I grew up in a church where on the front of the bulletin it said, “Enter in silence to worship…” (and, believe me, it was silent throughout). I would visit the church where my mom grew up, and it would be full of “Amens” while the pastor preached. That was foreign and scary to me. I had no idea that there were actually believers who were more expressive.
When I was a teenager, I began to see those who were more expressive. They were raising their hands and shouting. I was told that was totally of the flesh and that I should have no part in that because that’s what Charismatics do. Interestingly enough, shouting and the lifting of hands is in the Bible. Despite the fact that it is biblical, people are still afraid of what they do not know. Christians are just quicker to call it wrong if it is unfamiliar.
About 5 years ago, I found freedom in my personal worship. This freedom became a little easier to express publicly. By the time I was a pastor, those denominational Christians probably thought I was crazy. Some didn’t think I was expressive enough (another story for another post). But there came a time when that worship that people called wrong (though still biblical) meant more to me than ever.
When the world you once knew is knocked out from under you, you either get mad at God or find Him sweeter than ever. I did the latter. Going from being a pastor with a family to being all alone and unemployed, Jesus was my reason for staying alive. When I went back into leading worship in denominational churches, I had a lady at the last church I served tell me I reminded her of a Holiness preacher and she liked our denomination better. I laughed because I didn’t think I was that expressive. I believe now that an element of the church was uncomfortable with me and led to some of the pettiness that God used to reveal to me that it was time to leave. It proved to be a blessing because I can biblically express my praise at my current church and I am among friends.
Just because you didn’t grow up with a particular style of worship doesn’t mean it is wrong. You may never be the type to shout “Hallelujah!” or raise your hands, but find out what it means for you to worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). Then allow yourself to grow spiritually to the point where you can stand still and worship while the person next to you is dancing. I promise that you’ll find it liberating, for “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Corinthians 3:17).