Bad Ideas About Worship (Part 1)

Open up your Internet browser and google out the word “worship.” Then, click on the Images tab on Google. The images you see are what majority of people think what worship is: raised hands, musicians in the background, singers in the foreground, dimmed lights, flashing lights, large letters spelling out “JESUS” surrounded by worshipers, or a cross in the background with people around raising their hands like Son Goku powering up his energy ball. Mind you, I am not entirely against these expressions. But if you think that worship is all about these, I must tell you that you are terribly wrong.

What is worship?

The word itself comes from the word “worth.” Worship means placing high value or worth to something. In simple terms, worship is the act of giving honor or showing respect. Nevertheless, we should understand that the Bible gives a clearer picture of what giving honor or showing respect means. It does not mean unconscious, automatic, nor just outward expressions of giving honor or respect. Worship involves conscious obedience and reasonable, heartfelt love and adoration.

The Bible is strictly specific that we should worship the one true God alone. It is not because He needs it, but because He is the only one who deserves it. The first sentences in the Ten Commandments alone speak for itself. “You shall have no other gods.” “You shall not make for yourself an image.” “You shall not bow to them or worship them.” See Exodus 20. Moreover, the Bible shows us the ways and the attitudes we should worship God with. God is very clear in warning against the wrong kind of worship. Even though we know these guidelines, we have this tendency to make gods out of messengers, methods, and messages. We’ll talk about them in the next article.

For now, let’s deal with what follows. Listed below are the top bad ideas about worship that many Christians believe.

1. Good worship needs good music.

This statement came from the idea that worship is all about the first part of much contemporary Christian church worship service: the “Praise and Worship.” While the Bible encourages us to make music and songs to praise God and lift up one another in the church (see the whole Psalms; Colossians 3:16), nowhere in the Bible does it say that worship is all about church music or singing. Worship is not equal to singing and church music. It is sad to say that because people kept on throwing the word worship while referring to the singing and making music, we are now losing what worship really means. What’s worst is that a lot of people think that worship is the slow, mellow songs and praises are the fast, rock songs. Where on biblical earth did you get that idea?

What makes it bad? Overemphasis on church music and singing put other acts of worship or spiritual disciplines in an inferior light. In addition, too much emphasis on music leads people to enjoy the music more than the fellowship with other Christians. Sometimes, even when the lyrics of the song are badly written, people sing it because the music is really good. This produces unthinking Christians, prone to wander and easily misled. Furthermore, it takes away what worship’s real measure is. It is not good music but obedience and reasonable, heartfelt love and adoration towards God, translating into a Christlike behavior and life of holiness.

2. People in the worship team must be really good worshipers.

Not necessarily! But then again, what do we mean by the “worship team” and do we really need one? When people say this, what they really mean is the band performing in front, “leading” people to worship God through music and singing. Almost all Christian churches nowadays have some kind of a team or band leading the singing (and dancing). Almost all “worship team” or band aspire to reach the level of celebrated “worship bands” like Hillsong United and Planetshakers.

What makes it bad? Skilled and talented Christians offering their gifts to God and using them to encourage others in giving Him honor are admirable. Nevertheless, skills and talents alone do not translate to good worship. They do not make one a good worshiper either. In fact, most often than not, many young people aim to develop their skills and talents in churches for selfish and prideful reasons. In addition, too much focus on the band leads to idolatry or celebrity mentality.

Have you known other ideas about worship that are just as bad? Do you have any thoughts about worship that you want to know if they are bad ideas or not? Hit us with a comment below.

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