Is a church service, or more importantly, is worship a spectator sport for most people these days? To come inside a building, hear good music and a relevant message to help your life, leave and then head to lunch? Is this what “Church” is intended to be?
Standing from the platform looking out on the congregation as I do week to week, I sometimes get the feeling Church is like this for a large majority. I wonder “Are we just doing what we think is “church?” ” Are we doing what we have ALWAYS done, just because it’s what we’ve ALWAYS done? Are we just showing up to “make an appearance, and check off the “attend church box” of the proverbial Sunday “To Do” list?
Perhaps its something different, maybe there’s a disconnect happening? Does the responsibility of audience engagement or participation fall solely on the shoulders of the worship leader/team? If they aren’t clapping, singing or at least smiling in agreement is it a failure? Are we as lead worshipers truly leading?
Granted, I understand there’s only so much a leader can do. They lead, but will the people follow? I also realize the quality of the music and sound are just some of the factors that facilitate a great worship experience. Does the act of worship always involve singing or playing an instrument?
I’ve been a Worship Pastor for almost 12 years now. I have the privilege and responsibility to lead people to focus on God during our weekend services every week. It’s wonderful. The connection with the people and God through music is amazing, and I love it. Unfortunately, like a lot of folks, I used to believe that worship was ONLY what you did when you came to church. You know the “worship service?” A time to sing some songs, listen to a sermon and then go about the day. Granted, It IS a time of worship, however, It wasn’t until I served as a camp counselor for a youth camp did I truly experience worship, and begin to understand that it was so much more than a SUNDAY thing.
Weekends at Church were this amazing time to come together with other people and love on this God we serve through praise and worship in song. However, at camp, I was having the opportunity to spend time talking to God ALL throughout the day. Nothing was obstructing that. Then in the evening we would spend time expressing love to God through song together as a group. Worship was powerful! You could truly feel the Spirit of God in our midst. It was a new experience, A deeper experience.
I began to desire that closeness with God even more than I had before. How would I bring this back to our church as a whole? Everyone had to experience this! I began to ask myself what was different about being at camp and our normal day to day while Not at camp? Something had clicked with me. It wasn’t the location, or the method of what we as a team, or group were doing IN worship. It was the one on one time with God throughout the day that was carrying over into our corporate time of worship that was making the difference. Our life was FOCUSED on God throughout everything we were doing. Putting Him FIRST in everything, talking to Him throughout the day, and acknowledging him in whatever we were doing was keeping HIM closer. The result: We were already focused on God when it was time to lead worship that you could just feel His presence instantly.
Okay, So I realize at camp you have the opportunity to take a break from the challenges of life, the stress of your job or school, family responsibilities and other important obligations. It makes it easier to FOCUS on God when those don’t exist. I have found that I have to be more intentional about starting my day with God when I am NOT at camp, but it’s not as difficult as it seems. Its as simple as acknowledging Him when you get up, getting in His word, talking to Him throughout the day with not just the BIG important things, but the small “insignificant” matters that concern us. He’s available for both.
Seek Him and His wisdom.
Going back to my initial thoughts of this post “Is a church service, or more importantly, is worship a spectator sport for most people these days? . . . Perhaps its something different, maybe there’s a disconnect happening? It IS a disconnect. We, as a whole, are SO overly connected to everything else, we don’t have any spots left over for God. We cannot give him our left overs. He has to take FIRST spot and allow everything else in our lives to fall in after HIM. It’s no wonder when we get to service time at church, we appear to be “going through the motions” “just showing up” or “here out of obligation.” We ARE disconnected. An appliance running on electricity must be connected to its power source to run properly, function as it was created, recharge, and have the power to do all its required to do. In this way, we are NO different from an appliance.
When we are focused or CONNECTED to our POWER source, we are able to run properly, function as we need, be recharged, and fulfill our designed purpose.
As worship leaders THIS is how we help people not miss an opportunity to express love to the Father in worship. We have to help them Connect and STAY connected the other days of the week. No, we can’t be with them all day every day, I get that. We can do two important things.
First we can OURSELVES make and keep God FIRST. Meaning, Is God honored in all we do, say and think? If He is, we are worshiping HIM. Second, invest in those we shepherd, when we aren’t on the platform. When people see we care about them, they are more inclined to follow in areas that are unfamiliar or even scary. They can trust you. They see in us something different. Not the same religion thick behavior that has repelled so many from a relationship with God. A real, authentic relationship of LOVE for our Lord.
Our ultimate obligation as leaders is to Connect with people, and Connect them to God. Ultimately, We have to connect to God FIRST!
Until Monday through Saturday looks like Sunday, Sunday will never be what Sunday was meant to be, and worship will definitely never be what God intended.