For many years I have had a great concern for the quality of corporate worship in evangelical churches. In my soon-to-be-published book, The Pastor’s First Love, I explore this idea from several angles. Here are a couple of paragraphs on this subject, adapted from the book:
“But what happens when an elevated vision of God no longer dominates every part of corporate worship? Worship may then become a combination of the refined and the trite – or even the utterly casual (“bring your coffee with you”). Congregations may still enjoy being together, but a serious malnutrition of the spirit sets in. The horizontal lines of human fellowship may remain intact but they will lack the bonding that grows from a humble sense of the great price Jesus Christ paid to redeem us.
“And the vertical lines of adoration and awe will weaken. Worship leaders may become verbose because the whole event is not regulated by a deep sense of reverence. Style dominates substance, and worship and entertainment become intermixed. Ultimately God’s people leave the event lacking the cleansing and renewing effect of true worship.
“The essence of worship is reflected in the cry of the Heavenly Beings in Isaiah’s temple revelation: ‘Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory’ (Isaiah 6:3). It is reflected in the declaration of Peter when Jesus asked, ‘Who do you say I am?’ Peter replied in a flash of holy insight, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God’ (Matthew 16:16).”
It is my opinion that if churches of many denominational origins are going to stand ready to offer hope to our culture in its current and future times of testing, they must recover a deeper sense of corporate worship when they gather. Let us pray together to that end.