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“parched and shallow” worship

April 8, 2009

During Easter of 1985 a guy named Thomas Howard, a graduate of Wheaton College and professor at Gordon College (both passionately Evangelical Protestant schools), became a Roman Catholic.  This was so huge that Christianity Today did an 8 page article on the guy.  When asked about his conversion to Catholicism he cited two things that stick out to me…

“the desperate, parched nature of evangelical worship”

And this…

Evangelicalism’s “poverty when it comes to the deeper riches of Christian spirituality.”

The reason that bugs me is because it’s true.  For us American Protestants, a lot of times our worship gatherings look more like a mediocre concert than being marked by the reverence of God’s presence.  We’re more concerned about these things…

  • if the band is good
  • if the lighting or light show is cool
  • how good the sound system is
  • are the songs upbeat?

Than these things…

  • were the words to the songs Biblically rich and worshipful?
  • did Scripture permeate our time together?
  • was there both celebration and reverence and awe?
  • was God lifted up and exalted?

Two changes to our worship gatherings lately have led me to deeper places of reverence: public Scripture confession (which I think has been huge for us) and a small change you might not even have noticed.  A few weeks ago Isaac, our worship leader, and a friend of mine both suggested in the same week that we stop using times of prayer as opportunities for me or the band to move on and off stage so that we genuinely focus on approaching God through prayer.

I hope no one ever says that our worship was “parched, dry, and shallow”.  God, take us to the deeper places!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 8, 2009 7:04 pm

    Great thoughts, Josh. Really something to think about for many of us…

    On a light note…do you know what happens to be on a Wednesday later on this month? 😉

  2. -christy- permalink
    April 8, 2009 8:31 pm

    “To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God.”
    -William Temple-

  3. shelley permalink
    April 8, 2009 10:32 pm

    we were just saying the other night how much we really appreciate the corporate reading of Scriptures. thank you for making that a part of our Sunday worship time together. very meaningful.

  4. April 9, 2009 9:11 am

    Very important, stuff! Great call by you guys concerning the movement of the band during prayer times. Interruptions, those things that move the tone and focus from God to anything else are disruptions to the human spirit when the Holy Spirit is trying to work in and amongst us. I hope you guys continue to evaluate all aspects of the worship experience and remove any other interruptions/disruptions that you see. Thanks to all of you for continually working to help us worship God rather than create an concert environment.

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