In the fall, I was enrolled in a class on worship. One theme we discussed on a regular basis was how people often use enjoyment instead of theology to decide if they will become a member of a church. We also touched on the fact that people tend to think that their experience in worship is the only “right” way. These false beliefs have led to many not wanting to attend a certain church based upon the type of service (contemporary or traditional) that the church offers. They have also led to the individualization of worship. Historically worship was a community practice, something done with other believers. However in the last century, worship has shifted to a more individualistic self-centered practice.
Sadly church attendance has become something that is all about how well “I like it” and how much “I enjoy it”, instead of being about how much God likes it and how much He enjoys it. Nowadays we often make it about how good it makes us feel and if we don’t like the music or are offended by the sermon we complain or simply walk away.
Just before Christmas I read a blog which emphasized this point and highlighted how self focused our society has become. It was entitled “This is not a daycare. It’s a University!” It was a response by Dr. Everett Piper, President of Oklahoma Wesleyan University to a student who complained about being offended by the chapel message. (I’ve included a link to the blog below.)
Church is for worshiping the Creator of the Universe. It is, and should be, all about Him. But somehow we become bored if the music doesn’t suit us, upset if the sermon steps on our toes, offended if the Pastor doesn’t greet us and disgruntled if we are asked to serve in a way that stretches us beyond our comfort zone. In doing so, we make church/worship all about us and less about Him.
Shouldn’t it be the other way around?