Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How Do You Do "Church?"

After serving at a UMC in Virginia Beach as Worship Leader for the last 10+ years I found myself in a situation where, for financial and other reasons, I had to leave. I went into a job that I had done, and been very successful with, before I started working for that local church.

I'm now in Anchorage, Alaska doing that job and was able to attend a worship service at First UMC, Anchorage this past Sunday. I now find myself sitting in my hotel room listening to worship music on Youtube (Steve Fee, Jesus Culture, David Crowder Band, etc.) and reflecting on what worship has become within our denominational structure. And I really have to question who it's about and for.

The worship "experience" I had Sunday was structured in a traditional style, which is fine as that was how I was raised, but it didn't feel worshipful. The few people attending were very welcoming and the pastor made it a point to greet me, but it felt as though they were going through the motions without the commitment.

There has become a disconnect somehow. We've fallen in love with intellectual Christianity and have forgotten the emotional aspect. Jesus spoke two simple words, "Follow me." It didn't require a Bible study or a task force or committee to say, "Yes," drop everything and walk after Him. It required a heart open to hearing the Word and responding emotionally.

We, as Christ followers, need to make that same appeal. It's from the heart. It's one that requires us to create a relationship with the people in our lives, and to include them into our faith community with love and acceptance. It's an emotional point of connection. Once they feel safe (again emotional) they can be moved toward discipleship via teaching and making the intellectual connection.

So the question must be asked, how emotional are you in worship? Do you allow the Spirit to flow into the worship space and create those emotional responses we sometimes fight so hard to suppress? Or are we afraid to truly express that emotional aspect of worship for fear of being ridiculed by other folks? Will you give it ALL to God in worship? Every part of your being; head, heart, and spirit?

Or will you continue to live a disconnected worship life that cheats God?