Worship is Not a Spectator Sport

Worship was never meant to be a spectator sport where we sit back and cheer on the team on the playing field.

I attended an upscale church for a few years that spent tonnes of money on great sound equipment and lovely surroundings. We had ‘specials’ every Sunday evening sung by highly trained soloists and duos accompanied by dramatic pianists. Beautiful frocks and stylish suits were mandatory attire for the team. We were dazzled by their talent, but after a while, it all seemed hollow – at least it did for me. It felt as if we were in the audience to be entertained. We were allowed to appreciate the talent and perhaps the anointing of the musicians and singers. Still, we were kept apart from fully engaging, so we didn’t mess things up with an occasional sour note or out-of-synch clap. The unspoken message was “Leave the ‘real worship’ to the professionals.”

Worship was never meant to be a spectator sport where we sit back and cheer on the team on the playing field. Worship Leaders I admire most are the ones who put Jesus first. They are there to pour out their hearts to the King of kings. They create an atmosphere of invitation, drawing others into the secret place.

However, It’s up to us to take up that invitation. Will we be engaged and focused, or will we watch from the bleachers? Worship was never meant to be something to listen to that momentarily moves our emotions but does not move our hearts toward our Lord.

David played his harp in King Saul’s court, and the King experienced temporary freedom from what tormented his soul. But I wonder, did Saul turn his attention and affection to the Lord as David sang his psalms, or was David’s worship mere pleasant background music at dinner parties in the King’s court?

I often have worship music playing as I go about my day. But I understand listening to my favourite worship band does not mean I am in a posture of worship. Worship must be intentional. It requires focus and a willingness to be vulnerable and authentic with our Creator God.

I invite you to spend time with the Lord, asking Him for His thoughts about worship. Worship at home at least once this week. Put away distractions. Put your phone on “Do not Disturb” and set it aside. Be intentional and focused, giving Him your full attention. Dare to make a joyful noise and sing loudly with the worship music! Now is not the time to use your ‘inside voice.’ It doesn’t matter to the Lord that you are tone-deaf. All worship is beautiful to our Saviour. God loves the sound of His people in worship!

©2023 Katherine Walden