Blog Archives

What Is The Real Problem With Today’s Evangelical Worship?

I had to share this post. We should all put this to use – J.S.

 

What Is The Real Problem With Today’s Evangelical Worship? – David Santistevan — May 27, 2014

 

What is the state of worship in your church?

What is the state of worship in your church?

There’s a popular article floating around about the current state of modern worship.

Many of the points I would agree with. I’m thankful that Jamie is addressing these hard questions and fostering some great conversations.

But at the same time, I also want to present a perspective that I feel is missing.

None of this is new. None of these problems are new.

I don’t believe we are headed for a worship crash because these conversations and wars have been going on since the church has worshiped together in corporate fashion.

No, we are not headed for a crash. We are going to be OK.

But there is still a major problem.

 

The Real Problem

The problem with modern worship isn’t the lights.

The problem with modern worship isn’t the writing and singing of original music. Matter of fact, I believe we need more songwriters writing more songs…better songs.

The problem isn’t the dimly lit room.

The problem isn’t the big rock band and creative music.

For starters, let’s consider the alternative. We could install more bright, fluorescent lights in our churches. We could take away the band and have acapella worship or a simple piano.

We could even remove the stage, placing the musicians on the floor with the congregation. We could do away with all creativity in the gathered church.

This may help for a season, but the core issue would remain untouched, unexamined.

 

What’s the real problem?

Our hearts don’t know their need for Christ. We are not desperate. We are not broken. We don’t approach Sunday with expectant, faith-filled, repentant hearts. We aren’t hungry for Jesus.

I know these are general statements and don’t apply to everyone. But this is more of our problem than what types of tools we use in the worship of God.

I am too satisfied with this world. My eyes are filled with everything but Christ. My heart longs for influence, power, money, and earthly security more than the treasures of heaven. That is my problem. That is our problem.

 

Pastor Your Creative Expression

So rather than a bashing of the fog machine, let’s repent and look to Jesus. Let’s allow our eyes to be filled with His brightness, his beauty, His truth.

If anything, when done well, music, creativity, lighting, projection, and fog machines can help us visualize the glory of God in new ways. They can help us see what heaven may be like. Heaven will have sights and sounds that are unlike anything we’ve ever imagined.

It’s all how you use these tools, explain these tools, and pastor your creative expression.

Distraction in worship comes from a distracted heart, not from creative ideas. My distracted heart will always look for something or someone to blame rather than facing my own apathy. I see this in myself all the time.

Think about the most inspiring worshiper you know. Believe me, they will love Jesus no matter what form the expression takes.

 

Is Performance a Problem?

I’m not sure performancism is the problem either. When I go to church, I want to hear from a Pastor who has studied, rehearsed, prayed over, and developed his sermon. His excellent performance of the sermon will help its truth speak louder to all the worshipers.

Same with a worship leader. Sure, I don’t want a worship leader who just performs worship songs for his own glory. I think we can agree we’re not into that. But I do want a worship leader who is conscious of his excellent performance so the gathered church can worship the Savior without distraction.

I don’t think performance is such a bad word. It speaks to caring deeply, preparing fully, and loving your people. But make sure you focus your “preparation” and “performance” on getting people to engage and sing.

We don’t want a room of spectators, though that’s not always a a terrible sign. Spectators may be a sign that your church is reaching unchurched people, which is beautiful!

 

What’s Next?

Worship leaders, it’s about your downright desperation for Jesus and your pastoral care for people that matters.

You can do both of these things with progressive music, fog, lights, and air tight programming. You can also subtract these tools and sing “I Exalt Thee” every weekend and miss the point of loving Jesus and helping other do the same.

Maybe you want to simplify your services for a season, like Jaime suggests. But the most important action step is to fight hard to stay amazed by God. Humble yourself and you’ll be ready to worship come rock show or Bach invention.

It’s all for Him – from Him and to Him and for Him.

