1 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
2 Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
3 Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;[a]
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
5 For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.
I want to say up front that I understand the point that he was trying to make, however…
I will also say that if some churches are creating entertainment venues, then it is definitely on them, but if others are simply participating in inhibition-shedding, don’t-care-who-hears-me, Christ-centered worship that appears to be high in production value, then there is no foul. If a church is engaged in authentic worship that happens to have an amazing praise service, then each attendee is the one upon whom the responsibility rests, and that is where we actually find ourselves today in our modern church services.
Below is a video and I ask that you take the time to view it in its entirety. It serves as a reference for the rest of the article. (volume slider is right beside the play button)
We are a generation of consumers.
And we consume church just like we would a movie or a television show. We want to be entertained. We want our attention grabbed. We want our soul fed.
The problem with these things, of course, is that we do not want to actively engage in worship. We do not want to give our attention. We do not seek out and feed our souls ourselves. These are generalities, of course, but I cannot help but see the evidence of it weekly.
Some of you know that my wife and I have been attending a church down here in Scottsboro that’s slightly larger than commUNITY church but far more affluent. I joined the worship team early on and one of the first things that I noticed was a completely dry worship atmosphere in the church. Not a single eye every closed, not a single hand ever went up, even most mouths remained closed as they watched the pretty words on the screens. This has been the norm for the entirety of our attendance there.
Unfortunately, this tends to be the norm across thousands of churches across America, as well. People come expecting to get something, rather than expecting to give something. Honestly, I can’t even comprehend this mindset any longer as I have grown to the point where my desire to participate in worship and to learn from great teachers far outweighs any desire to be entertained. Not only that, but also to seek these things out, not simply wait like a toddler in a high-chair for teachers of the word to spoon-feed me my daily dose of theology.
Our attendance in worship services must be intentional, so that whether we sit in a monolithic sanctuary with a pipe organ spewing Bach from its pipes or a house church with a single guitar or a megachurch with a paid worship band, the motivation of the individual is just as significant as those producing the worship atmosphere. If we, as believers, come to have our ears tickled and our spiritual tummies filled, that may very well happen, but that is the shallowness that Mike talked about, not the production value of the praise service.
However, if we come with intention, if we are both ready, willing, and (catch this) happy to be in a worship service on a Sunday morning (too bad for you 7th Day’s) then you will not be entertained, but will find yourself a part of something amazing and great.
Quiz time: Assuming that you took the time to watch the video that I linked above, did you just watch it? Or did you take that five and a half minutes of your day and worship an amazing Creator?
That is what I’m talking about. Practice the discipline of worship and watch your life change into the child of God that Christ desires for each and every one of us.
Much love to you all!
Beau is the pastoral assistant and CrossRoads ministry leader at CommUNITY Church.