Thoughts on Modern Worship

14 09 2007


Copyright 2007 Kelsey Hough. All rights reserved.

For the past few years, sadly, I’ve been far from impressed with the Christian concerts I’ve attended. The concerts have been everything from the small unknown local bands, to the ones whose songs dominate most young church goers’ CD players, and some in-between.

At one concert I was at, after the electric guitar solo and light show had ended, the lead singer decided to give an altar call, but he failed to even mention sin and the importance of the Cross, so it turned into a “God Wants to be Your Buddy” talk. I was left wondering if the man had come to a saving knowledge of God, himself.

“Christian” Concerts

At other concerts, there have been big, burly men — who looked like bouncers at a wild night club — whose sole job was to separate the “worshipers” from each other so they don’t hurt someone.

And there are always the hysterical teenage girls who scream about how “hot” the band members are throughout the evening, and then chatter later about what an amazing “worship” experience it was. I do concur that they did spend the evening worshiping, but rather than worshiping the King of Glory, they sang and screamed for the people on the stage. They “worshiped and served the created things rather than the Creator.” (Romans 1: 25)

The numbers at these “Christian” events seem to showcase how Christianity itself is morphing into something which closely resembles the MTV culture — materialistic, self-absorbed, lust-saturated, and run and operated by a few rock stars on a stage, rather than by men and women of spiritual maturity. It isn’t the music industry, specifically, that I find heartbreaking. It’s modern Christianity on a whole, and it just manifests more fully in concert settings.

Set Apart

When did Christianity and worship stop being about Jesus Christ dying for us, and become about Consumerism, instead?

As a Christian, I’ve been called to be set apart, but the modern church is on its way to becoming nothing more than the sanitized version of what’s around it — the PG version of an MTV world. God doesn’t want fans, He wants disciples – people who are willing to pick up their cross and follow Him. It’s not a fun or simplistic calling; it’s a call to die.  But it’s only in dying to ourselves that we can truly live.

I often wish I could show people how amazing what Christ did for us truly is, to somehow be able to hold the wonder and the glory of the Cross in my hands, but it’s like trying to explain a sunset to someone who’s never seen colors.

True worship, which is a lifestyle not a musical style, is such a beautiful thing — an expression of love and thankfulness for our Lord and Savior. I think it’s heartbreaking when anything else takes its place. Drop me a note if you’d like reprint permission.



17 responses

14 09 2007

This is a timely topic given the growing popularity of “worship” music.
i’d like to know when worship became music. It is so much more than that, although when God appointed certain craftsmen to make instruments and blessed others, like David, to write psalms and hymns of praise, it was a part of worship. Now, it is just another market, a way to make money- the money-changers in the temple, so to speak.

When Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well, He spoke of worshiping “in spirit and in truth”.

14 09 2007
Mrs. Nicklebee

Thank you, Kelsey. I appreciate your perspective. I didn’t know anyone under the age of about 30 thought like that!

15 09 2007

What the saying? There is no christian music… Just the christians behind the music, eh?
Last night I spent some time with a local band, worhsipping with music and prayer. It was awesome and I understand how a lot of bands say that their most intimate worship moments with God aren’t on the stage.

“Chrsitan worship” shouldn’t even be considered a music genre, but a lifestyle. Music as worship has been around since the early days, but that doesn’t make it the most important part of worshipping God, even though it might seem the one with the best experience…

It’s wonderful if you can get something “out of it” at concerts and stuff, but God doesn’t care where and when and with whom we worship, he cares “who” we worship….

15 09 2007

When did Christianity and worship stop being about Jesus Christ dying for us, and become about Consumerism, instead?

I actually believe it began with D. James Kennedy popularizing Evangelism Explosion and its spin offs. Suddenly evangelism was taken from relationship based to marketing based.

And everyone knows the more people you get into your particular building, the more pleasing you are to God–no matter who they are or why they come.

15 09 2007
Tim Kurek

Truly an excellent blog! I’m in total agreement with you. The problem lies in the “user friendly” emergent church that is tyring to be friends before they preach the word. I will check back.

I just wrote a blog called Give Yourself Away. Please check it out and let me know what you think.

tim kurek

15 09 2007

Thank you for your bold stand. I was so blessed by this article that I linked to it in a post, and shared my thoughts on it. Thanks again for not just feeding out what people like to read, but what people NEED to read.

17 09 2007

I do concur that they did spend the evening worshiping, but rather than worshiping the King of Glory, they sang and screamed for the people on the stage. They “worshiped and served the created things rather than the Creator.” (Romans 1: 25)

That reminds of what we were talking about the other day:
The “stickmen worshiping the other stickman” thing.
Even if it’s not a specific item they’re worshiping, it’s still not worshiping God himself and therefore making an idol out of “another stickman.”

You should write a post about the stickman thing. I think it would be good.

That’s all I have to say,

18 09 2007

Excellent and much needed post.

Unfortunately, many people in the church today believe that there actually is revival taking place right now because of things like growing churches (mainly due to purpose-driven stuff, “feel good” sermons, easy believism, and slick marketing campaigns), and also because of things like Christian concerts where everyone’s so excited to “worship” together.

