. One. Bit.

This may come as a shock - but worship - real worship - is not about YOU and YOUR needs being met. It's not about getting to hear or sing only the songs YOU happen to like.  Worship is not ever about how YOU feel, or what YOU get out of it.  

Ugh.

You will not find any passage of scripture where the focus is on the WORSHIPPER'S needs or wants.  It is always about our RESPONSE to the Holy and Almighty God, through Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit. Period. 

Now that I've made you angry, let me AGREE with you that often times those first 15 minutes of the worship gathering ARE torturous.  

And, as a music and worship leader, let me tell you why. 

It's because most of us honestly do not arrive at the worship gathering truly EAGER to encounter the life-changing power and presence of Jesus.  We just don't.  We rush in after a crazy week of work hoping to hear something that might challenge or encourage us.  But that's about it.  Maybe we want to connect with some friends - but not much more than that. We typically show up eager to point out what is "wrong" with the worship service - from songs to lights to screens to wall colors.

Really? 

In the Bible - we read about worship gatherings that are nothing like what most of our churches do in modern days.  Those early believers - both in New and Old Testament texts - are in AWE of God. They realize they are in His PRESENCE.  This is not "hanging out with their buddy" and never is the worship gathering designed to make people FEEL comfy, cozy or content.  The purpose of the gathering is to join our hearts and minds and souls and spirits with God and give to Him all that He is due with all that we are - complete abandonment to His glory!

I guarantee you that if you were to arrive at your next church service with that type of mind-set - your whining and complaining and moaning and comparing would cease.  It just would.  No longer would you wish your church's band played the Christian Top 10.  No more would you moan about your pastor saying "um" between sentences.  No longer would you whine that the slides did not flip at exactly the right moment.  

You know why?

Because your FOCUS would shift from the HOW of worship - to the WHO of worship. 

I know you don't believe me.  And that's cool.  

But I challenge you to shift your thinking before your next church service and then get back to me...

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Common or Uncommon Saint?


I've been busy writing country tunes.
I tell you this so you can make sense of me wearing a cowboy hat in this photo. 

Really, that was the entire purpose of this post.
And to invite you to visit www.morrisfork.net to hear my songs.

Later, Pardner...

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

IN PRAISE OF 3-CHORD WORSHIP














All musicians - all artists, for that matter - crave bringing our very best performance to the table.  This is just something that comes with being an artist and has probably been the case since the first time Grox picked up a stick and whacked it against a stone wall, bellowing out noises of various pitches. Grox thought, "I do better next time. Grunt."

Certainly, as God-worshiping Christians, we desire to bring our very best as an act of worship to our Creator.  Like how the builders of the original temple used the finest metals and woods as they created a "worship space."  We musicians desire to do the same.  Our desire is to play the guitar, or drums, or sax, or bass, or keys... or to sing... at the highest level of perfection because we know that will please God in our worship.

In fact, we believe that the better we perform, the better God is worshipped.

Or, at least, that's what we church musicians say - because it helps hide the fact that, sometimes, we are more interested in showing off our talents than simply worshipping God WITH our talents.

Did I say that out loud?

Whether we are willing to admit this or not, the truth is that all current church musicians live in an age of ultra-entertainment.  It has been this way for several decades but in recent years has become even more pronounced.  Most would agree that in many churches, the "worship set" has evolved (if that's a fair word) into more of a "God Show" where our bands and vocalists are performing songs that do speak of God - but songs that attempt to replicate what is heard on Christian radio - more than actually "leading the congregation into worship encounters." (by the way, if the goal is to simply copy what is heard on the radio, why not just play an mp3 of the songs and let the worship band sleep in on Sundays...)

Trust me - I know that sounds a bit harsh. It's meant to.

Average Christians in the pews (or bean-bag chairs, depending on your worship room) have been noticing how simplistic many of today's worship songs are.  Christian comedian, John Crist, does a great job of narrowing down today's trend towards creating simple Christian hit worship songs in a humorously biting video.  You can see that video HERE.  (But then, come back to read the rest of this article!)

Now, here is where this blog post will take a detour.  I actually have no problem with simple, 3-chord worship songs - provided they transcend mere entertainment or "hit song" fodder - and, instead, actually help usher the worshiper into a Spirit-led and Spirit-breathed encounter with the Lord. 

There actually is a difference between 3-chord fluff entertainment (think of any Monkees song) and 3-chord Spirit-led songs (think the book of Psalms). 

The difference is found in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit and, surprisingly, it is easy to miss - even for today's "American Idol-tainted" worshippers.

Sometimes I try to imagine David playing on his harp (lute) and ponder what his music - his songs in praise and worship of, and towards, God - might have sounded like.  He may not have even had "chords" as we know them.  Perhaps he sat on a rock near a stream and strummed or plucked his way through lyrics that are now forever cemented in the pages of scripture.  No doubt he offered his best to God - but the question is - - his best "what?"  I don't imagine David strumming and worshiping and then suddenly stopping and thinking, "God would be better pleased if, instead of this V chord, I played a IV chord..." David would simply strum and worship, strum and worship, strum and worship...

The simplicity of a worship song structure is not what makes the song inadequate or unworthy of honoring God.  It is the simplicity of the worshiper's heart that lessens the "worship value" of a song.  A song can have 7 chords, 11 changes, 2 bridges, augmented, diminished and inverted chords, rich with deep lyrics that match the greatest theological depth of any classic hymn.  But if the person playing or singing that song is only in it for the performance - it is NOT a "worship song" designed for God - regardless of how "holy" the words might sound.  In other words - your great performance will NOT please God if it never rises above the level of a great performance.

Likewise, a song with only 3 chords and simple "Psalm-like" lyrics, when sung or played by someone who's heart is only focused on God, WILL be a song that not only worships our Lord but helps others do the same.  I know this for a fact because I have seen it and I have done it.  When the focus is solely on the Lord - with our talents and abilities thought of as one might think of a set of tools in a toolbox - THAT is when God is actually pleased.  THAT is when God is actually worshipped.

For this reason, I am far more interested in the simple, 3-chord worship song that is truly worship-filled, than the mega top Christian "worship hit of the day" that is sung or played in a Godless manner.  It's not about the HOW.  It is always about the WHO.

If you are a church musician, or one of the worship leaders, your job is NOT to sound amazing.  If you do happen to sound amazing, that's great!  Keep it up.  Bring your best.  But make sure you are bringing your best WORSHIP rather than your best performance.  God is not more pleased or worshiped any fuller simply by your slick guitar licks or 5-octave vocal range.  And - He is ALWAYS more pleased with the worshiping heart of the "pitchy" singer.

I challenge you to make your next worship set less about matching top Christian radio hits, and more about singing simple songs that use less instrumentation but clearly help focus the congregation on the very reason you have all gathered in the first place.

Focus on the WHO and the HOW takes care of itself.