Are we asking our people to make out with God too soon?

A friend of mine tweeted something the other day that caught my attention.

Anyone else concerned that congregations in Modern Worship have become observers instead of participants/singers? People just stand & stare”

Then another friend who is a worship leader echoed with a Re-tweet and a “yes!”.

I don’t have any issues with the question or the answer that these two men gave.  I know them both and what they really want is to see people having intimate moments with God. But it did make me consider a few things about worship and how we perceive people’s actions during worship.

1. A healthy evangelically driven church will have quite a bit of “standing and staring”.
Demonstrative worship is the result of a life that is filled with the Holy Spirit.  Although a talented worship leader could probably convince people to do the “away, away, away, away, away’s” in Hillsong’s “Go” that would sound like a european soccer match right before the riot I am not sure that is a sign of health.  In fact a church that is full of fully engaged worshippers either has a fake congregation or a evangelism problem.

A large group of people not singing is a sign of a healthy church with large number of people who are far from God that have been drawn towards him, but are not in love with him yet.

2.  Sometimes we are asking people to make out with God and it freaks them out.

There were always a few people in high school who had no shame when it came to PDA. They would make out in middle of class with a boyfriend of three-minutes.  Those people are now worship leaders. (JUST JOKING) Actually those people are now mature adults who have learned to control themselves but will probably be drawn to a public demonstrative worship (PDW) a little sooner than your average accountant or Marine.

Most people are uncomfortable with PDA, even sloppy wet kisses of God.  Worship leaders who push people to get get comfortable with their PDW too quickly need to examine their motivations.

Is it because having people give you energy back makes you feel better about your worship set?

Is it because having that energy come back at you makes you feel like a rock-star?

Or is it because you truly want to see people have moments with God?

I think for most worship leaders it’s the latter with a unhealthy dose of the former (just like this pastor who likes a few amens when he preaches to puff my ego).

This is a GREAT article on this subject and the how and why of demonstrative worship.

3. Worship leaders need to become worshiper Pastors.

I know this is easy semantics but I hope it can be more.  Worship leaders lead people in worship music. Often times the worship can even become of the music because a good musical experience becomes the idol.  The measurement will easily be how much did people sing, did they clap their hands, was there a real energy in the room.  All good stuff.  Good enough I guess, but seems a little ant-climatic.  We all know people who worship well and live poorly.

Worshiper Pastors shepherd the heart of a people to take their next steps towards God by using music, media and sometimes words and silence to  promote a life given fully to Jesus.
There is a difference.  Not a huge difference that we can see, but a huge difference.

I believe in demonstrative worship.  It is one of our core values at Freedom Church.   I think God made emotions and we are to offer them to him in worship.  I just think sometimes I can be guilty of using it as a poor measuring stick.

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3 Responses to “Are we asking our people to make out with God too soon?”

  1. Lindsay April 24, 2012 at 10:51 am #

    This is good stuff. I agree with you. If you walked into our church you would see some people jumping and dancing in the aisles (some lain out on the floor) and some (like the lady who just got saved last week) standing quietly staring or smiling.

  2. Lamar April 24, 2012 at 2:39 pm #

    This article is dead on target!! I too, am excited to be a part of a church that encourgages demonstrative worship. We all need that freedom. I also agree with the comments that not everyone feels the need to worship the same way. My question to both sides: Traditionalists- Do you have your heart wrenching quiet and prayer times in a suit and tie? Demonstrative worshipers – Do we only worship that way corporately or do we do it when no one sees us? We have to be careful not to become just a “polar opposite” version of what we just received freedom from. It’s unhealthy and could even be on the verge of judgmental (which is a bondage we didn’t like being under ourselves).

  3. Gretchen Marker April 24, 2012 at 3:26 pm #

    I agree. A great leader/team who sincerely worships the Lord during the service will mirror Christ for the congregation and they won’t be able to stop the ripples. Robbie at Freedom does this well. Sometimes when he stops the music to share scripture or pray I really sense God speaking through him. Sometimes, just the countenance on a leader’s face can draw me right to the throne room. True worship energizes, fake worship drains.

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