What is The Most Important Part of Corporate Worship for YOU personally
Let’s face it, every church-goer has an opinion about this topic: What they like the most about attending a corporate church service. Over here at NotForItchingEars.com we are VERY interested in what you think. It is part of our ongoing study of worship and Christianity. We need your help here, so please take 45 seconds or less and answer the poll.
Now, about the poll: We understand that we are asking you to make a choice that in the real world you may not have to make. However, for the sake of the poll, we want you to vote for the one thing you just cannot live without in a CORPORATE worship setting. If your answer is not on the poll, select “none of the above” and share what it is in our comment section.
Posted on September 23, 2011, in Christianity, Contemporary Church Culture, Polls, Worship and tagged christianity, church, communion, devotions, faith, opinion, prayer, The Bible, worship. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.
You’re asking a great question! What drives the 21st century Christian believer to engage with corporate worship? You may find it interesting to reflect your results off my recent research results which found that 82% of people surveyed believed the importance of the worship service (congregational singing) in relation to the preaching of the Word (sermon) was equal (survey conducted 2008-2009).
Keep asking great questions!
Thanks for your comments. I went to your site and took the poll. What I find interesting about our poll results is that singing is not the element of corporate worship that is most important. It is a distant second to the preachng of the word. One thing that the results of our poll suggest is that most believers value the proclamation of God’s word,, whether in a sermon or in a reading, more than singing. Yet in many church circles, more time is spent singing than in the sermon. I think that this discrepancy is due in large part to churches targeting non-christians, who probably view the singing time more as entertainment than worship.
I guess the important piece of the puzzle is the demographic being surveyed. For example my research surveyed 85 people (Contemporary Worship Singers) from 12 Australian denominations; approximately 50:50 conservative/contemporary. I suspect that if I was to survey my church only (conservative) I would probably arrive at similar results to those in your poll (above). The standing question is ‘who is completing the poll?” More than likely it’s people who read blogs…white collar, conservative evangelical Christians (like you and me 😉
Also, I don’t know that we can draw the conclusion that churches employing a lot of congregational singing do so in order to entertain non-Christians. Yes, contemporary worship environments do tend towards a performative presentation of worship that is often perceived as ‘attractional’ to seekers and (it must be said) Christians alike. This does not automatically mean that contemporary worship environments employ singing for its entertainment value.
Singing has been employed throughout Christian history because of it’s participatory value; and because of it’s ability to facilitate theology in the current day vernacular. I suspect I’m not stating anything here you don’t already know – but it is worth remembering that congregational singing has often come under fire for it’s emotive qualities. It is one of the only activities in a church service where everyone participates together. For example, we pray together but this is often done with one person speaking while everyone else listens. Singing allows us to simultaneously encourage one another with sounds of praise.
I know I am writing defensively here for congregational singing. All to often conservative churches throw the ‘baby out with the bath water’ by diluting the activity of singing because they see it being used in a manner which is foreign to their own sensibilities.
For me, as I know it is for you, God’s word is central and foundational. The vehicle, whether it be singing, preaching or reading, is secondary – and perhaps swayed by personal taste; which actually brings us back to the original point…entertainment. Each of the vehicles (singing, preaching, reading) has entertaining qualities. One could argue that many of today’s conservative evangelical churches allow the sermon to predominate the service time because their congregational members are entertained by the persuasive language of the preacher. Ahh, the wonders of our Christian cultures…praise God, only one man could claim perfection. The rest of us will have to settle for claiming Christ in our imperfection – we could even sing it!
Thanks for taking the time to share your well-thought-out views! I appreciate them very much!
I personally love congregational singing! My hope and prayer is that the song we sing might become more Christ-centered. What I have seen in my many travels here in the US is that “the band” is being used as a vehicle to draw in the un-churched. Talk to any church planter and they will tell you that you must have a good “worship” band if the church plant has any hope of growing. It is that important! We do give it a very high priority (higher than communion, higher than prayer)
My poll is directed at believers on purpose. I want to know what they value most. I assumed that singing would be the number one answer, because it has such a high priority in the service. I am a bit surprised that isn’t the number one answer.
I never thought about the sermon as entertainment until you mentioned it. After considering it, I would have to agree with you. I’ve attended over 30 different congregations in a 3 1/2 year period. Many of the congregations that seem to present the song as entertainment also have the same qualities present in the sermon.
That’s what I have seen from the cheap seats!
Cheap seats…pass me the popcorn!
My first thought on the survey was that since it asked about worship, the sermon didn’t belong there. When I think of the sermon I think of “the teaching of the Word” and being fed. One can worship just about anytime, but perhaps my thinking is colored by having served on worship teams for years.
Hi Randy, thanks for your input. I think a lot of people might think the same way. It really is easy to do so, given our current emphasis on “worship as a song, come on everybody sing along.” However, historically, singing has not been a big part of the definition of worship. Attentively listening to the Word of God being read and expounded upon has been a big part of its definition.