One of the things I keep hearing is people’s opinion about worship services. I appreciate the fact that God has made us all different and all have different tastes, but I just wonder with the comments I hear whether perhaps we haven’t taken our eyes of the major purpose for worship and focus too much attention on the minor things.
We all know we come to worship because God is worthy of our worship. Not only is He our Creator God, He is also the One who has redeemed us in Christ from a hopeless way of life to one that is now full of purpose, hope, and surety of eternal salvation. He has given us His Holy Spirit to remind us that we are His children and that He is the deposit guaranteeing our glorious inheritance. Of course, there are more reasons why we worship including God’s daily provision of our needs, but these are all secondary to our wonderful salvation.
Having stated the obvious above, the duly appointed leadership of any Christian fellowship have the God-given responsibility to ensure that when the congregation comes to worship they can do just that! Hence, the place of worship, the building, the seating arrangement, the message brought by the preacher, the singing of praises, the music, the data projection, should all be structured to enhance the worship of God by the congregation. The one thing that should not happen is that people are distracted from worshipping our glorious Saviour God. For most Christians, we only have one hour a week, possibly two, where we can come together for worship, so let’s make it a time when God is most glorified and we His people can be properly engaged in worship, having every opportunity in offering the praises that are due to Him.
Since space is limited, let me briefly mention four things that are central for worship. First, the gospel needs to be proclaimed. Whoever has been appointed to bring the message must ensure that the congregation’s hearts and minds are directed to the greatest reason for worship, namely, what God the Father has done for us through His Son. This reason alone gives God the Father the greatest delight. So worship services where Christ is barely mentioned, if at all, takes away the core element for Christian worship, more than that, it denies Jesus, the very person which all Scripture is about (Lk 24:44). Second, the music needs to enhance the worship. It should be at a level where it leads the congregation in singing praises to God and not be at a level where the praises can no longer be heard. Third, in today’s technological world, if we use data screens or system that assist the sound, it should be done with some professionalism. There is nothing worse than when the sound is poor or the screen operator has failed to move to the next slide during the singing. Fourth, a more general concern for all, our behaviour and those for whom we are responsible for should not cause others to be distracted from worship.
There are also things that the members of the congregation gathered for worship should do. First, pray. Pray that your mindset might be one of worship so that you can focus on what God has done for you in Christ. Pray that your mind may not be one where you are looking for things to critique. Second, don’t allow petty things that occur, to rob you of your opportunity to worship. So what if the preacher doesn’t wear a tie. So what if the musicians were a bit loud (or too soft) during one song – they’re human. So what if the data screen didn’t move on in time. So what if the baby cries occasionally – that is what babies do. So what if someone has taken your usual seat – it’s not your seat to start with. All these things happen on occasions, and yes, they can be annoying, but don’t allow these things to rob God of the worship that is due to Him.
Perhaps we need to be reminded on occasions that we don’t come to worship ourselves or each other. Nor is worship about whether we are ‘comfortable’ with everything that happens. Things happen, times change, but our glorious God does not change. Therefore, may it be our prayer that the Lord will be pleased with our worship every Sunday and that His name will be glorified amongst us for He is worthy. JZ.