I wonder sometimes whether we really understand the purpose of worship, and in particular, worship music in the church today? I believe worship is meant to achieve a number of things.
Firstly, it brings our lives into perspective – we go into our worship service, and usually begin with declarations of our faith – acknowledging God’s sovereignty through praise. This puts our position into perspective as God’s servants, and moves the focus of our thinking away from ourselves and onto Jesus.
Secondly, God’s presence enters the gathering when we worship – Psalm 22:3, Matthew 18:20
This is crucial – we worship a God who we know, and who we should expect to show up in response to our praise and worship!
Thirdly, the presence of the Lord releases the anointing, the gifts of the spirit and the prophetic in our midst.
People get healed, experience deliverance, are drawn closer to the Lord in worship that seeks only to please God, not man.
During the charismatic renewal of the 70’s, this became the pattern for worship in the charismatic / pentecostal church, but today the pentecostal landscape seems littered with churches where the the supernatural has been traded in for the more socially acceptable “contemporary christian” format – we put God in a box of 20 minutes of worship, and if the Holy Spirit shows up, well it had better be in that 20 minutes because that may well be the only 20 minutes He gets!
We seem embarrassed or uncomfortable with manifestations of the Lord’s presence – singing in the spirit, dancing, exuberant shouts of praise, speaking in tongues, the gift of prophecy, because we want to be “seeker-friendly” and not offend anyone.
But the Gospel is all about offense! It is so offensive to the natural mind that the religious leaders crucified Jesus because of it.
1 Corinthians 1:18 – For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
Why do we have a tendency to settle for anything less than all God has provided for in worship?