Entertainment centers or worship centers?

 

Entertainment centers or worship centers?
            One wonders if some churches that bill themselves as worship centers are not really entertainment centers. Some have become ashamed of who they are and have adopted a generic label for an anemic people. The reasoning is if they don’t know what we are their bias against us will not hinder their attending our services. I know many Baptist Churches that do not use Baptist on any of their signs or literature, I also know many Free Will Baptist that refuse to label themselves, of course these churches would criticize the Pentecostal for their refusing to label themselves. The Henpecked Worship Center must sound much better than Henpecked Baptist Church, well, Henpecked Assembly might be better! What do you think? The truth of the matter is we are teetering on deception or have already fallen into it.
            Once you get past the name it is surprising what you might get. It ranges anywhere from Alexander’s rag time band to the London Philharmonic. Being a fan of Southern Gospel I have known for many years that Southern Gospel is purely entertainment, especially if it comes from the professional groups. That is just fact! Some of the music can be blessed but those folks are entertainers. They do get a crowd, so we bring them into our meetings and get a crowd that wants to be entertained and when the entertainment is over the crowd is gone. Many churches found they could hire professional entertainers and call them worship leaders and get a crowd. That really works rather well, however if they are not professional it is some of the worst mess you ever heard. But let’s be honest, music is not worship! Music may lead you to worship, but in and of itself it is not worship. Worshipful music will be determined by one’s cultural background and musical preferences. I am in Churches that sing blue grass, southern gospel and traditional hymns. I like it all and most of it is pleasing to the ear, some brings Christ near and heaven real and that produces in me a desire to worship Jesus Christ.
The old testament word for worship is shaw-khaw' And it is a primitive root; meaning to depress, that is, prostrate The new testament word id  pros-koo-neh'-o  (meaning to kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand); to fawn or crouch to, that is, (literally or figuratively) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore): - worship. That description of worship seems drastically different to what we see in many places today. We like excitement, big programs and promotions which are all good in winning people to Christ but should never be confused for worship. What then is worship? Lee Campbell, PhD. Gives this “A worshipper must be a humble person who is willing to:
  • Subordinate their goals to God's goals by prioritizing service toward the Kingdom of God;
  • Express gratitude and praise toward God and
  • Tell others about God, his truths and the love they have enjoyed as His child.”
If that is indeed true worship I wonder how many of our congregations practice it. We may well dance, run, shout and sing, if when we are through with that it does not translate into practical obedience and gratitude. We remember and long for the days when ladies waved a handkerchief and men shouted amen. When the power of God came suddenly; and everyone was blessed or fell under conviction, alters filled with people, some weeping their way to Christ, some weeping over the lost. When that happened, it was not because there was a high power quartet there nor was it because there was a praise and worship team, or we were having a come as you are party, it was because there was a real sense of God’s presence. When we went away we did not feel we had worshiped, we knew we had. We told what God did, not what we did!
“True biblical worship so satisfies our total personality that we don't have to shop around for man-made substitutes. William Temple made this clear in his masterful definition of worship:
For worship is the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness; the nourishment of mind with His truth; the purifying of imagination by His beauty; the opening of the heart to His love; the surrender of will to His purpose -- and all of this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable and therefore the chief remedy for that self-centeredness which is our original sin and the source of all actual sin.”
      We sing “Brethren we have met to worship.” Should we be singing Brethren, we have met to be entertained?
For worship is the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness; the nourishment of mind with His truth; the purifying of imagination by His beauty; the opening of the Worship definitions Strong’s concordance surrender of will to His puradoLee Campbell quotes pose -- and all of this gathered http://www.xenos.org/essays/worship.htm I do not know Lee Campbell, just liked this quote.
Warren W. Wiersbe, The Integrity Crisis, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1991, p. 119.