The whole Christian concert thing is a sore point with our family. My oldest daughter stopped attending Christian concerts after going to several large regional sorts of things with friends during her high school years. The commercialization of Christianity absolutely repulsed her. After paying a pretty large entrance fee, the festival goers then spent probably hundreds of dollars each on the vast array of “I Mosh for Jesus” and band T-shirts, bumper-stickers, CD’s, and other “Jesus junk” displayed throughout the festival grounds.

My daughter heard so many people at the various festivals comment about the “revival” that they see sweeping America. They seemed to feel that the size of the crowds at festivals and the enthusiasm of the “worshipers” were the absolute proofs of revival. But my daughter came away from the festivals with exactly the opposite appraisal of the state of modern Christianity.

She decided that the modern Church is now so apostate that the average church-goer and young (or old!) concert “worshiper” wouldn’t recognize true worship … or true repentance … or true revival … or true faith if those things reached up and bit ‘em in the rear.

And I’ve gotta say that I agree with her view — and with yours — of the modern Church.

18 09 2007

“…but it’s like trying to explain a sunset to someone who’s never seen colors.”

You sound like you need encouragement. Try to think back to before you were saved consider what it took for you to understand and accept. Then try to think about the personal story of others you know. When we realize our own blindness and the blindness of others who have become Christians, then we can have great hope for non-Christians we meet.

In most senses we are just the same, we are human. If there was hope for me there certainly is hope for others. I believe this is one of the reasons we should share our testimony and receive the testimony of others. It really helps us to understand the ways our Lord can reach our hearts.

Live your life, love the Lord, and the Spirit will show you how to communicate the “wonder and glory”.

18 09 2007

oops, looks like I don’t know how to use the citation tags. I was trying to insert your words at the top of my comment:

…but it’s like trying to explain a sunset to someone who’s never seen colors.

18 09 2007

“I often wish I could show people how amazing what Christ did for us truly is”……

I think we can, Kelsey, simply by living with His love in our hearts. The single, best compliment anyone has ever given me was this……..”I see God working in you, and I want that in my life.”

It can happen.

19 09 2007
Eric Novak

I really think you are right, I always find myself wondering at the way people seem to cheer for the people on stage, rather then the God leading those people.

And as you said I really get frustrated when people try to lead others to Christ using methods that don’t show Gods whole plan. Its like trying to give a antidote to someone who doesn’t know they’re poisoned, or medicine to someone who doesn’t know they are sick. Saying that you have a God shaped hole in your heart is not going to lead someone to Christ. Saying that Christ is going to make your life better is not going to help someone have a lasting relationship.

RYC: Thanks Kelsey, I had a really good time at the confrence and with my sister. I will be posting on it soon.


21 09 2007
Hannah Michelle

Kelsey, this is an excellent, thought-provoking post. Something I need to be reminded of myself. It is very easy for us to get caught up worshiping the created instead of the Creator. I love going to concerts and cheering my favorite artists on; for me it’s a form of Godly entertainment, like watching a really good movie. I often do find it a time of worshiping God, but I don’t necessarily go with that expectation.

As you said, worship is a lifestyle, not a musical style. I am blessed to know some of the artists I support personally, and I believe the aim of their hearts is to worship God through their lives, and that carries over into their job – which happens to be singing Christian music. I know this is not the case with all artists, and we should be careful where our attention is being turned. Does this draw me closer to Christ?

Btw, I haven’t had much time to look around yet, but I’m really liking your blog. Keep up the good work!

22 09 2007

Looks like you edited my earlier comment to fix my formatting error. I suppose I should view the source so I can learn from this. Thanks.

Another thought about this post that hit me was, ironically a Christian rock song jumped to mind. I can’t seem to find the lyrics or title, but I think it was a Third Day song. They were singing about how worship is more than just a song. Amusing in its irony.

I don’t typically go to concerts and my standards for choosing Christian music are: the words should be intelligible; and the words should be supported by scripture. If these conditions can’t be met, then it really can’t be considered worship.

20 10 2007

Truth is, this is the result when we try to mix a worldly lifestyle and form of music with Christianity, and is exactly the thing the Bible is telling us when it says not to be “of the world.” I’m not saying there should be no “Christian rock” at all… but I’ve seen it destroy some of my friend’s lives, because they start there… and move on. The focus in rock music is not on the words, but on the beat, so it only follows that many Christian rock groups would not focus on the Creator of music, but on the creator of the song.

27 12 2007

Yes, I couldn’t agree with this more!
I can’t remember how I got here, but I think it was through the Emotional Purity blog. Either way, I’m glad I did, because it’s refreshing to see someone else thinking the same counter-cultural thing. 😉


20 07 2008
God's child

Yes, I agree with you, and I am deeply dissapointed by this fact. Many times, I listen to a song, and I REALLY like it, and I found myself truly worshipping God when I sing that song, and then, when I go to check out the concert, I see a wild concert, with guys playing their guitars like they would at a rock concert, and the stage is so dark, and the red lighting mixed with the blackness around gives me a very strange feeling. Just because we are young, it doesn’t mean that we should behave like the world so we can attract others. Sadly, I have done that before, and I found myself in a sinful pit, rather than pulling others out. So, stay on the narrow path. God bless you!

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