Over the years, I have had the opportunity to take part in a variety of worship services…with many different styles.  To be honest, some I’ve loved, some have been mediocre and some have been downright awful…including some I’ve led!

The truth is, worship is the most important thing the church does as a gathered body.  If we can get worship right, everything else falls into place.  During the “worship wars” of a few years ago, I came to realize that “style” isn’t/wasn’t the problem.  Though a lot of what I heard about worship revolved around style (i.e., how worship was “done”), it simply was not the case that one style of worship was better or worse simply because it was different.  Biblical, historically accurate worship can be done in any variety of style – contemporary, traditional or blended.

The problem clearly was not style; it was content (the topic of another blog post).  Too often the Church has allowed and continues to allow the culture around it to determine both how it worships and the content of that worship.  But in my mind, the Church is not supposed to reflect the culture, it is to be COUNTER-cultural; that is, it is intended to stand against culture.  Many times I’ve heard someone say he/she didn’t like going to/into a church (read: sanctuary) because it made them feel different.

Exactly!  We’re supposed to feel different when we come into the church…it is NOT a part of the culture we are bathed in every day.  It is different…it’s supposed to be.  To be frank, the Church needs to stop letting the culture determine its worship!

There is a Latin phrase I love: Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi.

It means how we worship reflects what we believe and how we live.

In a lot of churches I’ve been in, the worship said “It’s all about me and how I feel.”  It has said “This is the time God should be paying attention to me, not the other way around.”  It has reflected the thought that if worship doesn’t make me feel good, then it wasn’t worship.

Guess what?  When we gather in worship, we’re not worshiping you! Or me! Or each other!

We worship ONLY God.  Worship isn’t meant to make us feel good (although that is often a benefit); worship’s primary intention is focus on God and God’s goodness toward us…and giving us the opportunity to be thankful.  And if we can get that straight, we come away feeling good and blessed and joyful and………

The next time you’re in a worship service, think about that Latin phrase and ask yourself what your worship reveals about yourself and the church…what we believe, what our worship says about of God, etc.  Does our worship stand the test of what scripture reveals about God and the Church?

Or have we let the world determine our beliefs?

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