Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Worship Spectacles Produce Spectators, Not Worshipers

One forgets how refreshing engaged congregational worship is after years of immersion in a passive crowd watching the show. No matter how many times the cheerleader worship leader urges response, most everyone knows they are there to watch, consume, maybe clap hands and sing along, but mostly to be impressed or entertained or moved. The "worship" is for us, not God, which is why we pick churches based on how good (or "rockin'") the music is.

Another good passage from Skye Jethani's great book The Divine Commodity:
This philosophy of spiritual formation through the consumption of external experiences creates worship junkies -- Christians who leap from one mountaintop to another, one spiritual high to another, in search of a glory that does not fade. In response, churches and Christians conferences are driven to create ever-grander experiences and more elaborate productions to satisfy expectations. Ironically, these worship spectacles, according to Sally Morgenthaler, are failing to produce real worshipers. She writes:
We are not producing worshippers in this country. Rather we are producing a generation of spectators, religious onlookers lacking, in many cases, any memory of a true encounter with Gd, deprived of both the tangible sense of God's presence and the supernatural relationship their inmost spirits crave.

Ministries that focus on manufacturing spiritual experiences, despite their laudable intentions, may actually be retarding spiritual growth by making people experience-dependent.

Tomorrow, btw, I'll be participating in Zondervan's blog tour for Jethani's book. I'll have a brief review, plus a one-question interview with him featured in this space, as will the other participating blogs. They are:

Out of Ur ( (

Stuff Christians Like (

Ragamuffin Soul (

Monday Morning Insight (

Mark D Roberts (

Ben Arment (

Church Relevance (

Bob Franquiz (

Bob Hyatt (

Cole-Slaw (

The Forgotten Ways (

Reclaiming the Mission (

The Shlog (

Frank Viola (

The Gospel-Driven Church (

Christina Meyer (

Lee Coate (

Preaching Today (

Gathering In Light (

Off the Agenda (

Take Your Vitamin Z (

Staying Focused (

ZonderFann (

1 comment:

Randi Jo :) said...

*really* hear this one!