I was thinking/meditating on the topic of “worship by singing” last week and have made some personal observations. It seems that we may have created a contentment with the worship singing aspect of worship services as something that leads into something.
For instance, ministry professionals seem to be content, and to even confess the strategy of having the worship singing or music lead into a sermon, or “prepare the people to hear the word.” Others have used a certain worship style to attract people to their churches… in order for them to hear a sermon to convince them to become a Christian. Others might use songs (even those that are not explicitly Christian) to help people to be reminded about their church when they hear the song on the radio, “Hey, our church played this song last week.”
In each of these scenarios, including some that remain unmentioned, worship is a “means to an end.” Worship is being used for something else.
– To prepare people to hear a sermon
– To attract people to a church because of a music style… to hear a sermon
– To help people connect themselves to a local church body
This is not a punitive judgment on ministries or ministry professionals who honor these values. But, if this is our value, if this is our practice, let’s just name it and be ok with it; we want worship through song to function as a subordinate function to other ministry activity.
Or maybe we are not ok with that. Maybe we truly want worship to be a sacrifice of our lips that praises God (Hebrews 13:15)… and that’s it. That’s the end of it. The operative power of worship is to give God thanks; God alone is the benefactor. We may not receive something from it, like we would in a sermon, or more worship participants because of a style, etc. But, maybe that is the point of it all.