In our church (and I suspect in yours too), we spend time and energy making a good impression. We want our worship services to be as free from distractions as possible, so we work hard to make sure that the music, sound, lights, and visuals are free from error and problems. A buzz in the sound system, a typo in the lyrics, a wrong chord from the musicians – all are scrutinized and fixed before the time of corporate gathering.
As a part of our worship team, I get this. We want the focus to be away from the tools and on the One who created the tools. So hear my heart with what I am about to say, because I have been on both sides of this table – the one in the congregation, and the one on the stage.
Sometimes we focus so much on making sure the mechanics are right that we forget to make sure that our hearts are right.
I have attended worship services and been distracted by unprofessional behavior on stage. We visited a church where a member of the worship team was leaning against the wall with her foot propped up on the wall behind her while singing and leading worship. Sloppy behavior on stage communicates the idea that what is happening during the music part of the service is not important. (And let’s not get started on worship leaders who tell corny jokes throughout the service. Ugh.)
On the other hand, I have been to polished, professional services where so much energy was put into making the service entertaining that there was very little room for worship to happen, much less for a movement of the Holy Spirit.
I believe that God wants us to approach worship with excellence. If we are commanded to do our work “as unto the Lord” (Col. 3:23), then how much more so should our times of worship be filled with our best work.
And yet, there needs to be a balance, especially for those of us who serve in our churches’ music ministries. FIRST, our hearts must be right. We must have a heart that longs to see God exalted by His people. We must pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit to bring revival to our cities, starting with our own church. Then and only then can we rightly begin to consider all of the secondary aspects of modern worship.
Technology will come and go. Worship styles will come and go. But true worship by God’s people remains unchanged. God longs for worshippers who desire to see Him pour out His Spirit today.