On my Sunday off I had a unique opportunity to worship in another church. I’d like to comment about their atmosphere for worship. It seems that worship today has become so performance oriented. I know that worship is performance for God, yet it seems we on the stage are performing for the folks in the pews. Even though we on the stage are trying to worshiping God ourselves, I believe the folks in the pew often feel like its those on the stage performing for them. We are expected to “perform” in a certain way, with a degree of proficiency, with a degree of professionalism. I know we are supposed to do our best for God’s glory, yet I feel this type of atmosphere is not conducive to an atmosphere of worship.
At Christ Church, the atmosphere was different. It was non-performance. It was non-professional. I’m not being critical. This is a positive comment. Let me explain.
Someone put together an order of worship. Songs were chosen. Charts were provided for the worship team I sang with, and I think we were following the keyboardist. At least I was. We gathered before the service, went through most of the songs one time, took a few minutes break, then started the service.
We didn’t rehearse to get all the right notes. We didn’t worry about not having a bass player or a drummer. We just gathered who was there and worshiped. We weren’t on a stage, weren’t even in the center. We stood off to one side of the platform, on the same level as the congregation, and just worshiped. No one stood front and center leading worship. No one had to encourage the congregation to sing along. There was no anthem or solo. It was just a bunch of folks gathering to worship God together. The atmosphere was conducive to worship.
I’ve been thinking of ways to create this atmosphere in my church. Its going to be challenge. There is a big, elevated platform (stage). I’ve always lead from the front of the stage, sometimes from a keyboard, sometimes without a pulpit. I try to lead the congregation with gestures, encouraging words and a loud voice. (God gave me a big voice, and I like using it.) I would really like to create an atmosphere for worship that is not perceived as performance for anyone but God. I want to create an atmosphere where everyone can worship God, not just those on the stage.
I just hope our folks will realize that if I’m doing something new and different, I’m trying to lead us all in worship of Almighty God. I’m not just trying to be different for the sake of being different. We humans so easily get into ruts. The worship of God is one thing that should never be “rutualistic.” You can’t get out of a rut without changing direction.
Let’s all worship God!