Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Worship v. Experience

With the decline in mainline denominations and the rise of the .tv churches, I have to wonder, "is this really the direction God wants us to go?" I am not saying that the mainline denominations are all right or that the .tv churches do not have a valid ministry, but I am wondering if in our enthusiasm to make Christ compete with culture we haven't gone too far.

Case in point: I saw a sign on a .tv church yesterday that read, "Experience times: _____" and then listed the times for their services. The typical "worship" times of a traditional church was replaced with the word "experience." Let's look at this closely. We are not coming together to 'worship' God, we are coming together to experience something (presumably God.) Well, that's all well fine and dandy, and I hope those in my congregation are meeting the living God in our worship services too, but what's the main point? Are we there to get something for ourselves? Or are we there to worship God?

This simple wording is taking the focus off of God and placing it squarely on the people. We are such a "me" generation and culture. Does this really have to be all about us too? I guess, they would say, 'yes.'

Not only as a pastor, but as a Christian I was offended. It isn't about us. The world does not revolve around us. And if they want to use the word "experience" then it should be about us coming to God and God having the 'experience' of us there to worship. But of course, that was not the connotation.

We experience God everyday, whether we recognize God working in our lives or not. Don't you think it is right that we give God our devotion, our time, our full attention at least one measley hour a week? Does it always have to be about us?

I know they are trying to reach people, but the early church was persecuted, met in dark, damp catacombs and other un-pretty places, and it grew ten-fold. They were not out canvassing neighborhoods and offering times of "experience." They were telling the people coming that they would have to "take up their cross." And they still grew. The message of Christ is enough for that culture and ours.

What do you think?

1 comment:

CurtissAnn said...

Sonja-- I nod at a lot that you write. I've been thinking about what's happening with the decline in the mainline denominations. I have difficulty with them myself, however, I also see that it is the denominations that have built most of the schools, hospitals, and charities institutions in this nation. While not to be discarded, they do seem to need the fire of what they once had. I'm praying for our churches.