Yes, Our Worship Offering to God is a Performance.

A friend of mine writes asking for an opinion on worship as a performance.  He says that his worship leader wants to cut out the bridge part of the song My Soul Magnifies the Lord by Chris Tomlin because it is too much of a performance.  The Worship Leader in question says that we need to “judiciously choose performance aspects” of the songs that we do.

I don’t want to use the iWorshipYahweh space to discuss whether or not the worship leader in this church is right or wrong.  He needs to make decisions for his church as he sees fit.  What I’m interested in talking about is the idea of worship as a performance.

This is what I said to my friend (edited slightly to make more sense on this blog):

“Performance: the act of performing; of doing something successfully; using knowledge as distinguished from merely possessing it.

“Our worship offering to God is a performance.  The idea that it is not is just silly worship leader speak that just confuses and makes for senseless cliché (which is exactly what the church needs).

“I have often noticed (Disclaimer, I’m not saying or suggesting that this is your situation, this is something that you have to determine on your own) that people who say ‘this isn’t a performance, this is worship’ say that sort of thing (or its 10,000 variations) to justify doing a poor job on their worship offering.  ‘We don’t have to rehearse because this isn’t a concert and so it doesn’t have to be perfect’ is all too common a sentiment.  Can somebody remind me again where God tells us to give Him less?

“In my opinion, if you want to do a song, do the song.  Do the parts that you can do well, leave out the parts that you can’t do well (I call this arranging).  Justifying things by saying “we aren’t going to do this part because of <insert vague spiritual cliché>” is just silly.

“Virtually all forms of worship are performances (really, everything anybody does is a performance).  Do your best for God first, use what He gives you, this will inherently lead to you serving your fellow man kind as God intends for you to serve.

“The music that I play with my brothers and sisters on Sunday mornings is just as much worship as my piano recitals and concerts were.  Interestingly enough, one prepared me for the other. Cheating on one would have cheated the other.”

What are your thoughts on worship as a performance?

Another bloggers thoughts on worship as a performance.


2 Responses to “Yes, Our Worship Offering to God is a Performance.”

  1. bhmcintosh Says:

    Some definition of terms is necessary here. When our worship leader cautions against “performance”, he’s not in any way implying that we should play with anything less than verve, enthusiasm and excellence. What he’s after is, I guess, watching for for “showboating” or playing for the oohs and aahs of the congregation. We are definitely offering up a performance, but not for the adulation of men; the cliche of which I keep reminding myself is “playing for an audience of One”.

  2. iworshipyahweh Says:

    I agree with your thoughts here. It seems, though, most of the time I see this comment made, it is to squelch verve, enthusiasm, and excellence.

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