I had an interesting talk about church services with a pastor friend of mine.
Here are some of my thoughts on the topic of worship.
The current buzzword in popular Christianity is worshipper. It’s the thrust of many a sermon and even some songs – being a true worshipper. In many applications, the premise of being a true worshipper is flat out wrong. There is no biblical foundation to judge a person’s worship on how they react to the praise team’s songs or the oratorical surges of a preached sermon. None.
Please don’t judge one’s spirituality or engagement in worshipping God by how they react to the choreographed church service you designed to raise emotions. Just because they don’t have the response you would like to see, does not mean they are any less connected with God than those who are demonstrative in the ways you like.
Just because someone doesn’t stretch their hands out to pray when you tell them to, does not mean that they are any less interested in the object of prayer or any less involved in the prayer. Extending our arms in prayer is the cool thing to do right now. But in our adoption of the cool, let’s not lose the main attitude of prayer – hearts that are humble as they talk with God. Sadly, the peer pressure struggle inside of the church is real.
Don’t dismiss your members who disagree with how service is being conducted as criticism. They may have legitimate reasons for why they oppose certain things that happen in our churches. It’s not necessarily a resistance to change and a clinging to so-called out-dated traditions. And who knows, they may be right. The only place where one should not expect to hear differences of opinion should be in a dictatorship, and that should not be the flavor of any of our churches.
We can all agree that the service that takes place once a week in our churches is not a replica of any church service found in the Bible. That doesn’t make all that we do wrong. But neither does it make all that we do right. Outside of reading and studying the scriptures, hearing a preached word, prayer and bringing of an offering, much of what we do is of our own creation. We should be careful not to view our ideas as always God’s ideas. We should adopt the attitude of the early church at Berea, “in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Acts 17:11
It’s certainly not what happens in the 2-3 hour, once a week church service that determines or reveals one’s connection in worship with God. I would argue that it is more important about what happens outside of a church service than inside of church that determines if a person is a true worshipper.