We’re doing a series this week on the Five Scariest Trends that Could Shipwreck the Church. While overall I’m optimistic about the future, I believe we have to be ruthless in our commitment to take the Gospel to those far from God. The Five Trends we’re looking at this week could keep us from that quest. On Monday we looked at Multisite Mania and yesterday was the Reformed Revolution. Let’s dive into Scary Trend Three today:
I love corporate worship. One of my favorite aspects of working in multisite churches has been visiting multiple worship experiences every weekend. I have participated in as many as six different services in a single weekend, and I love seeing people connect with God through the leadership of a gifted team of singers, musicians and technicians.
The scary trend, however, is the growing worship of the art of worship. The worship leader/pastor/director/producer has become a rock star. The need for ever-improving technology (“2K Projectors? Yes!!!”) dominates the church budget. The demand for professional musicianship squeezes out the possibility of homegrown talent. On Monday mornings we talk more about the sound quality, the experience, the arrangement than about the jaw dropping recognition of the awesome power of an omniscient God. We are in danger of worshipping the creation more than the creator.
What are we trying to accomplish through musical worship at our weekend services? Is the goal to compete with secular concerts or the mega-church down the street? (Do we really think we can compete with U2? Seriously?) Is excellence the goal regardless the price? Is holding the attention of the occasional attender the aim? Or are we truly focused on worshipping in spirit and in truth?
I'm not saying we need to go back to the good old days of bad sound, marginal talent and torn hymnbooks. I love technology; excellent sound, video and lighting makes me tingle. But the allure of technology, talent and ego could shipwreck what we are really called to do; make God famous. Entertainment, easily and often, can crowd out pure worship. Matt Redman makes my point better than I ever could:
When the music fades and all is stripped away and I simply come
Longing just to bring something that's of worth that will bless your heart
I'll bring You more than a song for a song in itself is not what You have required
You search much deeper within through the ways things appear
You're looking into my heart
I'm coming back to the heart of worship and it's all about You
All about You, Jesus
I'm sorry Lord for the thing I've made it when it's all about You
It's all about You, Jesus
Is the worship in our church more about lights, video, pedals, haze and talent, or is it really all about Jesus. When was the last time the music faded away and all that was left was the overwhelming feeling of standing in the presence of a holy God? If we want to see the church prevail in America we may need to move beyond worship of worship and simply humble ourselves before God.