This catch phrase, introduced in the 1960’s, has become a well established creed in American culture. It now appears that the American church has adopted a similar slogan: “If it makes people feel good, we should use it.” And are we ever! Today church leaders of every persuasion are trying all kinds of new methods in order to fill the pews. If something we do succeeds in drawing more people into services then it “works” and is therefore good, right, and stamped with the very approval of God Himself. Because as we all know, God wants people in pews. Or so the story goes. But are these new methods approved by God himself?
One of the things we should be clear about… Read the rest of this entry
What does God consider worship and how can we offer it to Him? I think that is the best place to start a series on worship. Earlier we talked about this in “Forget About Singing, God Wants Us to Worship Him HIS Way – Part 1”. God is the one who is worshipped, so he gets to define how that looks. He does this for us in the Bible. A biblical definition of worship is where God tells us what worship means to Him. One of the places He does that is in Read the rest of this entry
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, Read the rest of this entry
Over here at Not For Itching Ears, we don’t often repost what others have written. Today is an exception. Andrew, over at The Reformed Reader, wrote an excellent article called “Does Worship Really Need To Be Exciting?” I wanted our readers to get the opportunity to consider that very question. I have included an excerpt of Andrew’s post along with a link back to the entire post. And now, our featured presentation:
“I’ve been reading through Kevin Roose’s book The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner’s Semester at America’s Holiest University. If you have an interest in learning about evangelicalism and fundamentalism, this book, written by a Brown University student who enrolled at Liberty University for a semester, is a great volume to read. Informed by George Marsden’s more historical Fundamentalism and American Culture, this is a fun and witty memoir of someone who decided to “act the part” of a Christian fundamentalist for a semester.
I was especially struck by Roose’s contrast between the simple, Quaker worship meetings of his youth and the contemporary worship at a local megachurch. He writes:
You can see why I didn’t go to [Quaker worship] meeting[s] much. As a kid groomed on cartoons and video games and Little League, an hour of motionless silence was excruciating. At Thomas Road, on the other hand, there’s almost too much stimulation. The stage lights, the one hundred-decibel praise songs, the bright purple choir robes, the tempestuous bellowing of Dr. Falwell – it’s an hour-long assault on the senses. And all you have to do is sit back in your plush, reclining seat, latte and cranberry scone in hand, and take it all in. It’s Church Lite – entertaining but unsubstantial, the religious equivalent of a Jerry Bruckheimer movie. And once the novelty wears off, once the music becomes familiar and the motions of praise become pro forma and mechanized, you start to realize that all the technological glitz and material extravagance doesn’t necessarily add up to a spiritual experience. [emphasis added]
Today, from my perch in the Thomas Road choir loft, my mind wandered back to the little brown house with stone steps. I think I’d appreciate the minimalist Quaker worship more now than I did as a kid. It didn’t have Jumbotron screens or a five thousand-watt sound system or a cafe in….” To read the rest of this great post, follow the link below.
Worship is fast becoming a topic we avoid at all costs. Much like discussing politics, discussing worship preferences and style, the should and should nots, the rights and wrongs, is not polite conversation. It can and has led to all out war. Challenge the status quo and you may have the same charges leveled against you that they leveled against Jesus: “Blasphemy…He is worthy of death!” Read the rest of this entry
A local church in my city recently ran this “Pure Sex” advertising campaign to attract the non-churched to come to their services. They drove around the city with this banner on a trailer. First, I thought it was an advertisement for a porn shop. I was stopped dead in my tracks when I realized it was an advertisement to Read the rest of this entry
It was the late 90’s and the premium coffee craze was taking the country by storm. Everyone who liked coffee LOVED Starbucks or soon would. So it wasn’t surprising that some business would be utilizing the brand name to promote what they were doing. It made pretty good sense. It would not have fazed me a single bit if any other company was doing it. However, this massive sign was hung in front of a local evangelical Christian church. The message was crystal clear: “Come to our service on Sunday, we have free Starbucks coffee!”
With the arrival of the church growth movement and the seeker-sensitive ministry focus it birthed.. Read the rest of this entry
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 Read the rest of this entry
In its quest to be “relevant”, has the seeker-sensitive church model become irrelevant? Has the desire to seem “seeker-friendly” actually made the church less friendly? Does the Seeker-Sensitive church model eternally benefit those whom it targets? My conclusion: The Seeker-Sensitive church Isn’t. It isn’t “friendly” and it isn’t relevant. Strong charges, I know. Bear with me a moment and walk through my argument.
The seeker-sensitive church model is good at doing what it does. It is good at creating a crowd, Read the rest of this entry
I actually think Ravenhill’s very pointed observation is accurate. What do you think? If Jesus had taught how to be wealthy, how to be succesful, how to have your best life NOW or any number of things that we are taught today, instead of what he did teach, would they have crucified Him?
As we think about this question it is important to remember that The Cross was God’s idea. It was His plan. The truth is that no one took Jesus life, he laid it down. Still, would they have wanted to crucify him had he preached the same message we hear today? Read the rest of this entry