Church worship is one of the most intimate acts that exist between the Christian and the Lord God. We’ve all heard of dour and cold churches where the ‘singing’ of hymns sounds more like a funeral service than the heartfelt praise and adoration to our Creator – however, the reverse of this is also a serious problem…something this blogger describes as “performancism”. He goes on to outline this as being a pretence of worship with, “The worship leader as the performer. The congregation as the audience. The sanctuary as the concert hall.” This is a serious issue and something every Christian should be on guard against and it is becoming increasingly common in our entertainment-driven culture, as a result we have to ask – who are you worshiping in church?
We’ve blogged on this before as we live in a Christian climate where many songs either have questionable lyrics that over-sensualise our relationship with God or are blatantly unbiblical. Not only this, many worship times are simply no more than concerts with the ‘worship’ leader whipping up the audience into a frenzy with loud music and catchy, trendy tunes. This could be just as offensive as a cold and loveless series of songs in a church where there is clearly no genuine joy, adoration and submission to God.
As a Christian, it’s very healthy to regularly evaluate our worship times, both from an external perspective to check the church is promoting the worship of God (and not man) and from an internal perspective that we are genuinely engaged with God during worship. Next time you come out of the church, ask yourself whether the worship time was consistent with the following:
- Did you actively connect with the lyrics or was there lots of needless and mindless repetition? True praise can only be meaningful where those singing are cognitively engaged with the words they are using.
- Was worship more of a performance or an exhibition of the musical talents of the band/leader, or did they simply lead and direct time of genuine praise towards God? God will use the musical talents of those within the church, but they should never be the object of praise or distract praise away from God.
- Did the content of the songs instil a sense of humble respect, awe and joy towards the Lord? In our observations, many modern songs appeal more to feelings and emotions than knowledge and truth – in reality, there should be a balance of both, rather than using songs that rob God of His position of loving majestic King and replace this with an atmosphere that trivializes or sensualizes God.
- Was there an over-emphasis on emotion and feeling that resulted in some losing control? There is nothing wrong with an emotional response to God’s grace and love, but we shouldn’t be ‘losing our minds’ and certainly not losing control of our bodies.
The above list is not exhaustive, but we believe it contains some pointers to be on the lookout for where things could be a little unhealthy. The acts of worship and prayer provide a direct link with our God – we should be our guard against anything that pollutes or cheapens this relationship. Ultimately, true worship is an attitude of the heart – where is your heart when next in church singing?
By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. (Hebrews 13:15)