Worship was designed
by God to be all-inclusive. If you feel the worship in your church
has become a performance rather than something you participate in,
don’t let your spirit grow toxic.
Here are five ways to
1. Check your
over your frustration only hurts you. If your worship leader senses
your irritation, he or she may simply write you off. Your nonverbal
cues come across louder than your speech patterns if you choose
Remember, there may be
such a thing as a badly written worship chorus, but we cannot afford
the luxury of a bad attitude about singing it.
2. Choose to
is amazing to me how effective the Holy Spirit is in marshalling
our prayers into meaningful change — if we will simply take
our concerns and hurts to the Lord rather than gossip about our
dissatisfaction over worship style with others.
yourself if your displeasure is valid. Are you entering into the
worship encounter each Sunday expecting to hear from the Lord —
regardless of the song list? Have you asked God to soften your heart
if you are beginning to resent the choices your worship leader is
making each week?
Next week call on the
Lord before entering the sanctuary. Ask Him for the freedom to worship
regardless of the music.
4. Compose a
you have measured your discontent, prayed about your frustration
and still there is no resolution, then maybe you are being led to
communicate with your pastoral leadership. Remember not to be defensive,
aggressive or mean-spirited. Rather, in love, try to sense the leader’s
perspective as you express yours.
Diplomacy is the call
of the day. Compromise is the order.
5. Champion your
one accepts an invitation to serve on a pastoral team with a malevolent
desire to offend or damage a congregation’s response to worship.
The challenge for a pastor or worship leader comes in trying to
lead a congregation comprised of multiple generations, replete with
varied backgrounds and tastes. There has to be a way to communicate
your concerns about the style of worship and not offend the leader
in the process.
Choosing to affirm rather
than attack is a productive communication skill when the objective
is to bring healing to a misunderstanding.
of style over substance, relative to worship wars is, in essence,
a misappropriation of balance. It is not that congregants do not
like new songs. Rather, congregants like to be fed a balanced diet
of spiritual nutrition. In the words of songwriter Paul Baloche,
“A steady diet of doctrinal hymns is like too much filet mignon.
But living on the repetitive four-line choruses is like making a
meal of potato chips. Ideal is a mix!”
Bringing a truce to the
contemporary worship war phenomenon is the right thing to do. Much
is at stake.
Worship connects us to
God and protects us from the adversary. When we worship free from
distraction and animus we hear His voice clearly. Nothing in this
world is more satisfying than being addressed by Jesus while we
We are also protected
from the lies of the enemy when we worship. Satan’s accusations
cannot penetrate our worship when we offer it wholeheartedly. Doesn’t
it stand to reason that Satan would want to keep the church fighting
over style issues, rather than contend with the breakthrough that
worship provides when believers are liberated from his shackles?
When God’s people
grasp the spiritual potential of a worship encounter, I sincerely
believe we will stop debating the relative veracity of one musical
style over another and fall down to bask in God’s awesome
presence. When Jesus is worshiped, He washes away our dissatisfaction.
Our mountains melt like wax in His presence (Psalm 97:5).
Maybe it isn’t
about us after all.
Tom McDonald, Ph.D.,
is commissioner on church worship for the Assemblies of God and
director of the National Music Department.
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