God Must Really Hate Our Worship

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I told myself that I would never write about worship. It is a topic that never seems to start a dialogue – just arguments. People can handle bad theology, bad doctrine, and bad practices — but worship? If you discuss worship, be prepared for people to roll up their sleeves and throw a punch. However, recently, I read an article in a local newsletter. The article disturbed me for 2 reasons: 1.) It was from the “Wittenburg Door,” which is a Christian satirical publication. 2.) The person who commented on the satirical piece took it as truth and argued in favor of what satire was trying to put an end to.

I cannot reprint the article, due to copyright infringement (of which this newsletter most likely violated), but what I can do is accurately summarize it.

The article was about how worship leaders should not talk. It satirically pointed fun at how we have such “strict” requirements for preachers but not for worship leaders. It said that worship leaders should sing and nothing else. They are not theologians nor are they teachers — but their music can teach, just not the musician. It was a rather humorous piece when looked at as satire.

Unfortunately, the preacher who commentated on the article did not view it as satire. In fact, he viewed it as truth. He agreed that musicians should not talk and that they are just there to sing – nothing else.

Obviously, musicians have to be some form of theologians. Some churches expect preachers to lead worship. So if musicians are not theologians, does that mean that theologians are not musicians? These are insights that are to be gained from this satirical piece.

This is the mindset of many rural Illinois churches. They don’t have a problem with worship as long as there is a piano, an organ, and all 9 verses of “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.” But the moment you take away a verse, or the organ, you’re in deep water.

I’m really tired of the worship wars. It’s a never ending battle in the traditional evangelical church. The older generation thinks that God hates the younger generation’s worship. And the younger generation thinks that God is tired of the older generation’s worship. We argue about these nonessential things. What we truly should be focusing on is obviously God. However, we focus instead on the guitar that is playing, the drums that are banging, and the bass guitarist that is jumping.

I remember a phone call I made to an individual in the church. They had been writing comments on the back of their attendance cards (I’ve been thinking about publishing some of these comments…). So I decided to give him a call to see how we could somehow meet in the middle on old and new worship. Long story short, it did not go well. He told me that I was robbing people of worship. I stopped him there and told him that people decided in their hearts that they would not worship. This was a bad move because it ended up causing him to get even more angry and involved him telling me how I didn’t respect my elders.

This is the kind of thing that I see in the rural Christian churches in Illinois. It upsets me beyond belief. When I lead worship, I see the angry stares and the tightened lips. God must really hate our worship. It’s the only explanation for why I see so much anger in the faces of the people I’m leading in worship.

I hesitated writing this piece because of the content. We will always argue old versus new. It will always be an argument. It will never end. The people who want to walk down the middle of the road (like myself) will never fully satisfy either party. And the middle should not be an option — for it is an option that is only made available because we are too scared of ticking off either side.

What I can say is this: God must really hate our worship. Because instead of worshiping Him, we complain about a song — whether that be a hymn or a new song (I have heard both complain). The older generation wants hymns because that is what they grew up singing. The younger generation wants new songs because they’re more exciting. Both sides will not be pleased. Ever. Therefore, God must really hate our worship. The younger generation tells themselves that this will bring more people in the church (even though worship is consistently proven to have little effect on why a non Christian would attend a church). The older generation tells themselves that the hymns are more theologically sound (even though looking through the lyrics of “I’ll Fly Away,” “When We All Get to Heaven,” and “In the Garden” prove that they are not more theologically sound). Both sides tells themselves things to support why they want what they want.

You can sense the worship division in the church. Both sides must get over themselves. No more waiting for the older generation to die off and no more waiting for the younger generation to come to their senses. Books have been written and will continue to be written (and will sell quite well) but none will solve the problem – for the problem is inside all of us. That’s what has to be fixed. Not the service. Us. There, I saved you from paying $400 to go to a worship conference.

God has to hate our worship. Look at the hatred that both sides display to one another during church — doesn’t that taint our worship?Image

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Top Ten Ways to Get the Holy Spirit in Your Church

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Are you tired of going to church and not being able to feel the Holy Spirit?

Does it seem like your worship is empty and boring?

Is the preaching uninspired and emotionless?

Could your church benefit from the life the Holy Spirit brings?

If so, read the following ways that you can achieve exactly just that!

1.) Lighting. This is probably the most difficult for us to achieve. There are many churches that do not have the equipment necessary for accomplishing this. If you are one of those churches, I apologize. However, if you have the ability to lower the house lights to almost pitch black level (dark enough you can’t make out your neighbor’s face, but not dark enough to cause a lawsuit), then you can manufacture the Holy Spirit. Just lower those house lights and have bright lights on the stage going back and forth throughout worship. This does wonders for envisioning the Holy Spirit. The quicker you move the lights, the better. Periodic strobing is encouraged as well (not too much as this can cause seizures in some people).

2.) Play emotional songs with long musical interludes. Obviously you have to have a band to accomplish this one. This can be very powerful if done well. Make sure all the instruments are together throughout the musical interlude. It is preferable to use an interlude with a nice build. You want to go somewhere with the music. Make sure it is not too long, though, otherwise people will start sitting down or checking their text messages. If you see this happening, look at number 6 for some help.

3.) Speak loud and fast. If you are a preacher, this is a must. The louder and faster you speak, the better. Here is why: people won’t understand what you are saying and this allows you to say things that aren’t really powerful, but they are said in a way that causes people to think they are powerful. Also, if you speak loud and fast, it makes you seem more confident and full of the Spirit. This will excite people.

4.) Speak slow and soft with some emotional music playing behind you. This is especially beneficial during the invitation/altar call. It helps drive home a point with people. Without the music, people won’t attach to the points you are trying to make. With the emotional music, your points will become automatically powerful, even if they don’t make sense.

5.) Get the people involved by getting them to say “amen” frequently. The more you can get them involved, the better. “Amen” is a good one to have people say. I have also heard a church use “go God.” This seems like it gets the job done as well.

6.) Randomly say “Jesus” in a song. This will help you in moments that you see people zoning out during worship. It redirects them to who you are singing about. Give it a try. It works every time…because people can’t argue with Jesus.

7.) Use the phrase “God has laid it on my heart…” This is something else people cannot argue with. Oh, they might try, but if God lays something on your heart, then it is inarguable. This can give you the liberty to say anything. So use this phrase carefully. Don’t say anything that will cause you to be struck dead.

8.) Pray for “God to come and fill this place.” God has already promised to be where we are. And if God is omnipresent, then He is everywhere. So really, this prayer is asking God to do something that He has already promised to do. That is not the point, however. When you pray this, people will be able to feel God enter a place.

9.) Talk about hell. The quickest way to God is through fear.

10.) Eat a bad burrito the night before church. When all else fails and you can’t “feel” the Holy Spirit, eat a bad burrito before church. This will get your stomach stirring and you will definitely “feel” the Spirit by the beginning of service.

My hope is that these are beneficial to you. Put them into practice. You will not regret it.

**This is satire. Please do not take it literally. One does not need to manufacture the Holy Spirit. We would be better off if we stopped trying to create “experiences” where the Holy Spirit would move. The Spirit will move in spite of us and our efforts. We do not have control over that. Just because we create something emotional does not mean we have created a movement of the Spirit. So please, stop trying. Seriously. Stop.**

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