Concert vs. Worship

Posted on June 19, 2007 by

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Modern churches are facing a new problem. Having pushed our musicians to excellence we have come to the point where some in the congregation see the musical aspect of worship as becoming more like a concert and less like a worship service. I think that we have been limiting our musicians by restricting their playing as to not “get in the way” of worship. There are two factors that determine the effectiveness of a worship gathering, now these are not the only elements that can contribute to a worship gathering but these are aspects that I think have been overlooked in considering how we build our services.

These two aspects are

1) The attitude of those in front.

2) The Expectations of those in the congregation

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First is the attitude of the leaders. As leaders we either approach each service as a Worship gathering, thus taking on the role of ushering our people into the presence of God while worshiping ourselves, or as a concert performance, where we showcase our talents as a personal offering of worship to God. We also have to consider the expectations of the congregation. They come to each gathering expecting something. They either expect a worship gathering, that is to be a participant in the praise of of God as the body of Christ, or they come expecting a concert, where they are entertained and encouraged by those in front display the talents that God has given them and the time that they have put into developing the talents.

The effectiveness of each gathering is how these two things interact. The best result is when both the expectations of the congregation and the attitudes of the leaders are in agreement as to the function of the gathering.

When the service is framed as a worship service and the congregation comes expecting a worshipful experience then we have an effective worship experience.

When those in leadership come being ready to perform a concert and the congregation comes expecting to see a concert then we have an effective concert.

Problems arise when there is no correlation between the expectations and the attitudes.

One problem is when the congregation comes expecting a concert and the leaders have prepared a worship services. Now this problem isn’t all bad. If the leaders have prepared excellently and are passionate about what they’re doing, then their passion will overflow onto the congregation and the people will adapt to the new situation.

A bigger problem is when the leaders have prepared a concert and the congregation is expecting a worship service. This will produce dissatisfaction and possibly even resentment. Also it is much more difficult for leaders to change the service to be a worship service when they have prepared a concert.

This is not to say that Concerts have no place in a church setting. As musicians that are creative and artistic we need an outlet for our skills and talents. What better place to show what God has given us and how we are being good stewards than in the church. We need to be encouraging our artists to excellence and giving them the outlet for their wealth of skill. We also need excellence in our worship services but it is an excellence with the overarching concept of service.

I hope that this can be of some help at least to spark some critical thinking.

God bless and keep you all

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Posted in: Theology