Recently, I was asked this question by a group of college students and young adults and I found it an intriguing question. My first thought was, “The biggest detriment in corporate worship services today has to be judgmental attitudes.” Pharisaical ways of judging people, watching others intently with the heart to discredit their sincerity or to pick apart their actions. I mean, let’s be real – this is normal in any church. During worship, people all over the room are judging others in petty, sinful ways. So I thought, “That has to be it!”
But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that sinful, judgmental attitudes is not the bottom line. It goes deeper than that.
Think about it, God is the only being in the ENTIRE universe WORTHY of worship! Throughout Scripture He explains how He adores our worship, not only because it glorifies Him, but because it’s good for us.
So I think we can boil every problem within corporate worship down to one problem: we come into worship unprepared. We come to our worship gathering in the wrong mindset, not ready for God to speak. Not ready to worship. Not intently aware of His presence among us. Why? Several reasons.
Deep down, we don’t naturally think that our participation matters. We walk in, sit down like we would for a movie or a play, and ATTEND a worship gathering. Some think, “This is for everyone else,” while others are just there to OBSERVE.
We live in a busy, consumeristic society and that bleeds right over into how we walk into corporate worship: “I think it’s too loud! I can’t hear him! This music is just stuffy! This isn’t a rock concert! Her voice is horrible; why do they always let her sing?!? This service is too long – can’t he cut his sermon down so we can get outta here already?!?” We walk in as a patron at a restaurant, feeling as if we have the authority to judge if worship is WORTHY or not of our time.
Let me tell you a personal detriment that I see in corporate worship, especially in my life at times. There have been many times that I’ve walked into worship and NOT felt spiritually needy, which gears my heart to just “go through the motions.” Anytime we don’t feel spiritually needy, I’m trying to be a man that’s in control of my own life…and that’s a serious problem.
Not feeling spiritually needy and not feeling the need to participate are both signs of being ill-prepared for corporate worship…and I’ve got to come to grips that this is just not acceptable EVER. God HIGHLY values the way in which we worship Him in our hearts and minds; therefore, we’ve got to honor Him with our preparation for worship.
How do we prepare well? Walk in with expectation and awe of what He CAN do and WILL do with our time together. Expect God to speak to you intellectually, for Him to touch your heart and emotions, and, more than anything, expect and get ready for Him to try to make His will YOUR will…and expect Him to do this every single time.
Open yourself up to the Lord and let Him speak to you directly. This isn’t about hymns or contemporary music, pews or chairs, suits or jeans…this isn’t even JUST about judgmental attitudes. It’s about me and you walking into corporate worship experiences prepared in our minds and hearts for God to move in us. If you can do that, nothing will deter you from hearing the voice of God and offering Him pure adoration and worship.