The Right Mindset
I often wonder what kind of mindset people come through the church doors with. Are they coming out of habit? Has a family been less than loving toward each other all the way to church? Has someone been cultivating private, individual worship before God throughout the week and are therefore ready to celebrate and bring glory to God through their praise? There are so many different scenarios (probably a different one for each person that enters our main auditorium). I know there have been times that I have come to lead worship and have not had proper motives (namely, I just wanted the morning to be over and done with), so I know there are many in our congregation who don’t walk through the doors ready for life and worship to be all about God. Chances are, many are struggling with life being all about themselves (and I’m sure all of us can relate). As hard as it is to hear criticisms like, “I wish we’d sing more…(you fill in the blank)”, “The songs repeat too much”, “Why don’t we sing less”, or “I don’t come to the first half of the service because the music doesn’t really prepare me for worship”, the fact of the matter is it gives great insight into a person’s focal point in worship. There are a whole lot of “I” and “we” in just those few phrases, which tells me, one of the hardest things to do in a corporate worship setting is to make God the center of attention.
God is the Center
God must be the center. If you asked the average person in my congregation who the center of attention is in our worship, hopefully they would say God. Yet, there are so many evidences that reveal He is not the center. Our preferences, our pride, our traditions, and our cultural norms so easily become the center of what we call a worship experience. It can get to the place where people actually believe that they can’t worship unless all of their proverbial planets align. God being at the center demolishes preference. He demolishes pride and rote tradition and cultural norms. This to me is the starting point for congregational worship that effectively connects with the power of the Holy Spirit and has the potential to lead to actual communion with God.