Lies Worship Pastors Tell You

Years ago I used to frequent another church’s Saturday night service. I was pretty burned out at the time, and I really liked the pastor of the church, so I’d sneak over there every once in a while to get a spiritual shot in the arm.

I’ll never forget one Saturday night the Worship Pastor standing up and telling the congregation,

In my prayer time this week God told me that we are supposed to begin taking our worship to the streets. So what we’re going to do is rent a huge flatbed truck, put our entire worship team on it, hook our speakers up to a generator and drive it through the streets playing worship music and lifting our hands to Jesus!

That’s just wonderful, I thought, because, I don’t know, people don’t already think Christians are freaky enough.

The problem, in my mind, wasn’t the goal. As stupid as I thought the idea was at the time, I appreciated their desire to “get out in the streets.” And the problem wasn’t the method. While I’m not sure turning 10 artsy people loose on a flatbed truck with microphones was the safest thing to do without air support, at least they were trying something.

The problem was with their definition of worship: Worship = singing songs accompanied by music.

What the Worship Pastor didn’t understand was that his people already “hit the streets” and “worshipped” every day of their lives. Through their work. And their attitudes. By the way they washed and waxed their cars. And hugged their wives. And cut their lawns.

But more importantly, the bigger problem with the Worship Pastor’s suggestion was it belied the fact that he had let his American, utilitarian worldview seep into his understanding of what it means to ascribe worth (worth-ship) to God.

What most Christians don’t get is that worship can’t be “turned on.” People can’t be “led into” worship. Christians are continuously worshipping. 24/7. All the time. Through everything they do, say, feel and give.

If you’re a Christian, you’re always worshiping.

Whether or not you’re doing it well is a different story.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen or heard in a worship service?

Brian loves helping Christians live thoughtful, courageous lives. He's a popular blogger, author, and pastor at Christ's Church of the Valley in the suburbs of Philadelphia.

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  • Brenda Sampson

    While I totally agree that as a Christian, I am worshipping God 24/7, I feel that there is a special place for corporate worship. I think your friends’ church was a bit off-base because worship isn’t intended to be for anyone but God- not the non-Christians in the community, not for the worship team, the pastor, or the congregation itself. Worship is for, about, and towards God. He is so worthy of our worship and while I do my best to have that mindset throughout my day, there is something special about setting aside time during our worship service to focus entirely on God, who He is, what He has done for me/us and pouring our hearts entirely out to Him at that moment. Can I worship God in the grocery store? Absolutely. But is my whole heart, soul and mind totally focused on adoring Jesus there? Probably not. That’s why corporate worship can and should be such a precious thing. And worship does not have to equate with singing. But just by looking at the words on the screen- our hearts should want to scream out of the goodness of our God! And while we should not ever need to be “led into worship,” let’s face it- some days our hearts aren’t where they should be and it is helpful that the worship team is there to gently lead us by example to focus on God and not ourselves. When we take the time as a group of His followers to worship Him like this, I know that God is so blessed…and isn’t that the ultimate purpose of worship after all?

  • Myron Williams

    Spot on Brian. Too often we hear “let’s stand and worship” when what is meant is “stand and sing.”

    how do we change the language, which changes concept, of worship leaders?

  • Steve Martin

    There used to be a line in our worship liturgy that read, “we worship as we live”.

    It’s no wonder so many make caracitures out of Christians.

    There’s a huge mega-church not too far from us that had their ushers dressup as space-aliens (according to a friend of mine present there that day)to get across the message that ‘we are not of this world’. Hmmm.

  • Brian Jones

    Yes they can SHOULD they is a another question! :)

  • Jon Stolpe

    I still remember walking into CCV during the movie theater days and seeing two people playing a video game on the big screen. I remember thinking, “Can they do that in church?”