Monday, October 01, 2007

It's All about Us

It’s all about Us

Sally Morgenthaler in her article Worship as Evangelism published in September 2007 issue of NEXT-WAVE e-zine takes a long hard look at worship in the megachurches and contemporary worship as evangelism for the unchurched. She came away convinced that we have missed the path somehow and are now lost.

On the good occasions, the worship experience was transporting. (I dug a little deeper when that happened. Invariably, I found another value at work behind the worship production: a strong, consistent presence in the community.) Too many times, I came away with an unnamed, uneasy feeling. Something was not quite right. The worship felt disconnected from real life. Then there were the services when the pathology my friend talked about came right over the platform and hit me in the face. It was unabashed self-absorption, a worship culture that screamed, "It's all about us" so loudly that I wondered how any visitor could stand to endure the rest of the hour.


Were these worship-driven churches really attracting the unchurched? Most of their pastors truly believed they were. And in a few cases, they were right. The worship in their congregations was inclusive, and their people were working hard to meet the needs of the neighborhood. Yet those churches whose emphasis was dual—celebrated worship inside, lived worship outside—were the minority. In 2001 a worship-driven congregation in my area finally did a survey as to who they were really reaching, and they were shocked. They'd thought their congregation was at least 50 percent unchurched. The real number was 3 percent.

read the complete article here



Maybe it is time we take a real hard look at our worship service and see what it is all about.


may God have mercy

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6 Comments:

Blogger pearlie said...

It is late but this is one topic that is close to my heart. I cannot remember how long since I have served in the worship and music ministry - 20 years? More than that I think. I have learnt a lot, made a lot of mistakes, learnt a lot more, and made a lot more mistakes.
Anyway, as I said it is late now - I will surely come back and read and give my 2-cents :)

God bless!

1:34 AM  
Anonymous splim said...

If our worship is not God-centered, then we are missing the whole point however noble our intention (whatever that may be) is.

7:54 AM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

hi pearlie,

will look forward to your wonderful insight when you are well rested.

11:29 AM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

hi splim,

welcome. I agree with you whole heartedly. It not about us.

11:29 AM  
Blogger pearlie said...

Haha ... i don't have 2-cents! I did not quite identify with the article because I don't think I am much exposed to megachurches. The only other time I have experienced such "worship frenzy", if I may use that phrase, was during the worship rallies back in the 90s, and I did have what she termed as the "unnamed, uneasy feeling" sometimes. But even though if we have not caught on, we are still exposed to the songs, some of which may not be theologically sound.

One very good example is this song by Paul Baliche and Lenny Leblanc, Above All:

Above all powers, above all kings,
Above all nature and all created things.
Above all wisdom and all the ways of man,
You were here before the world began.
Above all kingdoms, above all thrones.
Above all wonders this world has ever known.
Above all wealth and treasures of the earth,
There¹s no way to measure what you¹re worth.

Crucified, laid behind the stone,
You lived and died, rejected and alone.
Like a rose, trampled on the ground
You took the fall, and thought of me, above all.


I actually like the tune and the dynamics of this song but I have huge problems with the chorus:
(1) Jesus never took the metaphor of a rose
(2) Jesus never took the simile of being trampled on the ground, he was literally hung on the cross
(3) Jesus never took the fall - Scripturally referring to the fall of Adam, the fall of man
(4) "and thought of me, above all" is about the most I-me-and-myself as one can ever get. The verse talks about Jesus being above all kings and authority, all powers and wisdom and at the climax/conclusion of the song, he puts me above all?

12:30 AM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

hi pearlie,

You are so right. We have to be careful about the theology of our choruses. The tune is so catchy that we are often distracted fro the lyrics.

The rose is often associated with Mary Magdalene in Christian symbolism.

I often wonder about this Jesus referred to in this song. Is this the same Jesus I know?

11:28 AM  

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