Is Evangelical Worship Headed for a HUGE Crash?

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Wayne Wilson's picture

Excellent thoughts. I think he's spot on.

"It’s the theme of performancism.

The worship leader as the performer.

The congregation as the audience.

The sanctuary as the concert hall.

It really is a problem. It really is a thing. And we really can’t allow it to become the norm."

 

Ed Vasicek's picture

Our services need to get back to Body Life and edification.  Let people share in different ways; use as many people as you can.  Instead of using Scripture readings as breaks between songs, maybe we need to make the Scripture readings more central with songs as the break, read by people who can read with meaning and feeling, and creatively interweaving portions of the Word rather than just throwing in a Psalm.  We need to include all ages and even those of minimal (but some/enough) talent so that many more are "singing to one another."

Often times, we sing too much, but contemplate too little.  More is less.  When we sing and repeat refrains over and over, we take the precious meanings out.  Like any commodity, music becomes less precious when more common.  We need fewer songs with non-professional specials, longer/more meaning Scripture readings, dramatic readings, testimonies, and prayer times (sometime opening it up to the congregation).  We have overdosed on music, which has become a form of idolatry, IMO.  Bring out the kids, the teens, the instrumental groups.  Let 'em have at it and allow the Spirit to work through the Body.  Obviously, order and reasonableness must prevail as limiting safeguards.

 

"The Midrash Detective"

DavidO's picture

One of the unintended benefits in that article is the enrichment of vocabulary provided by "performancing".

May I further propose:

performanciniste/performancinista

​performancation

performancial

​performancialism

and, sure to be everybody's favorite, performancationalism.  

Surely there are more, but this is tiring work!

Wink

AndyBern's picture

The problem I see is the focus on worship rather than the One we worship. Worship becomes something we experience rather than give to God. Worship should arise from within us as we think about who God is and what He has done, rather than be worked professionally or artistically from the outside in (not that I'm against quality and art in worship). Otherwise we lose our first love.

Andrew Bernhardt

Kevin Miller's picture

I couldn't figure out from the article what the "crash" was. If evangelical worship is headed for a HUGE "crash," then what does that crash look like?

alex o.'s picture

Ed Vasicek wrote:

Our services need to get back to Body Life and edification.  Let people share in different ways; use as many people as you can.  Instead of using Scripture readings as breaks between songs, maybe we need to make the Scripture readings more central with songs as the break, read by people who can read with meaning and feeling, and creatively interweaving portions of the Word rather than just throwing in a Psalm.  We need to include all ages and even those of minimal (but some/enough) talent so that many more are "singing to one another."

Often times, we sing too much, but contemplate too little.  More is less.  When we sing and repeat refrains over and over, we take the precious meanings out.  Like any commodity, music becomes less precious when more common.  We need fewer songs with non-professional specials, longer/more meaning Scripture readings, dramatic readings, testimonies, and prayer times (sometime opening it up to the congregation).  We have overdosed on music, which has become a form of idolatry, IMO.  Bring out the kids, the teens, the instrumental groups.  Let 'em have at it and allow the Spirit to work through the Body.  Obviously, order and reasonableness must prevail as limiting safeguards.

 

We might possibly disagree about the need for more "body life" in our assembling, but I certainly agree with more scripture reading and participation. First, the participation part: When Paul told Timothy to "remember Jesus Christ" he meant observing the Lord's Supper where every one who participates takes a stand identifying themselves as relying on Christ's finished work. They are encouraging both other believers to stand and inviting any non-believers to come to Christ. This is how the observance is "proclaiming Christ's death until He comes back".

 

Just because everyone today has access to the scriptures does not negate the injunction "to read" in assembly. This reading also provides opportunity for participation by qualified readers. The teacher (pastor) should then teach from the read portion and tie together with other scriptures where appropriate and of course urge and encourage obedience. Paul left no doubt of what is to be done when meeting together: reading, prayer, teaching, exhorting, fellowship. Assemblies should not be characterized as "concerts."

 

Both Jesus and Paul implicitly sanctioned the form of assembly of NT believers as that of the synagogue pattern where scripture is read and explained and encouragement given. Church assembly should most resemble a school not a concert performance.

 

Additionally, many Christians are confused of why we assemble together. Often folks think they are "going to church" to "give worship". Worship is part and parcel of everything a Christian does in a sense since we are to do all things in Christ's name. So while we do worship in church several distinctions need to be drawn to help us think clearly as to our purpose. Firstly, the NT church is not like the OT temple where God "set His name" and all males were to "appear before the Lord" 3 times a year. No, God now tabernacles with the Christian both individually and corporately in assembly. A fundamental shift has occurred in this age where no longer the nations have a localized "house of prayer" in the land-bridge of Israel. Now, Christ performs His work through us as we go disciple all nations. So, my point is the church should not be looked at as a place to go to give God worship as it was in the OT. 

