Who’s at the Heart of Worship?

A friend recently asked my opinion on a blog post by David Santistevan about worship. We all know the kinds of music-related issues that tend to polarize church attenders, e.g. piano & acapella singing vs. electric sounds with lights & even fog machines; old songs vs. new; preferences in volume.  Any of these choices will bless some and be a distraction to others.

Worship leaders have a responsibility to lead worship skillfully, with sensitivity and awareness of their culture. That is an appropriate act of worship on their part.  But most of us are not worship leaders most of the time, so I want to shift our attention to worshiping from the pews.

Santistevan has the right perspective on the real problem with worship: “Our hearts don’t know their need for Christ. We are not desperate. We are not broken. We don’t approach Sunday with expectant, faith-filled, repentant hearts. We aren’t hungry for Jesus.”

He later states, “Distraction in worship comes from a distracted heart, not from creative ideas. My distracted heart will always look for something or someone to blame rather than facing my own apathy. I see this in myself all the time.”

Consider this the next time you find yourself dissatisfied with the music in a worship service: Does your behavior glorify God more when a skilled worship leader draws you into worship that you find satisfying, or when your heart is so intently broken and focused on Jesus that no distraction in the world is going to keep you away from worshiping Him? You may be more satisfied in the first case, but I’m convinced that God is more satisfied in the second.

So the worship service that I dislike the most may actually create the opportunity for me to please God the most — if I’m willing to deny my own “right” to be satisfied and determine to give Him the worship He deserves from me.

The question is, who is your worship for…you, or God?


One thought on “Who’s at the Heart of Worship?

  1. That’s great Alan. I hope you don’t mind if I make a suggestion that has helped me to focus through distractions including coffee running down between my feet:

    Prepare for worship in prayer and worship prior to the service. Then regardless of the distractions, music style, or songs, prayerfully during each song concentrate on giving the words to Christ, singing them to Him and for Him. Try to forget your surroundings. We are not responsible for how worship is lead or what’s going on around us, rather how we personally give worship to Christ. Most importantly, worship Him daily.


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