Archive for the ‘Cliche’ Category

Distractions during worship

June 29, 2010

Today I read a number of blogs that labored over things that happen during worship that might be distracting to the worshiper.

Worrying about whether or not our worship offering to God is distracting to somebody just seems silly.  What is the Biblical precedence for this kind of thinking?  I can’t think of anything – sure there are passages that warn us about doing things for our own gain – but that isn’t the same as worrying about being distracting.

When it comes to our worship offering we need to be concerned with excellence.  Not whether or not person A or B is going to be distracted by something that is going on during the service.  I have said this a thousand times: if somebody is distracted from giving God his due during our corporate worship offering, then the problem isn’t the thing that distracted him in the first place, the problem is the individual’s lack of discipline when it comes to worshiping God.

Back when I was learning to fly planes, I had an instructor who would jab me and throw things at me while I was working out particularly complicated problems.  He did this while we were on the ground, he would do this while we were in the air.  He would make me put on a hood and then make me put my head between my legs (as much as you can do in a little plane) then completely disorient the plane.  Then he would say “OK, fix it.  You have 10 seconds”.  So while I’m assessing and fixing, he would complicate things by hitting me in the head with the Snickers bar that he had in his pocket (this is probably why I don’t like Snickers anymore).

While it was annoying, and even angering, it really helped me learn to focus in tight situations.  Seems to me that if we want to make worshipers less distracted, the goal should be to allow more distractions during worship service (though, I’m not sure how to do this and accomplish excellence).

Is Blended Worship Effective?

May 7, 2010

An expert weighs in. Blended worship doesn’t work very well. An interesting take on a creative attempt to keep people happy!

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I was reading Rich Kirkpatrick’s blog post called “Contemplations & Conversations on Creative Leadership: ‘Too Good’ Part 3”.

The entire series is actually pretty good, but what really caught my attention are some of the comments he makes about “blended worship”:

“One of my favorite ‘old school’ contemporary Christian songs is Steve Taylor’s “I Want to Be A Clone.” We homogenize rather than synergize. Like a blender creating slop, we put two independently perfect items and destroy their uniqueness. This is why “blended worship” is not as effective as ministries that choose to have services with a focus. It seems far better to have a traditional service done with excellence than to mix Steve Fee on a pipe organ or Isaac Watts with a banjo. Actually, the Isaac Watts thing sounds cool, I have to admit.

“Now, I am not against blended worship, I am just concerned about the purpose some have in neutering art in their church. If you cannot pull off modern worship to sound its best or traditional worship to sound its best why try? Why not program what you can accomplish uniquely well?

“Indigenous worship is a far better choice. We use that word in global missions, but I think for worship and creativity in the local church that it makes perfect sense. The concept is that it should be important to tell our faith community’s story. While we should not be afraid to jump on trends and movements of God’s Spirit around the world, it should be our staple to make our expressions of worship flavored and colored by the stories of God’s presence and work locally.”

Perhaps this caught my attention because this is something I talk about frequently here and other places. Don’t try to do something that God didn’t equip you to do. Some churches force traditional worship styles when they don’t have the musicians / vocalists to pull it off. MANY churches try to pull off certain contemporary worship styles when they don’t have the people with the skills. The net result is a sloppy worship offering to God.

Another question that came to mind while reading this article: I know TONS of churches that do blended worship. I don’t know of a single one that I would call effective at the Great Commission. Every single one that I can think of plateaus at a relatively small number.

Honestly, until I read this, I never actually thought that forcing blended worship might actually be a bad idea.

What are your thoughts on blended worship?
What does your church do here?
Is your church growing and adding to it’s numbers?

Yes, Our Worship Offering to God is a Performance.

February 11, 2010

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.