From the Preacher’s Pen…
It is one of the most talked about things in religious circles today: How do we make our worship more enjoyable.
Think about that for a moment. Shouldn’t we enjoy our worship so much that our praise is a delight, a joy to us?
A few weeks ago as I began working on this article a fellow preacher wrote on much the same thing. In fact, he did it so well that I want to share what he says on the subject of:
What Really Needs Changed to Make Worship More Enjoyable
For many Christians, the worship assembly feels like a “duty,” in the worst sense of the word. Coming to the worship assembly is something they feel they must do, but not something they enjoy doing. This has left many saying, “It shouldn’t be this way; worship should be enjoyable!” I wholeheartedly agree! But I’m afraid the way many are trying to make worship more enjoyable is resulting in making worship shallow, meaningless, and not even worship at all.
Why Worship Should Be Enjoyable: Praising God with our Christian family should be the thing we find more enjoyable than any other. It should be something we look forward to all week long. It should be our joy and delight.
This is true for the same reason that the night a football team wins a big game, the fans can’t wait to talk to one another about the big win. They call each other on the phone, they post about it on social media, and when they see each other in person, they excitedly say, “Can you believe it?! Wasn’t that incredible?!” They enjoy talking about it almost as much as they enjoyed watching the game in the first place.
Everyone who has ever enjoyed something knows this feeling. When we’re on a great vacation, we almost can’t wait for it to be over so we can get home, tell people about it, and show them the pictures. When we have a great meal, we can’t wait to share with someone how great it was.
In fact, we could say, half the enjoyment is found in expressing our enjoyment. Isn’t it frustrating and disappointing to experience something great, but yet be unable to share it with someone? C.S. Lewis wrote about this, saying, “We delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment.”
When we truly enjoy God for who He is then we will be longing, aching, dying to sing out to someone, “Isn’t God awesome?!” And when they answer back, “Yes! Yes, He is awesome!” we experience the greatest pleasure available in this life.
What We Don’t Need to Change: But when people don’t experience the pleasure we intuitively know worship should bring, they often try to manufacture it through artificial means. They adjust the lighting, update the music style, incorporate drama and skits, use video and other technology, all in an effort to manipulate people’s emotions and “help them enjoy worship.”
But is this even worship? Are those who are enjoying this experience really enjoying God or are they simply enjoying an entertaining show? If it takes a change in lighting – or a change in music style – for you to enjoy sharing with your church family how great God is, maybe you need to stop and ask yourself if what you’re doing can even be called “worship.”
Worship comes from a heart that has been stirred by the goodness of God – as revealed through the Gospel – and NOT by a heart that has been manipulated by dimmed lights and talented performers.
What We DO Need to Change: If we want to make worship more enjoyable, here is what we do need to change… our hearts! We need to fill our hearts with the “word of Christ” so it dwells within us “richly” and then we’ll be able to, “[sing] psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in [our] hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16).
When we daily allow God to reveal Himself to us through the “word of Christ,” then our enjoyment grows and grows throughout the week, finally being completed when we assemble to, “[address] one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in [our] hearts to God” (Ephesians 5:19). And this weekly assembly is just the foretaste of the great assembly that will gather around God’s throne in heaven to enjoy Him forever!
Sadly, many of us don’t think of the worship assembly in this way. We don’t look forward to it. We’re not longing, aching, and dying to come together with our church family and sing to another, “Our God is an awesome God.” Some are content to simply show up and say, “I’ve done my duty.”
But God is not honored by the praise of people who do not enjoy Him. If we don’t enjoy worship, we don’t need to change the music or the lights, we need to change our hearts. We need to start enjoying God every moment of every day, and then we will desperately long for our enjoyment to be completed by praising Him with our church family.
— Wes McAdams online at RadicallyChristian.com
So, how is your worship? Is it a time of joy overflowing your heart as you sing praises to the Lord? Are prayers a precious time of pouring out your thoughts, concerns, needs and praise to God? Do you join in the preaching and teaching to see the thoughts of God that you might apply them to your life to better serve God?
To put it a simpler way: How’s your heart? Is it filled with God’s joy?
If any one of us has heart trouble we quickly find it important to follow the doctor’s instructions and take the medicine or have the procedure that will let us live.
When we sing, pray, study, worship in every way will it be with the joy of hearts that truly love Him who died for us? Or will we chose to die without God’s saving medicine? Choose life beginning today!
— Lester P. Bagley