On vacation last year, I attended a church worship service out of town. It began with two women sitting on bar stools, microphones in hand, singing to background music. That was followed by a band singing praise songs, guitars, drums and electric keyboards in a mini-concert. Then came a powerpoint presentation wherein a mini drama was presented. The band then led the congregation in more praise songs until the pastor appeared on stage on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. He offered his God-wants-to-make-you-happy sermon, leading the folks straight into a hand clapping, chorus singing frenzy. As everyone exited to go home, I heard several people commenting on how great everything was. One of them said, “yeah, at other churches I don’t get anything out of it”.
Is that what worship has come to, “getting something out of it”? Have we reduced worship to another form of entertainment? If so, how sad. Worship isn’t about getting, it’s about giving — giving ourselves to God through prayer, hymns and the hearing of the gospel as it’s preached. Worship isn’t about us, it’s about God. It isn’t about feeling good, it’s about centering ourselves on who God is and what God demands of us.
An old seminary professor once told our class, “If you give people what they want and make them feel good, you’ll pack the church to capacity. If you preach the demanding gospel of Christ, you’ll struggle with half empty pews.”
Church is not a time for entertainment. It’s a time for worship.