On the way home today I heard a puzzling ad on our local Christian station K-WAVE for a large but not quite mega “Bible” church in my area. The ad invites you to join the church and “you’ll enjoy great worship.” This is the same church whose pastor recently held a series of scathing cessationist Bible studies on the radio, attacking Charismatic and Pentecostal Christians who practice gifts of the Spirit such as prophecy and speaking in tongues… but that is a subject for another day.
The sound bite advertises the “great worship” that you will enjoy when you go there. Really? Enjoy the worship that someone performs? Like when you go to a concert and you enjoy the performance? Is this “worship” meant for the enjoyment of the audience? Is this the same worship that is meant to be done in spirit and truth toward a holy and great God?
I believe this embodies some of the things that have gone wrong in the modern evangelical movement. The main issue is that the holy and exalted God seen by Isaiah in his vision is no longer the center of many modern churches, much less the center of their worship. Humanism, yes the same humanism that our parents tried to escape when they left the eastern communist block in the 70’s and 80’s, the one that puts the human being in the center, is becoming commonplace even in some churches. It’s no longer only about exalting God, lifting Him up, giving Him all the Glory… we have to emphasize the spectator’s enjoyment of worship meant only for the King.
They were most likely referring to their music ministry, and I would have had no problem if the ad would have said “come and enjoy great music” because a large church may have the resources to build a professional choir/band and “worship team.” Some more conservative than me would even have a problem with that, but it really disappointed me to hear that worship, in whatever capacity, was being misplaced toward pleasing the listener.
Lets not forget that worship is not just singing songs in preparing our hearts and minds for a sermon. Worship of our God is a lifestyle of reading and studying the Bible, attending fellowship with the body of Christ, singing praises and praying to Him, and as Ephesians 2:10 says, doing “the good works which, God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” The way you lead your life should be worship for the King!