“That Worship is Horrible”. Perhaps you’ve heard this one before. Someone participates in a worship service and sometime after corporate worship is ended they say, “Church was good but that worship was horrible.” Usually what that person means is something akin to saying – “it didn’t seem like true, or passionate, or Spirit-led worship was happening during the singing portion of the service.” It’s also possible that person may simply be used to singing for something like 45 minutes and deem all singing periods shorter than that, without extended interludes between some songs, as ‘not Spirit-led’.
Granted, can be there be occasions when it looks like no one is truly interested in what they’re singing about or where people aren’t even singing at all? Yes. Is it possible that the lead worshipper can appear either bored or indifferent or fake? Yes. Is it worth asking the question: “Are we truly worshipping or just singing/playing songs for a specific amount of time?” Yes. And, are all those things of potential concern? Yes. But, nonetheless, here’s the two-fold problem with the statement “that worship is horrible”:
The person making that kind of statement becomes ‘the worship evaluator’ and they assume the ability to know what is in the hearts of people.
Just because someone is quiet for a given period of time does not mean they are not worshipping. While it is objectively true that God’s people ought to sing and not be silent (Ps. 66:1, 4; 67:4; 95:1; 98:4; 100:1; Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16), there shouldn’t be any debate there, perhaps during a given song someone is simply reflecting or thinking about the words they never heard before. And, just because someone doesn’t sing as loud as others or raise their hands doesn’t mean they aren’t worshipping God as much as someone who is singing loud and raising their hands.
The key being: God judges worship based upon what He sees and He doesn’t only see the outward appearance.
If we take on the role of “worship evaluator” we presume too much knowledge. Even if there may seem to be some issues with the worship on a given occasion, our mindset should be – I want God to be pleased with my worship to Him this morning. Therein lies the problem with being a worship evaluator – such a person forgets that their worship is being evaluated. Not merely or potentially by other people, but by God. Such a person often neglects to realize that their preoccupation with critical assessments is a distraction that keeps them from offering to God heart-felt praise.
So while there may be occasions where there are blatant distractions (perhaps via bad musicianship) or unashamed Biblical inaccuracy (perhaps via a song or someone speaking in between or during songs), the latter being an even more serious issue that ought to be quickly addressed, more often than not that kind of statement (“that worship is horrible”) is usually levied from a presumptuous worship evaluator towards an entire room of people who failed to meet that person’s outward worship requirement. Resist such a saying by giving God true worship and leaving all heart worship evaluation to Him.