Keep Calm: It’s Not Your Fault

Posted by Sean Gallagher on June 3, 2014 Blog | | No comments

keep calmSo, a friend sent me an article and asked me to read it and give him some feedback.  Here’s a link to read it for yourself; Are We Headed For A Crash? Reflections On The Current State of Evangelical Worship.  I don’t normally post things that are directly confrontational but I felt this was a necessary evil.   I’ve seen several articles and blogs lately hammering worship leaders without, in my opinion, a good basis for such conjecture.  I understand most of what I’ve read is only an opinion but it’s an opinion many seem to share.  Before I give my rebuttal, please understand this is in no way an assault on the author of the article at all.  This is simply a different perspective which I believe has been overlooked and not even remotely considered.  With that said, here’s part one…

The idea that evangelical worship is heading for a crash and the sole reason rests on worship leaders everywhere, is ridiculously far fetched.   If that’s the case, then the church would’ve seen its demise after some high profile mega-church pastors, leaders, televangelists and the like had moral failures.  The reason it hasn’t happened is because God said His church would stand against hell and be victorious!  The church isn’t going away and neither is worship of the One who birthed it.  So rest assured there isn’t a crash headed our way any time soon.

There is a problem however, but it isn’t with the worship leaders or our modern worship.  The problem is with the way we think.  We “think” as if we’re part of a democracy when in reality we’re part of a kingdom.  We forget all too quickly we’ve freely chosen to become a citizen of a kingdom who has an Eternal King whose name is Jesus!  We need to remember, while we are children of the King, we’re still subject to the King and there is an established hierarchy. The King’s authority flows from the top down.  Pastors have authority given to them by God.  Now, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but most worship leaders are not autonomous.  They actually have to answer to their pastor (even if they aren’t paid staff).  This is how God set it up.  If you believe worship leaders are “shot callers” and only choose songs they want to sing and music they want to play, you’d be sadly mistaken.  Every worship leader is subject to the pastor and the vision God has given him for that specific body of believers.  I say that to say this.  Because of the unrivaled success of churches such as Life Church and others, pastors looking for similar success in growth and attendance often adopt procedure, protocol and philosophies used by these churches that have absolutely nothing to do with what or why God called them where they are.   God never intended for us to take someone else’s instructions and apply them to what we’ve been called to do.   What God spoke to Pastor Craig Groeschel was not necessarily meant to become a blue print for everyone looking to grow or expand their church.  What he has accomplished should be respected and honored but not necessarily because of his methods but rather his obedience to God’s word for him.  God expects us to come before His throne and get our own set of instructions from Him personally.   When we don’t do that it results in cookie-cutter services from church to church.   We learn what to expect and what we will experience while in attendance.  We’ve reduced it all down to a formula, a philosophy.  Thus, our thinking becomes warped.  The smaller churches want to look and sound like the larger churches so they can be “relevant”.   The more “relevant” you are the more people will come to your church.  This, of course, results in a higher percentage of unsaved people attending your church.  With a higher percentage of unsaved people in attendance, the temptation to dial back the truth-o-meter quite a bit during the sermon becomes almost impossible to withstand.  Too much truth and people may become offended and not come back.  Worship then becomes more about what people are familiar with and what they will like all the while making sure they know the songs because they need to be familiar, otherwise “they just won’t worship if they don’t know the lyrics”.   Well I’m sad to say, the words of the song aren’t the reason they’re not worshiping.   People’s worship is not tied up in whether or not they’re familiar with a song or if the lyrics are easy to learn.  It may help, but ultimately that doesn’t affect their participation during a worship service.  A person’s worship is directly proportional to how they view their forgiveness from God (Luke 7:46-48).  If we aren’t confronted with the greatness and majesty of our King in all His glory in comparison to our weak, frail, inglorious, pathetic sin-filled self, we will continue to deceive ourselves.  The conviction of God isn’t Him telling you “you’re going to hell, turn or burn”.   The conviction of God occurs when our eyes are opened to see who we really are and our desperate need for Him after catching a glimpse of who He is in all His glory.  When we truly see our every day need for Him, what He has taken us from and where He has brought us, our worship becomes extravagant; not something we only do if we know the words of a song, or we aren’t bored or we think the worship leader isn’t pompous and into him or herself.  Our eyes, at that point, aren’t focused on anything other than our Creator, Redeemer, Savior, Healer, Sustainer, Comforter, Warrior, Counselor….shall I go on?  If you’re mentally checked out during a worship service because the songs aren’t familiar or you’ve just never heard them before then in my opinion you’re focused on the wrong thing and you’re worship to the King has become conditional.  That’s a dangerous place to be.

to be continued…