Selfish Worship

Worship was never meant to be about me. Yet that truth has not stopped me from attempting to make it about me every single day of my life. 

From the beginning, the human heart has made worship about personal desires rather than selfless offerings. Unfortunately, those who serve in worship ministries have acquired a front-row seat to the whole debacle. While it is easy to denounce casual worship attendees for their critical spirits when the service doesn’t appease their preferential palates, deep down, the same sin lingers in me.

I want to make everything – even the worship of Jesus – all about me.  

When I rate worship services based on the degree of personal satisfaction regarding aesthetic tastes, musical preferences, and sermon predispositions, I have reduced worship to idolatry and made the idol none other than myself. Sitting haughtily upon the judges’ panel, I believe those leading can only pass on to the next level of competition if they pass my esteemed appraisal. Instead of using biblical qualifications, I base everything upon personalized expectations. The worship service is labeled good only if I acquire enough feelings of warm fuzzies.

When did worship ever become about what we got out of it?         

Instead of keeping worship Godward, we have turned it inward. It’s frightening to think of how many worship services people have attended and yet never stirred their affections toward Jesus in those moments. It’s even more terrifying to think about how long people can serve on a worship team without intentionally directing people’s affections toward Jesus.

Worshipers must realize that worship is not about them. Worship leaders must realize that worship is not about them.  who lead others towards Jesus must keep that focus as their goal and never be sidelined by lesser pursuits.  

I can only lead you somewhere if I know the way.

While that admission seems obvious, the reality of such a concept can be tragically forgotten in our churches. In worship, the goal is to respond to God’s revelation by ascribing to the LORD the glory that is due his name (1 Chr 16:29) by sacrificial offerings of praise and thanksgiving (Heb 13:15). The gathering of God’s people (Ps 50:5; 1 Cor 14:26) is a needed pause from the routine to proclaim the goodness of our God corporately (Ps 34:3; 40:9; 100:4-5; 149:1). As a worship leader, if I’m not aligned with that direction, how could I ever expect the congregation to arrive there?

It’s unfeasible that I could lead worship if I’m not a worshiper myself, and it’s just as challenging to lead worship with those who aren’t worshipers themselves. From the one in charge to every support position on the worship team, we cannot lead people to a place we are not going to ourselves. The role of pointing others to worship the living God should be a terrifying position in which to serve. If done poorly, we could stand in the way of others seeing Jesus clearly.

Do we understand the critical nature of our worship teams?

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