Worship Leader, I love you. I care about my church, your church, and the quality of our corporate worship experiences. Let’s continue to keep it real.

Are you paying attention to your friends?

It has been a very long while since last I made a blog post. So many things have happened during that time, yet for one of the few times in my life, I chose not to share them. Sure I shared some of the events on Facebook and Twitter, but with only minimum detail. What I did share was either something that many people had either known about or I had shared about in my past. But still I kept the information to a minimum.

If you took a look at my Facebook “friend” list you would see well over 600 people. Take a look at the “KIDS FIGHT CLUB” Facebook page and I have almost 900. And then there is the basically lifeless “SUTHUN MUSIK” page with its paltry 280 friends, most of which are already my friends on Facebook. I will get to my point on these numbers in a moment.

This isn’t a cry out for me. The close friends that I have are for the most part paying attention. They may not always understand what’s going on, but they do pay attention. I wonder if it’s the same for you?

* Do they notice when you are down?

* Do they notice when you are absent from your normal social media routine?

* Can they read between the lines about how you are feeling?

There is a message somewhere in that silence. There is something going on behind those little innuendoes and distant eyes. Sometimes a silent voice speaks louder than a lion’s roar.

Don’t let social media be the only link between family and friends. Reach out to them with a call, a card, or an old-fashioned letter. Be a light in the darkness. Without these things all those so-called “friends” mean very little.
studio2

Why do christians still struggle with depression?

Although I have had my share of breaks away from the local church, I have been what I would call a practicing christian for some time. I love leading worship and giving God glory and praise. I should do fairly well when I get to heaven in that regard. But even though I am pretty much steeped in the word of God and working daily to try to walk in a christ-like manner, I still get attacked by my share of demons. The largest of those demons for me is depression.

Now, I know we christians are supposed to be able to shake off the depression demon with a raising of a hand, bowing of the head, and a loud “SATAN BE GONE!” Sometimes that works for me too. But for the most part I forget about that stuff and find myself in a downward spiral into a deep dark funk. Sure, I take medication for it. Over the years that medication has changed, as has the strength. I’m not ashamed to share that with you either because I know that someone out there in Blogger land struggles with the same thing. But even with the medications, and the knowledge that God can relieve the stranglehold of depression, we still tend to keep ourselves there in the darkness for way longer than we should.

Psalm 40:1-3

(1) I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. (2) He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. (3) And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.

Depression is no laughing matter. Too many times it is taken too lightly by those around us who may not ever understand what is going on inside you. Usually someone who is severely depressed either shares nothing at all about what’s going on in their heads, or they share so much that the people they are associated with eventually just don’t want to be around them anymore. Neither of these is going to help. We can’t rely on others to help get us out of the depressed mode. And we can never do it ourselves either. The first thing we have to do is give it to God. Stay focused on that request. Pray for Him to take this burden off you, and continue until he does. I’m not suggesting that you drop the medications by no means. God may be helping you out by putting you in a position to get treatment. You can’t put God in a box and expect him to use just one way of coming to your aid. He will put people and things in your path to help you overcome the depression. That includes doctors and the medications they prescribe. Needless to say if you feel you are dealing with depression pray for first and ask God to assist you. If you feel the nudge to go to a doctor then go! Don’t put it off.

Sounds like I have all the answers? No. I still struggle with it every day. I have good days and bad days. But I am aware of it and I recognize immediately what I have to do to move forward. I pray that this article reaches you, that it lets you know you are not alone with this. If you are feeling depressed I ask you to join the conversation. Let’s talk about it and share our feelings. I am here to help you. If you want to keep the conversation private please email me at johnshelton58@gmail.com.

May God bless you and carry you through your struggles.

John S.

Definition of Me

Forget who I was.
Know who I am.
Don’t ask me to go back.
I am only moving forward.
If you need me to be someone else
Then you need to find someone else.
I no longer crawl in the shadows.
I walk in the Light.

– John S.

%d bloggers like this: