Modern-Day Worship – Some Thoughts

When did CCM (contemporary Christian music) songs from Billboard’s Top 30 charts become substitutes for intimate worship songs in our services? It seems the more relevant local churches try to become to their neighborhoods and members, the more compromise we find in the one area most people identify with: the music.

Anymore there’s no continuity in the journey of worship in the local church service. I was taught, by some of the best pioneers of worship in North America, that worship is indeed a journey into God’s presence and that we need to allow time for communion with the Father when we (finally) arrive there. The goal of the worship team, quite simply, is to take our fellow travelers (worshippers) on a journey from point A to point B in worship, allowing enough time with the Father so that after the worship experience we’re all different (changed more into His likeness) than when we started out on that journey.

Too many times the “worship leaders” are simply talented musicians with no calling or anointing whatsoever to lead others into God’s presence. Their worship “set” is just that – a song list they follow to sing and play their favorite songs in front of adoring “fans” who are held captive in the church service by a sense of obligation to be there. They (the worship leaders) don’t realize their role in the service is to take us on a journey into His presence – and let us stay there a while – instead of presenting a concert.

We wind up singing more ABOUT Him than worshipping and exalting Him. We sing more requests for things FROM Him than giving Him the glory He deserves. Whatever happened to simply “I worship You, Almighty God, there is none like You?” That may be “old school” but at least the focus is on the right person – the God and Creator of the Universe!

Rule of Thumb: if the song contains more 1st Person pronouns (I, me, my, mine, our, ours, etc.) than 2nd Person (you, your, yours) or 3rd Person (he, she, it) pronouns, chances are the focus is on the wrong person.

On rare occasions when we DO find ourselves in an intimate time of worship in the Father’s presence, the tendency is to rush out of the throne room, back into the outer courts with another fast-paced, contemporary hit so we don’t lose the audience.

(When was the last time you heard anyone teach – yes, teach – from the pulpit on Sunday morning, not Sunday or Wednesday nights, about having an outer court, inner court, and holy of holies experience with God? I’m just asking … )

Life is fast-paced, frenetic, and tense. When we drag ourselves out of bed early on Sunday morning (a day of rest?) and go to church, we need to experience God’s presence in such a tangible way that when we leave the house of God we are re-energized, re-purposed, and reinvigorated for another week of serving the One from Whom all things flow.

Do you agree? Your thoughts?

© Gary Stripling 2010

3 thoughts on “Modern-Day Worship – Some Thoughts

  1. Several years have passed since this phrase ‘rang’ – through my spirit. “I want to break through to you so that I can break through, through you” It (the phrase) morphed into a notion that such was the case with the Father in my particular sphere of influence not because I am special, but becasue I am specialized.

    I have a dear friend who’s cousin was a renowned revivalist who spoke of ‘thanking Him until the spirit of praise comes – praising Him until the Glory comes – and then standing In His Glory, in other words – the very inner court/outer court/most holy place of which you speak.

    It is a shame that the expression of worship in America has become the platform driven excercise that it has. As a worship leader who is cognizant of this paradigm, I have wrestled with this particular principality that would suggest that the His Presence I am seeking to facilliate others into – is in ‘them’ – for I/We/They are the temple of the Holy Ghost and the righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost (The Kingdom of God) is truly, truly within.

    I love the musicial/creative art forms that embody worship – but the many who don’t identify from the inside out concerning the traditional worship team musical paradigm -have been disenfranchised from their very lives as being an His expression of worship.

    Without this personal revelation of what it is to be a believer outside of church – how might they actually lead another to Him let alone reflect the fruit of a believer as described in Mark 16:17 …..17 And these signs will follow those who believe…..not seeing this much in the so called church of America – into who’s presence are people being led after the music fades and all is swept away?

  2. Gary,

    You and I come from the same generation of worship explorers. We started out seeking to find God and draw closer to HIM. Church was not enough for me and I would go home and sit and play and sing songs of worship for 2 or 3 hours. It was there that I found a place of intimacy with the Lord.

    I agree with you about today’s worship. What bothers me most is the fact that leaders have given in to the notion that more talent equals better worship. Having been a leader that focused on taking people into the presence of the Lord and lingering there, it’s also easy for me to see that many of the leaders have no clue on how to get there much less find themselves in a familiar place.

    Thanks for sharing and keep telling the truth — no matter what!

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