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Is Church Uninspiring?

My Paradigm Shift

It was a high Sabbath at my Church.  Several high-profile leaders were present. Accordingly, the service was carefully planned to be impressive, both spiritually and socially.

 

Aware of this, I entered the church with high expectations.  The church was packed.  I sighed.  I was not the only one who knew about the special service.

 

Song service was underway, so I hurried to find a seat.

 

Finally discovering one in the balcony, I wove between the people and prepared to join the singing.  But no one near me was singing.  I looked around confused.  They were just watching the people on the platform or were engaged in their own quiet conversations.

 

Turning back to the front, I tried to sing but felt self-conscious.  Why weren’t they singing? Did they think it was only the song leader’s responsibility to praise the Lord?  

 

I frowned as I looked around again, hoping they would realize they needed to join in.

 

They didn’t.

 

Of course, it didn’t help that the PA staff couldn’t keep the slides in sync with the congregation’s singing.  They should put someone there who knows what they are doing so it doesn’t detract from our worship in song.

 

The introductions for the church dignitaries were lengthy and seemed to focus on their achievements.  Who are we trying to glorify here? God or the people?

 

To add to the problem, the microphone handed to each new person on the platform was never live and the delay and confusion this caused were awkward.  What a disaster.  How is anyone supposed to worship God when things are so disorganized!

 

Finally, we knelt for prayer and I watched in amazement as the woman who was going to pray unfolded a sheet of paper and began to read her prayer.  Unbelievable.  Is this a prayer or a speech meant to impress the listeners?  Why was I even here?

 

Suddenly, the Holy Spirit interrupted my critical self and asked pointedly, “Why are you here?

 

“Well, to worship You, Lord,” I responded after a moment’s hesitation.

 

“Then, why don’t you focus on worshipping Me instead of critiquing everyone and everything?”

 

That stopped me cold.

 

Slowly I replied. “Okay, Lord. But You are going to have to help me.”

 

Tuning back into the prayer that was being read and I started really listening to the words and making them my own.  Suddenly the prayer I judged “superficial and canned” turned into something deep and meaningful as I worshipped the Lord through the words she shared.

 

When I rose from my knees it was like I had changed churches. The service I had been watching like a show became a time of personal growth and worship.  I went from nitpicking and critiquing to actively listening, worshipping, and praising God.  I left feeling spiritually fed and enriched.

 

I’m so thankful God interrupted me that fateful day and gave me a lesson I never forgot.

 

The key is not the “show” on the platform, but my attitude.

 

Regardless of how rehearsed or unrehearsed the service is, regardless of who is praying, preaching or singing, when I come with the attitude that I am there to worship God and to listen to Him speak to me through anything and everything that is going on, I will be blessed.

 

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16 responses to “Is Church Uninspiring?”

  1. Terese Thonus says:

    Thank you, Janet, for a posting that addresses my own frustrations with what should be a worship experience–if I will only allow God to speak to me!

    • Janet F. Salazar says:

      And some worship services can be a greater challenge than others. 🙂 Thanks for responding.

  2. Teri says:

    This is soooo good! Can you believe the Holy Spirit confronted me with something similar and He did it in a similar way! Great post.

  3. Cindra says:

    I was right there with you, Janet! And then convicted by your beautiful words. It’s never about others. God deals with us…always. Thanks for the encouragement!

  4. Awesome post and so convicting. I’m wondering how often I’m watching with critical detachment instead of worshipping. Thank you for sharing this!

  5. LaRissa J. says:

    This is such a great point! I’ve found myself in similar situation, and have noticed the same thing. Our heart and our attitude makes the world of a difference. Great post!

  6. Calvonia says:

    I could exchange your name for mine and the story would not change. As a pastor’s wife and daughter of a pastor/musician/song writer/former college choir director, I think I know how worship service ought to go. I find myself be mega critical at times and have to stop and ask God to help me worship him in spite of my disappointment. You are so right, ‘The key is not the “show” on the platform, but my attitude.” Thank you for this reminder.

    • Janet F. Salazar says:

      Wow, I’m a head elder’s daughter and pastor’s wife also, so I understand what you are saying. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Yes and amen! I remind myself of this all the time! When my heart is in the right place, the “show” doesn’t matter at all!

  8. Maree Dee says:

    Fantastic words of wisdom. I, too, have heard God whisper something similar, ““Then, why don’t you focus on worshipping Me instead of critiquing everyone and everything?”

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