Thinking Out Loud - Ms. Green

Commentaries from a female, conservative Christian worldview. Intermittent observations on human behavior and current events. Occasional bursts of personal tirades,confessions, and discoveries. Frequent discussions about my "Narrow-Minded Faith".

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

Leading Worship...or Pleasing the Crowd?

I was on a blog yesterday that focuses on the worship aspect of church services, and was amazed to actually read this:

"I get excited when I some of our worship team start becoming Christians." What? My friend … and I were standing in the middle of a Vineyard Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. The comment came from the worship pastor. I remember looking at him and saying "Huh?" He went on to say that they used musicians from all walks of life. Many of them were in other bands, touring the local scene. He did make the comment that he rarely had a problem with musicians who normally played the bars. They wouldn't complain about monitors and other things, they were just happy to play. They were in a good atmosphere and some were becoming followers of Christ. No doubt they were highly skilled. Skill outranks spirituality.

On the other side of the coin …another worship leader maintained that you should always use totally devoted Christians. He contended that worship is sacred and should be led by those who have given their life to Christ. Spirituality outranks skill.
So which is it? Is it a requirement that your worship team be followers of Jesus? Does it matter? Do you base your requirements on spiritual maturity or skill?
This question has to be wrestled with. What do you think?


I can’t believe this is actually a question to be wrestled with. Why not go to God’s Word to find the answer? God says many times throughout Scripture that he will not hear our prayers unless our hearts are right.

Surely God will not hear vanity, neither will the Almighty regard it.” Job 35:13

If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:” Psalm 66:18

“But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear
.” Isaiah 59:2

And if He will not hear our prayers when our hearts are not right, what makes anyone think He will hear our worship if led by unbelievers?

Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts. Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols.” Amos 5:22-23

How can a lost person worship God? How can an unbeliever lead believers in worship?

I sing on the Praise Team at my church. I know that I am not worthy to be there. We all know that. And much of our practice time each week is devoted to prayer and supplication. We seek God’s Holy Spirit guidance on the songs we sing, on the way we sing them, and even when we sing them. Our wish is to encourage the members of the congregation to enter into worship with us. And ultimately, we as a praise team do worship God, and do so regardless of whether the rest of the church does or not – because He is to be worshipped and adored. Those that do not participate are the ones who are missing out.

A lost person – whether they are a singer or a musician, should not be in a position of leading worship. That serves only to grieve the Holy Spirit. And for a church to knowingly utilize unbelievers in the music service is to sacrifice true worship on the altar of “crowd pleasing”. Far too many churches today, I’m afraid, have come to this point. The Bible is clear. God is not pleased with that.

God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” John 4:24

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7 Comments:

At 12:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For me the more important question would be, how did the consideration of using non-believers in leading worship ever become justified in the first place? Where did this idea come from?

From the perspective of my particular fellowship, and I offer this as only my personal opinion and not as a condemnation of other practices, when human decisions are considered and then acted upon to change worship practices a step is taken onto a dangerously slippery slope. Who knows where new ways of conducting worship services will lead? At what point is a line drawn in the sand and it is finally said, only to this point and no further?

For instance, my fellowship, uses congregational singing, believing that the use of choirs detracts from individual worship by substituting their voices for the congregations. Likewise, the use of musical instruments is prohibited for basicly the same reason, instrumental music is considered a substitute for making music in your heart.

Nowdays, however, many of our fellowships have adopted the use of praise teams. This isn't considered to be a choir because they are seated within the congregation itself, not separate. They generally use the first few rows of pews. That was somebody's justification that praise teams were acceptable in worship and this turned out to be a step onto a slippery slope. Where did it lead?

Women are not allowed to lead in worship. A woman cannot lead the praise team, but as a member of the praise team, she can in fact have an acceptable part in leading worship. Somehow, that has become an acceptably appropriate practice.

So, I am assuming that using non-believing musicians in a worship service probably became acceptable only after a step was made to justify the use of bands in worship. Probably it would not at all be acceptable for a non-believer to lead the band, but, as a band member, he or she could in fact "lead" in worship quite acceptably. At least in the eyes of some worshipers.

These things become problems when christians stop questioning if an action is Scriptural and appropriate and instead justify it in their minds as acceptable and worthy.

 
At 7:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow that is just shocking, i can't imagine someone on the worship team at my Church no already being devoted to Christ. This is just a shocking story.

 
At 7:34 AM, Blogger Ms.Green said...

I would agree with you on multiple points. A choir should not take the place of the congregation singing. Our choir occasionally sings a "special", especially when singing a new song that the congregation does not know yet, but primarily the congregation sings everything the choir does. A choir is not unscriptural,as the Bible speaks of choirs often and nowhere forbids using choirs.

A woman should not be in a position of leadership in the service, and our choir/worship leader is and always has been a man, under whose authority all of the choir members and musicians fall. Nowhere does Scripture forbid women from participating in worship if under the authority of a man.

Likewise, the musical instruments are to enhance, not take the place of the lifting up of voices in praise to the Lord. Again, Scripture is full of mentions of musical instruments used in worship. Scripture never indicates that using musical instruments is not allowed.

However, as I said in my original post, Scripture is very clear on when God will hear and accept our prayers and praise - and as always, Scripture should be our guide - not our own preferences.

Thanks for taking the time to visit! Hope you come back.

 
At 10:30 PM, Blogger nanc said...

i watched a gaither special on george younce (of the cathedrals fame) and someone on that program mentioned that he'd sung gospel for 23 years before accepting Yeshua as his Lord and Saviour. you never know.

which goes to show, you cannot be led by the moment, the minister, or the music - it's the Word we must heed.

i've personally heard people say, "i just couldn't keep attending this church if the pastor left!" to which i've responded, "it's not the man, it's the message - we're not to follow men."

people are so easily led and easily followed. there's a time to leave and a time to stay.

 
At 7:18 AM, Blogger Brooke said...

I would think that the use of non-belivers in leading worship would be insincere.

Being from Cincinnati, I once went to one of the Vineyard churches with a relative, and being of Southern Baptist denomination, found it to be very watery. It was

Too many churches today are insincere; hooking visitors with the promise of free doughnuts, and never speaking of Hell or the Salvation from it! Instead, it is all "feel good" ministry, more aimed at entertaining the congregation than doing any spiritual good.

Because of that, I can't say that I'm at all surprised that a Vineyard would "hire" a band for worship service.

 
At 8:10 AM, Blogger D.Daddio Al-Ozarka said...

LOL!

Diluted...deluded...dead.

You can swell the congregation when you don't recognize sin.

The sinless don't get saved.

Make no mistake, philosophies such as adhered to by the worship minister are not of God.

 
At 10:19 AM, Anonymous ExPreacherMan said...

Praise Teams, Worship Teams, Donuts, coffee, feel good messages, psychology, more modern methods, etc.

All seem to be the work of the secular modernist church movement.

Only the Gospel of Jesus Christ saves. There is no other Name under Heaven whereby we must be saved.

Will we ever learn?

ExP(Jack)

 

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