Posts Tagged ‘critique of contemporary worship services’

How do you feel about Christian churches these days?

Based on the many Facebook posts I read, some of you are very happy with your church … especially if the church is ministering effectively to your kids.  If so, that’s wonderful.

I’m struggling … and I wonder if it’s just me.

Last Sunday, my wife and I attended a megachurch in our community.  We’re in the process of church shopping and want to make sure we’re covering all the bases in our area.

We sat on the far right side of the worship center … but I didn’t know that the church puts its services online.  Suddenly, this huge boom camera goes flying over our heads … back and forth, back and forth.

If the thing fell, the coroner would have to be summoned.

So we moved to the back row in the next section over … but that didn’t stop the camera from hovering above us again.

At one point, it got so low that I could have reached out and touched it … but what I really wanted to do was stop the thing from flying over my head every thirty seconds!

Fortunately, the service was great, right?

I don’t even want to mention this … but here goes.  (Lord, if I’m just being a cranky former pastor, please forgive me.)

The music was fine … at least I knew some of the songs … but church music is starting to sound the same to me wherever I go – especially the lyrics.  You could take the lyrics to any song, jumble up their order, and write another song with them … and another … and another …

I’m starting to long for “Here I raise my Ebenezer” and “My sin, O the bliss of that glorious thought …”

The pastor was away, so there was a guest speaker … with the obligatory shirt tail out.  (Can someone explain this trend to me?  Is this somehow more biblical or godly … or is it all about being cool?  Would that same person dress like that while making a business presentation?  Just saying.)

The guest speaker had a great introduction – he actually used a story … and then never used another one.  Not one.  Zilch.  With little application, either.  And no outline.  It almost felt like he made up the sermon as he walked to the pulpit.

And he probably walked away with $2,000 per service for his efforts.

I’m just getting started, so if you want to turn back now …

There’s something else I’m struggling with: the lack of intellectual challenge in preaching today.

Can somebody please come up with something that makes us think?

One or two meaningful quotes would be nice … or a story about a great leader from church history … or a detailed explanation of a theological truth.

But instead, it seems like the preaching is designed for spiritual ninth graders.  I was in ninth grade once … but I don’t want to go back there again.

And one more thing … has anything happened in Christendom between the resurrection of Jesus and yesterday’s news?  While our preaching needs to be biblically based, when is the last time you heard a preacher refer to Martin Luther, or John Calvin, or the Anabaptists, or the Reformation?

To steal a quote from Howard Hendricks, modern-day Christianity is a mile wide and an inch deep.

And what’s happened to gifted vocalists and musicians?

If you love Jesus, and He gave you a beautiful voice, are you relegated to singing on the praise/worship team for all eternity?  Why are churches intentionally not allowing gifted vocalists to sing solos or duets anymore?  At our home church in Phoenix, we had one or two vocal selections every Sunday … and they were often the best part of the service … but my guess is that less than 10% of the churches I’ve visited allow such singers to use their gifts.

Can we please hear something besides praise/worship music all the time?

As I look back over more than 50 years of sitting in church, do you know what I remember best?

Illustrations and solos.

When I talked to a friend recently about my feelings, he told me I need to teach on a regular basis.

Oh, no … God couldn’t be telling me that, could He?

Am I the only one who feels this way?

This holy rant is now concluded.

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