Tuesday, August 14, 2007

How much structure does worship require?

I just read a great little post from Sandra Carawan at the fairly new blog, Selah. It's about structure in worship. I know many churches have a pretty set script for how worship is supposed to go. Even the Holy Spirit would have a hard time breaking through such tight controls over the proceedings.

I guess we need some direction in our worship. Even in the group I church with, a couple of people always have a few songs picked out for us to begin with. We usually start with some of the prepared songs.

But I think we need less structure than we think. In our group, it isn't long before someone just leads out in a song that's on their heart. Soon everyone who knows the song joins in. Then someone else, maybe even a kid, will call out another song. Or someone will quote a scripture, or pray. It's really free, and it's open, and somehow it works. Even with no one really in charge.

I guess more than structure, I have a problem with the concept of leaders and followers in worship. In most churches I've seen, there's a real distinction between the people up front leading worship, and the people in the audience being led in worship. I think that distinction is really damaging to the church.

I think the more biblical approach to worship is in 1 Corinthians 14, where it talks about everyone coming together, and each person having a song, or a scripture, or a teaching. If everyone is involved, there's no leaders and no audience. It's just one people, coming before God in worship.

Tat doesn't mean doesn't visit churches where they have a highly structured worship. It just means that I don't think God intended for us to be passive observers of worship or teaching. He wants all of us to be actively involved, leading and being led, teaching and being taught...


Anonymous said...

Richard, I'm sort of torn over the amount of leadership needed in gatherings of God's church. I do believe there is supposed to be some leadership because why would we read so much about it in Timothy and Titus??? And secondly, in my opinion, there should be leadership even in the worship... God appointed the worshippers to go before the ARK where ever it went. Where ever the Spirit of God (HIS Presense)goes it is ushered in by the PRAISE of His people. I guess I'm just frustrated with the bondages of people more concerned about a "performance" rather than just letting loose and just letting worship be TRUE and PURE. You know what I mean? Anyway, I think we both sound like were on the same page. Walking with you up the same mountain...see you along the way or at the top!!!

Richard J said...

I think we are essentially in agreement on the important thing: that God's people need to look to the Holy Spirit for leadership, not depend on other human beings. As far as the Timothy and Titus passages, I believe those describe a position in the church, but leadership? I'm not so sure.

If we're all kings and priests, and there is no distinction between persons in the body, then how do we determine a leader other than Jesus Himself?

I believe 1 Corinthians 14 sets the standard for gatherings of the church. In that passage, everyone participates in every aspect of body life. And the group, in a sense leads itself, with the guidance, hopefully, of the Holy Spirit.

Anyway, I'm always glad to run into other people who are hashing out the same issues. I have a feeling that as long as we're open to the Holy Spirit, God is pleased with our worship. After all, we'll only worship perfectly in Heaven!

God bless...

Anonymous said...

Yes,...I believe you nailed that on the head in saying that we need to look to the Holy Spirit to guide us all in our worship rather than being spiritually lazy and expecting the so called "worship leader" to always be our usher.