Dying 2 Live...!

Dying 2 Live...!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

TRENDWATCHING: "Stellar Worship Services"

As we conclude this short mini-series on "Trendwatching" it is only fitting to inform you, trends aren't always bad. But the church has to realize we shouldn't automatically assume, they're always good, either. Ultimately, God should be the primary one directing a local church and the international church body as a whole, not mankind. In addition, ideas and concepts are good when filtered through God's direction. Too often, we ignore the Godly filtration, being more concerned with enjoying worship service on a grandiose scale. 

If it's working massively for someone else's ministry; that's no outright correlation that it'll work the same for yours. One of the more widely-known areas where this can be easily seen is in "worship services." All of a sudden, worship services have to be "stellar." They have to become super-impressive and copycat trends of the latest and most fanciest Sunday services of our day. Here are 5 things that'll explain better what I mean:

Cutting-edge Multimedia Presentations

Stellar worship services must now be filled with cutting-edge interactive multimedia. These presentations must be grandiose and eye-catching. So for the smaller local church who can't afford these; they feel left out and ineffective in competing to retain visiting guests. Because the guests want to see technology galore: flashing lights, smoke, animation, elite graphics, high-definition visual effects and so on. Wow, what a display! It's all well and dandy to have a million-dollar multimedia setup. But it is not necessary for an impactful worship service. "But, Mark...you need to wake up...we're in the 21st century. This is how things go!" And again, I would respond, "but, it's not necessary! It's nice but not needed." If a local church can afford it without going nearly broke, demanding multiple sacrificial offerings to foot the bill, then go for it. But God can do more, even today, without all the theatrics. There's ONLY 1 thing needful, and Jesus believed that was Him and His message (Luke 10:38-42). Just like the scripture, individuals can become so distracted by their serving and stellar presentations; that they lose sight of God Himself.

Perfect Sounding Boards

Stellar worship services must now be controlled by perfect sounding boards. The sound has to be crisp and delightful. We should be able to hear a pin drop in the room. And of course, top-notch microphones, keyboards, drums, and guitars must be used in conjunction with the sound board. Monitors and speakers must be so in sync that guests, attenders and members feel like they're at an IMAX theater. Wow, what an experience! Again, none of this is truly necessary. It's nice but not needed. The Bible is clear that Jesus and the apostles spoke to multitudes of people at a time, thousands. Surprisingly, there were no sounding boards and they heard what was said. The people were more interested in what was being said more than how crisp it was sounding. So they made a conscious decision to listen more intently. And let's not think there weren't distractions. Noises came from people doing business in the market, birds flying above, waves crashing the sea, side conversations, etc. In spite of all that, they still chose to listen in. Now, I clearly understand the purpose behind using a sounding board. And again, if your local church can afford it without nearly going broke, then go for it. But the desire for the perfection of sound can become a distraction to the bigger picture of the worship service. Individuals can get all worked up because the sound wasn't perfect that they fail to listen more intently.

Concert-level Music

Stellar worship services must develop concert-level music. In other words, the praise and worship must coincide well with the prior two subjects, and then some. It has to be on point! The praise team or choir must seek out individuals with the most melodious voices. The praise team leader, lead singer or choir director is nearly worshiped. And their acclaim should be almost up there with the pastor/overseer. Meaning in their mind, they're untouchable, unaccountable to anyone and is mainly responsible for the local church's rapid growth. Oh by the way, they need to get paid big bucks. Or else, they'll take their talented services to the local church on the other side of town; who would eagerly accept them to garner in rapid growth results. What a travesty! But instead of entertaining people, how about we just reach people with the gospel as our priority. The music setup shouldn't take preeminence over that. Again, none of this is really necessary. It's nice but not needed. How many of Jesus' messages were preluded by music? What about the apostles' messages? What about Paul's? Where was their band? Where was the choir? Don't get me wrong, the music can be a benefit to the message. But it should never transcend the message. People shouldn't be so wrapped up into the music, and afterwards tune out the preaching, wanting it rushed. But today that's done in many local churches, too many. Emotions and moods are real, but truth in love is what will bring real freedom. It's a healthy thing for your music ministry to know that on a weekly basis. (Watch this video about this this song)

Fashion Show Runways

Stellar worship services must have fashion show runways. It's not so much that they're modeling designer fashion, even though many local churches are, but rather designer appeal/status. See, many of today's churches have got away from suits and ties, but that doesn't mean they're not trying to still look over-professional. We clothe ourselves with self-righteousness, pride, unforgiveness, gossip, envy, jealousy, etc. And many of the things God wants us clothed with, we neglect (Colossians 3:12-15). Sadly, the best are praised in many local churches: the most professional, most talented, most famous, most wealthy, etc. But is that how God truly wants it? Does He just care about churches being filled with individuals living the middle class or wealthy lifestyle? Ideal families polished with the American Dream. Or is He also highly interested in the broken, homeless, handicapped, poor, and uneducated taking a seat as well? Many of those individuals just listed, local churches would rather not have. But ask yourself, "Is that God's stance?"

Ego-driven Platforms   

Finally, stellar worship services must spotlight ego-driven platforms. If one has a stellar church, suddenly, they're a celebrity. And many bask in that glory. They want to be placed on radio, television, in print, etc. for more of a spotlight to be shown on them. They have to wear the best, dine at the best and lodge in the most expensive places on vacation. Their speaking fees are astronomical, and if you're not willing to dish out the mega-bucks; you can't afford to get the mega preaching-star. Their homes are palatial, cars are ridiculously expensive and jewelry divine. Price and life style expense: It doesn't matter just as long as it strokes their ego. And only they can hear soundly from God but rarely anyone else. Again, none of this is absolutely necessary. It's nice but not needed. No one is saying live like a poor, miserable and lonely vagabond. Neither is anyone saying don't have a major ministry. But one must be careful with claiming too much of the spotlight. The spotlight should SOLELY go on Jesus, and we should be okay with being in the background, at times. Regardless of our popularity, we should check our egos at the door and give ALL the glory to God. (I Corinthians 3:1-11). 

No comments:

Post a Comment