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