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.
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.
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...