Ok. We're here. I can't believe what a fuss those kids made getting out of the house. Sometimes I wonder if it's really worth getting here in time for all the music; I'd be just as happy being here for the sermon - feed me and get me outta here. Oh well, I know my wife likes it when we're here on time. Although I could do without the fashion police routine - just because my pants hang on a hanger all week doesn't necessarily mean that I HAVE to iron them, does it?
I wonder who's leaving worship this morning? I hope it's... oh no, its her. I know she means well but oh man, her intros are always SOO long. Focus! No rabbit trails. Just write something out and read it! I must be getting old. I remember when we used to read Scripture at the beginning of the service? Wow. She's still going. Really long this morning. I hope the sermon’s not too long.
OK, here we go. Singing. Is it just me or is it quiet in here? Why is the sound system turned down so low this morning? I hate hearing myself sing. Awkward. At least it's not like last week. It was so loud; funny though seeing everybody cranking down their hearing aids at the same time.
Uh-oh. High note. Here we go. Ugh. I can't believe they expect people to sing that high. I mean, the congregation just goes quiet right then every time. Well, except for the granny warblers. Ok, second time through the chorus, still can't hit that high note. Having my mouth open like this make me want to yawn. Huh, at least it's not just me - the pastors sipping his water too. That's funny.
Prayer time. Oh right, that guy always prays. "Father, we just thank You Jesus for...". Do these people even listen to themselves as they pray? I mean, we don't have to say God or Jesus at the beginning and end of every phrase. I should try that with my wife sometime - 'honey, I just want to thank you dear for making such a good supper tonight love. And dear, I want you to know... '. Gotta focus... 'Mr. Sanders, I just want to thank you for employing me sir and giving me a job Mr. Sanders and always coming through with a paycheck Mr. Sanders.'. LOL. Wait, can I LOL myself? I’ll have to ask my kids.
Singing again. Although, I’m not sure if I’m supposed to sing. It’s just him singing – he’s got a good voice so maybe this is a solo? Looking around. Some people are singing. Some people are just looking confused. Well, approaching critical mass. And, ok. Now I think I better sing. Oh but this song drives me crazy. I thought I recognized it. Who decides what we sing anyways? I get that we have an intimate relationship with God but this is going a little too far. I just don't think that I can feel honest about singing those words to God.
You know the guy. The guy with his arms crossed, staring at you as you lead worship, sometimes singing. This is my guess at what he might be thinking, although, I sincerely hope that he wasn’t thinking all of those things on any given Sunday. And really, there are some maturity issues within that running monologue that need to be addressed. ‘Feed me and get me outta here?’ ‘I hope it’s so and so leading worship?’ Those ideas really flow from a self-centred view of worship – I come to get out of it what I want. That misses out of the 1 Corinthians 14 truth that the worship service is about everyone being built up as God is glorified and maybe that’s an issue needs to be addressed by church teaching.
Admittedly though, this guy makes some good points. While trying to be a little funny and for sure over dramatic to make the point, I tried to maintain the assumption that this guy was a faithful, born-again believer, or at least someone open to the faith who sincerely (whether or not his macho appearance would communicate it) desired to have a meaningful meeting with God. And he’s right – if we as worship leaders forget the ‘everyone being built up as God is glorified’ part, we risk alienating the people we are meant to lead.
‘Everyone being built up as God is glorified’ means that we need to be intentional about helping our congregation to worship, helping them to see what’s happening and what’s happening next. Focused calls to worship, good volume level, singable keys, prayer both with the mind and with the spirit, clear indicators when to sit and stand and sing; these things will help people to approach God meaningfully no matter what their background or personality.
And hopefully with prayer and teaching and intentional effort to serve the congregation, you’ll see that guy’s arms go from across his chest, into the air to praise our gracious God, who deserves our absolute and unobstructed worship.