“To great sections of the Church the art of worship has been lost entirely, and in its place has become that strange and foreign thing called the 'program'. This word has been borrowed from the stage and applied with sad wisdom to the type of public service which now passes for worship among us.” - A.W. Tozer
hen I was 15 I attended my first worship “experience” at a local church in my city. I was not a believer and the youth group I attended was, in my eyes, putting on a concert. Everyone called it worship. I called it a performance. As I grew in my faith I became the performer, who week in and week out created programs and sang songs that led people in “worship”.
y experiences had been confined to the stage and the only times I “worshiped” were when I was singing songs. I do not mean to liken any of these services to mere performance, but realized something important as I continued to lead each week. We have constricted people by telling them that what happens at a church service is worship.
n a book by A.W. Tozer called “The Pursuit of God”, he talks about how the church has made worship and more importantly the pursuit of God a systematized thing. If you do things, go to programs, follow the steps, or attend the events you will experience God. So at services you sing songs, you close your eyes, maybe if you are brave enough you raise your right hand in the air, and for a moment you worship.
his systematized approach robs people of experiences with God. The complacency bred during these moments create voids in peoples hearts that only God can ultimately fill. Our people leave services with a stronger desire to eat lunch, than to pursue God more fervently. They long for our services to be over, and do not long after God. Our worship is futile when we leave and do not want to continue seeking Him.
“Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to people. He waits to be wanted.” - Tozer
s worship pastors and leaders we must establish a culture which communicates that our Sunday gatherings are but a mere fraction of a person's worship to God. While our programs and systems are helpful in seeking God, at times they are more of a distraction keeping us from really pressing in.