I Was Just Thinking About - - -
There are a growing number of people in today’s world who no longer consider corporate worship as a necessity for their lives. Something is causing people to set aside the spiritual dimension and focus primarily on the physical. The preoccupation becomes either education, employment or recreation. An observation one can make is to drive around the town or city in which one resides and observe the activity around the various homes. In many instances, there will be no evidence that a person or family is preparing to go to Sunday School or Worship Services. When making these observations, it might be wise to make a note of the location of the home and whether or not children were present. This could then become a matter for individual and corporate prayer - and - a followup visit to the home and an assessment of any spiritual need or interest. Such a visit might even provide one with an opportunity for evangelism or helpful counseling.
The broader picture focuses on why people absent themselves from corporate worship. There are some major factors that contribute to one’s lack of interest in the visible Church. One factor is the length of the service and sermons that circle the runway several times before landing. In other words, the preaching that should be vibrant as the Word is proclaimed becomes stale and boring. Another factor is the music structured into the service. In order to be “contemporary”, there has been the introduction of Praise Teams/Bands. Some of them believe their task is to increase the level of volume to a deafening decibel level. This makes any song - either contemporary worship chorus or traditional hymn - unsingable. If the music suddenly stopped, no voice would be heard. It is an ignored fact. People may not say anything about it to anyone but they leave and will become reluctant to return to any church service. One other factor is the friendliness of the attendees. Not just a greeter at the door but a general sense of being in a place where one has a sense of belonging and oneness. A great hindrance can be in the seating arrangement of the “regulars” who attend. If one’s body language communicates “you’re sitting in my place”, the visitor will more than likely never return.
Many will make the argument of worship music from Psalm 100:1-2 (NIV), “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” Others will appeal to the Hallel Psalms 145 through 150 and how God should be approached with music, especially Psalm 150:3-5 (ESV), “Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!” A good illustration and application for the intent of these Psalms would be either the Salvation Army Band and/or the Moody Bible Institute Orchestra and Chorus. In neither instance is there the deafening decibel factor or the non-discernible words that are being sung. In other words, one can enter in joyful worship and praise apart from the dominance of a praise team that is neither worshipful or praiseworthy.
The better picture we have of the intent for music in the worship experience is summarized in Colossians 3:15-16 (NIV), “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” This is also stated in Ephesians 5:18-20, “Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” As one worships in this manner, the words will always be discernible. They will also be useful to both encourage and edify each other. The Scripture never urges a “racket” but a “joyful sound” to the Lord. Consider these things with me!