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Friday, July 17, 2009

Has Our Worship Become A Performance?

I've had some interesting discussions lately about the difference between worship and performance. I have visited a number of churches with both a "traditional" service and a "contemporary" service - which made for an interesting comparison between services.

Honestly, I enjoy both. Having grown up in a traditional old baptist church in the deep South, I know every hymn in the book and love a good traditional worship service. But I'm also a worship music fan and love me some worship music also. But I noticed one interesting thing. In a traditional service, everyone knows the hymns and sings along. But in most contemporary services, I'm finding very few people in the congregation participate.

What I'm finding in more and more contemporary churches - the worship aspect of the service has become a performance. Excellent music and musicians to be sure, but the audience isn't participating at all. Rather than being invited into the worship experience, the music leaders are just performing and there's something important being lost. After all, we can attend a concert anywhere, but in my experience the point of the music service is to invite the participation of the congregation. Making it a "corporate" experience is what makes it unique. What do you think? Which experience best fit you Contemporary, Traditional or Both?


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9 comments :

  1. I think you make a very interesting observation. I grew up in COGIC and the premise of the service was let the Lord have his way. The service was decent and in order but the spirit truly had liberty. I now attend a non-denominational church and the pastor is hung up on perfection in the worship and as you say often I see the members looking around during the worship and not really participating. It really has moved into more of a performance.
    www.ebonymompolitics.wordpress.com

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  2. Good post. I like both too. but, I couldn't take going to an all performance church every week. I enjoy music in church and enjoy watching the music masters. But, my church encourages participation too. I think it makes for a richer experience. After all we are there to worship "together".

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  3. I attend a traditional worship service. I'm not sure if I'm just getting older, but I really appreciate the hymns and other songs that are just a verse or two that don't require a hymnbook or the words posted on overhead.

    When I attend a contemporary service the worship seems forced and many times I think the songs go on a little too long to invoke a emotional response. IMHO, worship does not have to be loud, soft, long, short, fast or slow, or have a prescribed time limit it must involve a sincere praise, adoration and grateful spirit towards God. I feel in SOME contemporary services the worship leader is doing his/her "thing" and it's about showing off their voice or performance skills.

    Nettie
    I really enjoy your choice of topics. Great job!!

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  4. sad to say, but a performance is exactly what a lot of people come to expect. Great blog.

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  5. @ebony mom thanks for your comment. "The service was decent and in order but the spirit truly had liberty." AMEN!

    @Jackie thanks for your comment. I like both also, but traditional worship is more meaningful for me Jackie.

    @Nettie thanks for your comment. For me hymns forces me to focus on more on what Christ did for me at Calvary.

    They also reminds us without a repenting of the heart and a turning away from sin God really don't here or accept our worship.

    @Revvy Rev thanks for your comment. Rev. you probable remember when it became a performance!

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  6. There is this one artist that I really like! Her name is Michelle Bonilla, she is up and coming. She keeps her music contemporary but the worship component is ALWAYS obvious! Here are some vids of her:
    1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyeHQItM6w4

    2) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VT3ODrEwc6s

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  7. I'm loving your topics so far. It seems at first contemporary services were more participatory IMO, but have now turned into performances as the music played is usually Top 40. As I age, I appreciate hymns more and more since they exude wisdom, whereas praise songs seem to express a thought. I'd take wisdom any day... Hymns don't seem to put people in the pews though.

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  8. GREAT POST, nobody has verebalized it as well as you! How can churches throw out hymns?? There is an abundance of rich doctrine and love for Christ! Worship has totally become a show for a good portion of American churches. God doesn't need a show to attract His people to Himself!

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  9. GREAT POST, nobody has verebalized it as well as you! How can churches throw out hymns?? There is an abundance of rich doctrine and love for Christ! Worship has totally become a show for a good portion of American churches. God doesn't need a show to attract His people to Himself!

    ReplyDelete