Over the past five years, I have had opportunity to visit many Baptist churches of varying sizes and worship styles. I have talked with worship leadership, many pastors, and associational missionaries. While there are many churches that seem to have vibrant, transformational worship, I have to say that my perception of the condition of worship in vast numbers of Baptist churches (and beyond) is painfully disturbing and heart-breaking.In generalities, I see three distinct groups of churches with major worship problems.
- First, there is a large percentage of our churches that have worship services indistinguishable from their services in the 60’s. Worship, that perhaps was very meaningful years ago, now seems very routine and cold. The songs may not connect at all with the culture anymore. Planning for services seems to be little more than filling out an over-used template to produce the next “worship” service.
- The second group of churches that greatly concerns me is of a contemporary worship model. I’ve seen the breeding of a culture of spectators in many of these churches as they provide a performance-based event rather than true worship. Admittedly, much of this is the fault of many worship leaders today. Songs are selected for congregational singing without regard to the key they are sung in or the level of difficulty that the average singer can attain. Often, new songs are introduced at too high a rate. Often the worship team will utilize bright lights and in-ear monitors in a way that completely keeps them from hearing or seeing the congregation to connect with them in worship. Our worship leaders can create very performance-oriented environments to the detriment of worship in our churches. (See my post on Nine Reasons People Aren’t Singing in Worship for more on this.)
- The third group of churches that causes great concern are those that are experiencing worship wars. Sadly, many of our churches are fighting over personal preferences and becoming inwardly focussed rather than seeking to glorify God in unity. There is much that can be done to achieve this unity.
So much of my work is helping worship leaders and churches to renew their worship in part by overcoming these three issues. You will find many articles on this blog addressing these concerns. The Worship Summit hits #1 and #3 head on to help leaders overcome these problems. The Worship Leader Boot Camp deals with all three very strongly.
My overwhelming passion is to help churches achieve worship renewal. Join me in this pursuit.