Worship: Spectator or Participator Sport?

I could address this subject from so many different angles. Some of you who read this are more reserved and probably lean toward worship being for spectators. You were raised in a church where you watched and listened to the choir, the pastor, and anyone else who participated. You may have slightly engaged in congregational singing of songs that may have had little to no effect on you. Some of you were raised in a highly participatory church where the choir or preacher may have been ministering, and you were jumping pews, hanging from chandeliers, lifting your hands, shouting, or some other outward expression.

I’m not sure what affects this. I have found that most men in the churches I served were too macho to sing. I guess being the slightest bit emotional about God leads to losing “man points”? Many people I know were taught that only Pentecostals get expressive. I am not Pentecostal, but I have no reservations about getting excited about Jesus publicly or privately.

Worship is a verb. At the end of the day, your level of expression is not measured by my critique. Jesus measured worship participation with two words: spirit and truth (John 4:24). He didn’t measure it by style or denomination. You may be reserved and find it difficult to express your love for the Lord like others. If it is in spirit (spirited) and rooted in the truth of Scripture, you’re good.

So today, I challenge you to go deeper than a casual, nonchalant encounter with Jesus. Many of my Clemson Tiger fans are “All In” as they are celebrating Clemson’s victory earlier this week with today’s festivities. Some of them are more “in” for Dabo and the Tigers than they are Jesus. Jesus is looking for more from us. He is looking for surrender. Are we sideline spectators who think we know how it should be done, or are we on the field for Jesus showing the world how it should be done as Christ shines through us?

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10 thoughts on “Worship: Spectator or Participator Sport?

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  1. Worship of God is a lifestyle. Listening to his voice and obeying him is the highest worship. Matthew, you nailed it when you said surrender. When I think about how good he has been to me, I want to express it with my whole heart!

  2. LOL, amen, well said! I am not in the spectator sport camp, but there are some kinds of worship that are just a nice rest for your soul. We often do a candlelight vigil on Christmas eve that is like that.

    Where I live, most of the men are actually far more excited about worship, they sing with enthusiasm. It’s the women who are more reserved, a bit shy. My own husband however, is just like you say, reserved about getting too emotional about God, in public anyway.

    1. I had a quieter worship experience this Christmas in a Pentecostal church. It was actually a more liturgical service where the Spirit of God spoke softly to me through the songs, carols, Scripture, and responsive readings. It reminds me of the lyrics from Mercy Me’s “I Can Only Imagine”: “Will I dance for You, Jesus, or in awe of You be still?”

  3. AT ONE TIME IN MY LIFE I WAS ASHAMED TO RAISE MY HANDS AND PRAISE GOD OUT LOUD. I WENT THROUGH SOME VALLEYS THAT I FELT I WAS ALONE. IF GOD HAD NOT BEEN WITH ME ,I FEAR TO THINK WHERE I WOULD BE TODAY. GOD IS WORTHY OF PRAISE. I CAN NOT KEEP FROM PRAISING HIM. I HAVE A LOUD VOICE AND MOST OF THE TIME IN CHURCH I WAS THE ONLY ONE PRAISING OUT LOUD. PEOPLE WOULD TURN AND LOOK. I WAS EVEN TOLD THAT I TOOK AWAY FROM THE SERVICE BY PRAISING GOD OUT LOUD.WELL I DON’T GET THERE ANY MORE SO I HOPE SOMEONE IS SITTING IN OUR SEAT PRAISING HIM EVERY SERVICE. SOME ONE TOLD ME ONE DAY THEY WANT TO PRAISE HIM LIKE I DO ;BUT THEY ARE SCARED OF PEOPLE TURNING AROUND AND STARING. IF THEY STARE NOD YOUR HEAD AND SMILE AND GET A LITTLE LOUDER . AMEN

    1. As your former pastor, your unashamed praise encouraged me. Because you had shared with me what God brought you from, I publicly encouraged your praise. Feel free to blame me if someone ever says anything again. Sometimes we have to let it out. I love you, Ms. Ruby!

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