Wednesday, March 12, 2008
What Makes Worship Good?
I have spent considerable time with the staff over the past few weeks talking about worship. We have discussed ways to make worship “better,” and we’ll be implementing some of them soon. That got me thinking – what is good worship? Can we even use words like “good” or “better” about worship? How do we evaluate a worship assembly? I’ve heard people say things like, “Last Sunday the worship was just awesome.” What makes a worship experience “awesome?”
I’ve had worship experiences that left me with a buzz afterward. So what? I’ve also been to movies and concerts that did the same thing. I’m not saying experience is bad. I’m all for designing worship services that help people experience God. I have to wonder though, if maybe we shouldn’t be taking a longer timeline into account when we evaluate worship. Rather than focusing so much on temporary weekly experiences that help people get their “God fix,” we should also be looking at the long-term trajectory of our assemblies and asking: “Are the people worshipping here gradually becoming more and more like Christ?” If they’re not, it doesn’t matter how “awesome” the worship feels. There is something wrong. God isn’t interested in our having cool weekly worship experiences while here on earth. He wants every aspect of our lives to be acts of worship to Him. Maybe that’s the problem. We see worship as something that ends with the final prayer on Sunday morning. What if we saw our lives as a never-ending worship experience being critiqued, not by us, but by God?
After a worship assembly someone once said to author, Marva Dawn, “I didn’t get anything out of that worship.” She replied, “So what – we didn’t come to worship you!” What are some of your most memorable (and forgetful) worship experiences?