The One Thing Killing Today’s Modern Church
As a person who has pastored in worship in one form or another for more than 15 years, I have seen ebbs and flows in “worship” in the modern church. Yet there is one issue that seems to be slowly – and in some cases, quickly killing the modern church. Ok, so the title is a little on the wrong side of things – there are a plethora of things killing worship in today’s modern church…but there is one that ranks above them all, in my opinion…
…the worship wars.
I am not simply defining any particular worship war. There are plenty to choose from:
- to pay or not to pay musicians
- to pay or not to pay your worship leader
- secular songs or no?
- not singing songs in a low enough key
- not singing songs in a high enough key
- not singing enough hymns
…the list goes on and on. Why is the worship war killing the modern church? I feel that we have placed 90% of our focus on how to keep up with the trends, follow key leaders, or emulate certain worship leaders or styles that we have forgotten one thing:
..it isn’t about us.
The keys we do songs in are important…well…sort of. You see, we will still go to concerts in either the CCM or secular world and will belt out songs to the top of our lungs in keys only meant for medically altered vocal chords. Song keys arent the point, though.
We’ve become accustomed to making the perfect worship services because we have become a culture that worships worship instead of a culture that worships God above all.
God spoke of His intentions for worship in Amos 5:21-23
“I can’t stand your religious meetings.
I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions.
I want nothing to do with your religion projects,
your pretentious slogans and goals.
I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes,
your public relations and image making.
I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music.
When was the last time you sang to me?
Wow! What a statement and question. I’m not sure how you would have felt…but to hear my God tell me that he would not hear my song would devastate me! Why did He say such things? One word: focus.
“The multitude of your sacrifices– what are they to me?” says the LORD. “I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. (Isaiah 1:11)
Replace some of these words with words like “lights”, “VOX AC30”, and “transparent overdrive” and we have a modern day version of the scripture. That’s not to say that picking the perfect overdrive pedal isn’t important. The bulls and lambs were important because they were commanded as offerings. While a pedal isn’t commanded – ensuring that we are offering our best worship is. The point in both cases is not in making the method or the mechanics the important thing. It is in making sure that God is at the forefront of what we do.
Our conversations – our social commentation – our conferences…are all slowly dominated by the mechanics and less focused on the AMAZING God we have. Many of you have likely seen the image of the “Evolution of Worship”. While it is funny at the surface, it is a logical process of how far away we have come from the AWE of God in worship. If I were to lay prostrate on the platform before my congregation – they would likely murmur about calling an ambulance out of fear for my health. Why? Is the congregation I lead in a state of wrong maturity? Or am I guilty because I haven’t modeled this worship as a “lead worshiper”.
Our roles are so much more than we have allowed them to become. When King Jehoshaphat set out to battle, we read in 2 Chronicles 20 that the singers, musicians, and worshipers were in the front of the progressing army. Can you imagine the reaction of the other side? Seeing and hearing leaders of worship boldly singing praises of God had to be an amazing sight and sound…
…and the army marched right behind them.
…step by step…
…led to battle.
Which begs to question:
…how impressed and willing to follow would an army be of the worship service we offer today?
…and how pleased would God be?
Refocus: Let’s stop worshiping worship…and begin worshiping God wholly again.