Can You (Personally) Worship God Without A Band or A Song?

Can You (personally) Worship Without A Band or A Song?

I remember sitting in a church service as a young pastor explained why they were beginning a building project. “We are growing so fast, we do not have room to put everyone.” His assessment of the situation was correct. They didn’t have room for all the people who were coming. However, I thought his conclusion was wrong. Building wasn’t the answer.

I had attended for three months so I felt I had a good sense of the leadership and the congregation. I thought the answer was more basic: Start preaching Biblical messages, presenting the message of the Cross, instead of tickling everyone’s ears, and the space problem would be fixed. How, you ask? People would leave! (Insert a musical crescendo here for effect) Not the ones who already knew Christ, and not the ones who were actually being drawn to the Savior by the Savior. Just those who could care less. If you stop the entertainment, those who come to be entertained will leave. Space problem solved. (Maybe I should write a book called: “How to Make Room in the Sanctuary for All the People God wants To Send, Without Spending a Dime.”)

Thinking like this has led me to consider the question this post started with: Can YOU (the reader personally) Worship without a band or a Song?” Instictively, I think most of us would say “Why, of course I can!”  I am talking specifically about when you gather with other believers to worship, week after week.  Would you stay at your current congregation if they completely got rid of the band and the singing part of the service? Be honest, what would you do if your church got rid of the singing time for an entire year? If they replaced the singing time with some other elements that the church has historically used to worship, what would YOU do? In the words of the Clash, “Would you stay or would you go?”

Please take our poll at the bottom of this post. IMPORTANT: please be honest about this. Don’t choose what you think the right answer SHOULD be. Choose the answer that best describes what you would actually do.  Once you vote, check out the results.   Send a link to all your Christian friends.  Let’s see what the body of Christ would do. Check out our earlier postsRethinking Contemporary Worship: Can We “Bring Him More Than a Song?”, Is Worship Music a Gift or Has it Become our God?, “Does God Care How We Worship?”  “When Did “Worship” Become the Singing of a Song?”   for more thought-provoking discussion on this topic.


 

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About Jim

Not For Itching Ears is a blog dedicated to discussing the American Evangelical church. It is a place for people to share their thoughts on a host of issues relating to this subject. Jim is available to speak at weekend services, and retreats at no cost to churches in Florida. Contact us for more information.

Posted on May 31, 2011, in Christianity, Contemporary Church Culture, Worship and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I voted that I would give it a chance and probably stay at the church. I love to sing to the Lord but I also love to hear the sermon. I believe God loves to hear us sing to Him and that is the point “Singing to Him” and “Glorifying Him”. Our church has gone through some major changes in the past year and a half and we have still stayed. We have lost our church building and about 80% of our congregation. We have moved to a storefront. We don’t have a permanent worship leader but a few people who have stepped up to lead, one who doesn’t even play an instrument. This past week we played YouTube videos and worshiped the Lord and He showed up. Through all of this we have still stayed so I believe I could stay even if the singing part of the service left but I believe that God would be grieved if we quit singing and dancing and playing before Him. It is important to remember that it is all about Him and not about us and how talented we are or aren’t. If our heart is in the right place God will inhabit the praises.

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  2. Almost any Catholic who attends a Saturday Vigil Mass will almost certainly have exactly what you describe – no singing whatsoever. This may seem strange to a lot of non-Catholics, the service is still packed with a lot of stuff: antiphonal responses, Old Testament Reading, Psalm, Gospel Reading, a homily, intercession, an offering, sign of peace and, of course, the Eucharist.

    I personally love singing, although for a period of time, due to my Sunday commitments, I went to a Saturday Vigil for several months. I did miss the music, but also found its absence encouraged me into a place of quiet intimacy with God. In this quiet place I found it easier to chew over His Word proclaimed.

    The funny thing is that, since moving, I now go to a Byzantine Catholic parish where everything, and I do mean *everything* is sung, with the exception of the homily and a brief statement of faith before Communion.

    I once asked asked our priest for the reason for all of the singing. He compared it to the Gospel book which leads the procession into the church. He said that the words of the Gospel are precious in and of themselves (because it’s God’s Word), but we adorn this book with a beautiful gold-coloured metal cover to draw attention to its value. He said it was the same with singing – we use music to adorn holy words offered to God.

    I like that 🙂

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  3. I can’t vote on the pool about the most important aspect of worship, because I believe they are all equally important. I believe the singing of praise is at least as important as the “sermon,” especially since the NT church didn’t really have a “sermon,” did they? The New Testament model did not involve a “pastor.” Everyone had equal participation, whether it be a song, a teaching, or a Scripture verse. The “sermons” were given when all of the Church gathered together for a special meeting somewhere (like Solomon’s Porch). While I can worship without music, I don’t think I necessarily need to. Just because it has become entertainment for some, doesn’t mean it should be removed for all.

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    • Of course the poll asks you to make a choice that you never have to make. It is just a way of trying to ascertain what people value the most. It does force one to think about it and choose the one thing they can’t live without. People often say that the early church did not have a sermon. They certianly had an elder/pastor stand up, read the Apostles writings and then explain it to those gathered. Whatever that is called, it is teaching by one person. I wrote about this here: https://notforitchingears.com/2010/12/07/back-to-the-future-sunday-morning-church-service-circa-150-ad/. These “lessons” were given every Sunday. At least that is what we see happening about 70 years after the last apostle died. From my reading of the scriptures and very early church history, I would say that everyone did NOT have equal participation, but people were permitted to participate.

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      • Even though the exact roles were in somewhat of a state of flux, you do see the structure of Church, with different members having different distinct roles appearing quickly.

        For example, Ignatius of Antioch in 110 AD makes it very clear that only the Bishop (or a presbyter appointed by him) should celebrate the Eucharist.

        “[speak] to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord” – Ephesians 5

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  4. My husband and I were very active in a church where the worship service was the key part of the service. We were on 4 different worship teams & had been asked to start a new one. The Lord told us to leave. Now this was not an easy thing to do as we were very comfortable where we were. But it is not always easy to step out in faith when told to do so.
    Unfortunately the criteria to be on the teams was changing so much that we were both sick over how things were going. In order to be on the teams you had to fill out an application, have an interview, audition and then you would be placed where they wanted you. We had been on teams for 4 years at this point. You also had to be a tithing member, they would do a background check on you, you could not miss more than 3 practice times in 6 months or you had to sit out the next 6 months-emergencies were not acceptable.
    So yes, we would stay in a church where there was no music at all. In fact, we are doing home fellowship now and going occasionally with my father who is a minister & we are also doing a bible study every saturday with my in-laws, my father-n-law is a retired minister.
    The worship service has become an idol, a god that most Chrsitians don’t even realize that they are worshiping worship. We were in that place and did not realize it. It took the Lord opening our eyes for us to see. I once was blind but now I see!

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    • Hi Kerri,

      Thanks for sharing your story. Many of us have similar ones to tell. Your comment of, “The worship service has become an idol, a god that most Chrsitians don’t even realize that they are worshiping worship. We were in that place and did not realize it”, resonates with me. I think more and more believers are being delivered from that place. May our Saviors wounds move us to worship more than the rhythm of any “worship” song.

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