When People Wont Worship – The Worship Series

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How should we respond when people wont worship? Here are two things we should consider.

Lately a lot is being written about worship. Over the past six month so I’ve read Why I’d Rather Worship With the Lights On by J. Lee Grady, What’s Wrong with Contemporary Worship by Terry MacAlmon Misplacing Charisma: Where Worship Lost Its Way by Matthew Sigler, and Why They Don’t Sing on Sunday Anymore by Thom Schultz.

These are just 4 of dozens of articles I’ve read lately. And when I see a theme appear over and over and over…

…well, I start paying attention. Especially when I see these articles repeatedly shared across Facebook with dozens of comments agreeing with the writer.

People are apparently trying to say something!

It is easy for worship leaders and pastors to counteract these arguments with arguments of their own; but what is hard to ignore is the continual, repeated cry for change.

A wise man once said:

“A leader must have followers. If no one is following then you’re not leading – you’re simply on a stroll.”

The Biblical role of the worship leader is to guide people into the presence of God.

This means two things:

1. You should already know the path and destination and
2. You should walk with your followers – meaning that if you charge ahead at them at your own pace leaving them in the dust, you’re still not leading.

When the people don’t follow we need to do these two things:

1. Refuse to Attack

Often the first reaction of leaders is grow defensive and place the blame on the congregation. While the ultimate decision to enter God’s presence lays with the individual, there is much we can do to make the journey difficult or easy.

Many times, in an effort to create a better “atmosphere” we create more distractions that either discourage or even prevent people from fully entering the presence of the Lord.  Which is why we need to…

2. Humbly examine what we’re doing

When the people fail to worship, we ought to take a step back and ask some questions.
Why don’t they worship?  

Are we doing something that distracts them from the One we are worshiping?

What can we change to help them enter the presence of God easier and more fully?

Where is the general focus during the service?

Have we relied on props to do what only the Holy Spirit can do?

For the past year I have wanted to write on this subject, but simply didn’t feel it was the right time. Yesterday I heard the Lord speak to me that it was time to lay aside the articles I had planned for the next two months and write from the heart about the obvious struggle we see in the worship service.
We will explore the arguments being presented as to why people don’t worship, the celebrity culture we see, how worship historically changes in times of revival, hidden dangers we face in leading worship, and what worship really is.

I hope you will join me on this journey as we seek to return to the simplicity of God’s presence!

This post is part of the Worship Series

When People Wont Worship

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  1. “Have we relied on props to do only what the Holy Spirit can do ?”

    I am not here to blame anyone at all because when there is a problem with the Body, usually we’ve all contributed to it. Lord have mercy. Yesterday one of the intercessors at my church was sharing with us something the Lord spoke to her as she waited on Him. It scared me. She said the Lord showed her how many of us in our particular church were simply working out of our comfort zone and not sacrificing and giving our best to Him. It scared me.

    I examined my own life and saw how much I have done things in the flesh and allowed my heart to grow lukewarm without noticing and it was truly frightening to me. Same can happen with worship and I am looking forward to reading this series, Roz. God bless you and have an amazing Monday.

  2. I’ll be looking forward to the series. Sometimes we forget the reason we go to church. My husband is a worship leader and like Gertrude said below, we don’t want to get out of our comfort zone. We want some one to bless us with their worship without acknowledging the importance of our own worship.

  3. We started to see the changes in worship about 25 years ago as the worship teams and praise music (sorry…for lack of a better word) started to come into the church. We used to live an hour away and it infiltrated all the churches, even the conservative ones. What we noticed was that as the music and worship changed, the preaching changed also. Children no longer knew the hymns because they either weren’t sung or sung much less. I love choruses, so don’t misunderstand me. I didn’t read those books and haven’t seen any of these articles. I did read Charismatic Chaos way back in the day. When my oldest were 6 and 4 they didn’t even know the hymn ‘Trust and Obey’ for instance. We ended up getting our own hymn books and teaching our children to sing the hymns especially. Even back then people would listen and hardly sing because it was hard to sing those kinds of songs. They were often more like a solo type of song. I have read several chapters in the book, ‘What Happened to Worship’ (I think that is the title) by Tozer who wrote it way back before any of these changes.

    I’m sorry. I kind of got carried away with a looong comment!!

  4. I’ve read a lot of the posts in FB about how worship is becoming more of a spectator event and why. I really think there are some valid points made. I’m next to you at Lyli’s this week.

  5. “because when there is a problem with the Body, usually we’ve all contributed to it.” Yes – you are sooooo right here! We’ve all been there – working in the flesh, out of our comfort zones. It’s why we need a body that will be faithful to call us to living more sacrificially…more spiritually. You have a great body that challenges you. That is such a blessing!!!

  6. You are always free to get carried away here. 🙂 Like you, I think choruses are good – and so are hymns. We can’t grow imbalanced and sacrifice one for another. In the end, we need sound doctrine and simplicity….doctrine to keep us grounded and simplicity so that the WHOLE body can enter in….those who are musical and those who are not. If we shut out a portion of the body for the sake of professionalism and “a good sound”, we have shifted our focus off of where it should be.

  7. Hello, I do look forward to reading this series as worship is core for warfare and refreshment from His presence! Blessings, Miss Roxy

  8. Honestly before this post I never really thought much about worship. Most of the time I go to church to worship and by the time the sermon comes around my heart is ready to hear what God is saying. You deffinatially opened a new door for me..

  9. Thank you, Candice. I am glad this has opened a new door for you. I love what you said, though – that worship prepares your heart to hear what God is saying. That is exactly as it should be!

  10. “The Biblical role of the worship leader is to guide people into the presence of God.” AMEN! Here’s one of many article about worship on my blog. 220lily.wordpress.com/2015/05/11/in-spirit-and-in-truth/

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