Are You Leading Worship or Entertaining?

My brother travels across the country, ministering in a variety of churches, and I have the blessing of traveling with him. There are times, though, that I look around and think, Something is missing.

A few years ago, I was beginning to worry about myself. I felt like I was becoming one of those stodgy old women who refuses to accept modern praise and worship music, because they are not hymns. Now don’t get me wrong. I love hymns and am saddened by the fact that many young people (if not most) will never know the lyrics that have stood the test of time. But I finally realized that my objection is not so much the songs that are sung (although some leave much to be desired); it is the way they are sung.

People complain about the old 7/11 songs but, today, churches introduce songs that are not only shallow; they were not written to be sung by a congregation. They may be great for a praise & worship singer to sing in concert, but they are very difficult for people to sing along with.

praiseworship

Often on Sunday mornings, I am tired. Especially if I’ve been on my feet at a convention all weekend, Sundays can be very hard. I rely on God’s strength to get me through the day, and I look forward to worshiping with His people, but some weeks, I don’t really get that.

There are exceptions, of course. Some churches are full of the presence of the Lord the moment we arrive. It’s obvious the people there love the Lord and each other, and they are eager to see what God is going to do in their midst. This is what the Church should look like.

I would love to see more churches do a mixture of hymns and praise and worship songs. The key to worship is singing songs that honor our Lord while focusing on Him, not the people around us. At the same time, the leader must be in tune with those around him or her. Are they singing? Praying? Worshiping? Or are they merely watching? The difference between a worship service and a concert is that the former should not be a performance. It is not a contest of vocal or musical ability. It is the gift of seeing those who have had a rough week, who are discouraged, who wonder why they are even there, and leading them into the presence of the Lord. Once there, they can leave their burdens at the altar and better hear the message God desires to speak to them.

A true worship leader is just as important as a pastor who preaches the Word without compromise. Together, they will help to build a church that God can use in a mighty way.

6 thoughts on “Are You Leading Worship or Entertaining?

  1. Why do call the singing portion of a service worship when the entire service is all about worship? Why do applaud the solo musical numbers? Would we ever applaud a sermon?
    Biblical open worship approves of such endeavors with a contrite heart. The ever present temptation for any soloist is to start singing to the congregation rather than to God alone.
    Sadly one of the top 10 most shallow reasons for people leaving a church is the music style.

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  2. I believe the word of God is what motivate and stir our passions in us to true worship. Worship is the attitude of our heart towards a holy, righteous, and just God-The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.”-Isaiah 29:13. Worship is internal not external. As Phil Johnson once said “We ought to be much more passionate about the glory that’s embodied in the person and the character of Christ. Because we can see that glory without any veil on our face. We can study it, we can enjoy it and by the Holy Spirit’s enablement, we can reflect it and lift it up for the world to see. And that is what we ought to be more passionate about than anything else. Certainly it ought to stir our passions and our energies much more than any mud spattered sports team whose only glory is worldly and meager and always fleeting. It ought to make us ashamed that we’re not more passionate about the one thing that ought to excite us the most. You know, we imitate all the world’s passions. WE devote our energies and our emotions to things that are not even worthy of our attention. This band does things to stir artificial passions. Through music and lots of rhythms just to get our emotions worked up and that’s really a form of false worship. It’s really no better than Idolatry. Our passions should not need to be artificially stimulated and stirred up by spiritual cheerleaders and stadium chants. We shouldn’t have to be worked into an emotional state by melodrama and musical manipulation. You know if we can get pumped up to a fever pitch by a musician rather than by the truth of the biblical message (God’s word), then whatever we’re feeling isn’t a legitimate passion in the first place.”

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  3. Sony said:

    “The difference between a worship service and a concert is that the former should not be a performance.”

    Sister,

    I would add that the difference between a new testament church meeting and semi-reformed roman catholic style church meeting is that the former should not be a “clergy” led performance either. I think the worship style is only following the leadership style in general today.

    Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

    Better to be sitting in a living room or similar with a bunch of brothers and sisters singing with grace together even if one or two have instruments they are ‘leading’ with. No applause, no theatrics, just brethren singing with grace in their hearts to the Lord. Another reason I exhort all who name the name of Jesus to complete the reformation in their lives and purge man made and roman catholic traditions from among them.

    In Christ -Jim

    PS – Not sure if anyone has heard Christ Our Life, but I find their music very Christ focused and scripture saturated. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1REC9J2HrQ

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  4. The problem I see is people think that they are worshiping the Lord when they are singing to Jesus or saying his name. I’ve written about this before and there’s no fear of the holiness of God. It’s people tacking on his name in songs and worshiping God in their own novel way. Jesus said “”I do not accept praise from men”-John 5:41 and it’s not accepted unless one (obtains) (the praise) that comes from the only God!-John 5:44. If I have misunderstood these verse, Please by all means correct me. Thank you so much for the article by AW Pink unworthy and I will read your link when I get home fleebabylon sir.

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