Secondly, God doesn't need anything from us. We are the needy ones, not God. Paul succinctly states in Acts 17.25: nor is he served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives life and breath and everything to everyone. So, instead of us giving God worship, we should look for God to bless us in our assemblies. Worship should be everything we do and say and not only in assembly.

A flawed concept of the church is the Romanist idea of linking NT assembly back to the OT Temple and institutionalizing it. Christ is primarily building an organism not an organization, I would contend. Along with this institutionalizing, the tendency that goes along of this kind of thinking is to mediate access to grace and exercise undue control. These ideas are inimical to the teachings of the NT.

"Our faith itself... is not our saviour. We have but one Saviour; and that one Saviour is Jesus Christ our Lord.  B.B. Warfield

http://beliefspeak2.net

Mark_Smith's picture

alex o. wrote:

Both Jesus and Paul implicitly sanctioned the form of assembly of NT believers as that of the synagogue pattern where scripture is read and explained and encouragement given. Church assembly should most resemble a school not a concert performance.

Now that is interesting Alex. I have been reading several "how to give an expository sermon" books lately and they all come at it from the "let's give a really great speech" approach. The preacher pours his heart into the outline, the illustrations, the scriptures referenced, and how to polish the sermon. But when it is given, he talks and people are supposed to listen, but how many really are? How many are thinking about lunch? Or grocery shopping? Or the football game? Or any of a thousand other things.

I think it is helpful to keep the listener engaged with more of a teaching format. Ask questions. Stop when you are ready to quote a Scripture. Expect the congregation to turn to it in their Bible, etc. 

I love to listen to great preaching but I am shocked at how often they simply refer to Scripture without mentioning the verse, or quickly quote it without stopping to let it sink in or for me to find it in my Bible. 

How can I worship God in the preaching of His Word if I don't know what verse is being quoted or referred to, or if I don't lay eyes on it myself?

Mark_Smith's picture

as a college professor and preacher/teacher I find that many today don't engage with the written word. Somehow for many the act of reading doesn't get the words to sink into the brain. They don't connect with it...So, I think the modern preacher needs to realize that and help the people to not only mature in the gospel, but mature in "reading skills". Maybe not all visual illustrations aren't bad at first? We need to take it slow with the written word to help teach people to learn what written words, sentences, and paragraphs of logical argument in Scripture means.

This crosses over into worship with people not connecting to the words in the song, but rather the experience of singing, the rhythm, the melody, etc. They don't know how to contemplate on words or ideas! Further, I think this is leading to the flourishing of experienced-based Christianity with tongues, personal prophecy, etc. Too many don't connect with written words, but they will to "words from the Lord" to them.

alex o.'s picture

accidental post. I don't know what happened.

"Our faith itself... is not our saviour. We have but one Saviour; and that one Saviour is Jesus Christ our Lord.  B.B. Warfield

http://beliefspeak2.net

alex o.'s picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

as a college professor and preacher/teacher I find that many today don't engage with the written word. Somehow for many the act of reading doesn't get the words to sink into the brain. They don't connect with it...So, I think the modern preacher needs to realize that and help the people to not only mature in the gospel, but mature in "reading skills". Maybe not all visual illustrations aren't bad at first? We need to take it slow with the written word to help teach people to learn what written words, sentences, and paragraphs of logical argument in Scripture means.

This crosses over into worship with people not connecting to the words in the song, but rather the experience of singing, the rhythm, the melody, etc. They don't know how to contemplate on words or ideas! Further, I think this is leading to the flourishing of experienced-based Christianity with tongues, personal prophecy, etc. Too many don't connect with written words, but they will to "words from the Lord" to them.

Mark, I think you are in a good position (as a preacher/teacher) to acquaint folks to a more cognitive approach to the words of God. After all, the injunction to love the Lord with all our minds has not been abrogated. Further, consider the warning of James 3 where he says that "we as teachers will be judged more strictly". James includes himself here and I don't think he ran a school, but was the ruling elder at the church at Jerusalem. So this tells us that the main function of the pastorate is teaching. Yes, the pastor has to wear many hats, so to speak, but teaching is the primary role he is to fulfill.

"Our faith itself... is not our saviour. We have but one Saviour; and that one Saviour is Jesus Christ our Lord.  B.B. Warfield

http://beliefspeak2.net