We’ve Come to Worship, but Will We Worship God or Ourselves?

Dan Lucarini’s, in his book Why I Left the Christian Contemporary Music Movement,  has some thought-provoking and counter-cultural takes on contemporary worship.  One that gets right to the heart of the issue is this one:

“When we try to feel an experience of affirmation from worship, we are not worshiping God.  We are worshiping our own egos.” (pp. 56-57)

In other words, when we come to “worship”, if our goal is to get some type of positive experience out of it for ourselves, we are not really coming for Him.  In essence, we are “worshipping” our own egos.  If our motivation in coming to worship is for what we will get out of it, then we are worshiping.  We are just worshipping ourselves, and not the Savior.

Whoa there fella, that is a huge statement.  Practically everyone I have ever served on a worship team with or led, myself included,   views a worship service through that lens. Or at least has viewed it that way.  That is why we hear statements like this: “What did I get out of it?  Not much.”  “Worship was a little bit off today, it didn’t do much for me.”  “Worship was SO awesome today.  I LOVE that new song.”

My first reaction to a statement like that is to dismiss it. It messes with my mind. Yet as I ponder the accusation in an open and honest way, I walk away believing there is a lot of truth in it. Are we coming to worship ourselves? Are we so misled that we think we are worshiping the Savior, when in reality we are singing about ourselves and hoping to get something out of the experience?

Set aside your feelings about this for a moment and give the quote a fair examination.  Are we coming for what we get out of it?  Is that why we gather with other Christians on Sundays?  Are the contemporary worship authors promoting this self-focus with the types of songs they are producing?

You must have an opinion about this, and we would all benefit if you shared your thoughts in the comment section below.

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 September 10, 2011, in Christianity, Contemporary Church Culture, The Seeker-Sensitive Church Model, Worship and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I never thought of it that way. I can see it though, when you think about all of the emotion that you feel in a worship service. When the atmosphere is just right the stage is set. I have seen this a lot, even heard the worship leader say that the atmosphere has to be just right. My husband & I have talked this over and we see it as a form of manipulation. I don’t think all worship leaders intend to do this and believe that some have a genuine love for peole & want to usher them into the presence of the Lord. But the warm fuzzies and emotion you feel when singing these beautiful songs is not the presence of the Lord. A lot of times those feelings you are experiencing are due to a worship leader who knows how to orchestrate the music & lead the team in bringing the music up at certain points, keeping it level for a while and then really amping up the instruments for that intense emotion that gets people jumping & shouting or laying flat on their faces crying.


  2. Wow! This article really evoked some serious introspection. A few Sundays ago, our drummer was out sick and no one was able to replace him on such short notice. The worship service was MARKEDLY different, and many people had negative comments at the end of the service about the “quality” of the worship, that day.

    How sad that the “quality” of worship is no longer the worshiper’s responsibility.


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