Church Communications resources and tips from Justin Dean

Fighting for Purpose

?When I see Your grace, there?s not a thing that I would change. ?Cuz God You?re amazing, just the way You are.?

Are my ears fooling me? Or is that church doing a modified cover of Bruno Mars? ?Just the Way You Are? as a worship song? No. My ears are correct. That just happened. Wow.

Besides feeling incredibly uncomfortable, hearing a church do something like that sparked a serious question in my head. ?Does that song do anything to accomplish the purpose of their worship set?? Then that question sparked another question. ?What?s the purpose of those ?worship? segments? What are we really trying to accomplish??

Now, I know what you?re thinking. ?Our worship segments are for worshipping God!? And you?re right. That is the purpose of those times in our service. But that?s not a very helpful descriptor. We?re called to worship God through our jobs. We?re called to worship God through the way we treat our children. We?re called to worship God even during sex.

So what?s wrong with worshipping God through singing a Bruno Mars song?

That?s why ?worship? is not enough of a definition for our music moments during the service.[quote]?Worship? is not enough of a definition for our music moments during the service.[/quote]

When our purpose becomes too vague, our worship services risk ending up like this. And when you lose your purpose, you resort to creating a programmatic element containing three fast songs and two slow. As long as those five songs talk about or to God, anything is fair game. You?re accomplishing the purpose of your programmatic element.

And the latest David Guetta song is all about God when you tweak a few words here and there.

I can?t pretend to judge the motives of this Bruno Marsing church. For all I know they were ridiculously intentional about their use of the song. It?s just not my cup of tea.

But I?d be willing to bet they have lost the purpose of their worship services. I?d bet they?ve begun seeing it as a programmatic element, a tradition, instead of an intentional piece of their Sunday mornings. The reason I can safely bet that is because it happens far too easily. It?s something all churches struggle with.

Over the years we?ve gone from hymn-based worship ??largely theologically based ? to this song service approach where it?s more celebratory, emotionally charged, and ice breaking ? a chance to get people settled into the service. There?s nothing wrong with the shift we?ve made. But if we?ve merely replaced one tradition with another tradition, we very easily turn it into a rock and roll show or variety hour. And that?s not the purpose of worship.

You, the worship leader and worshiper, need to decide why you do what you do. Why do you sing songs? And ?worship? is not enough of an answer. You need to get precise. You need to really, truly evaluate why you do what you do. And this will bring so much liberty to your worship planning.[quote]You?ll save so much time and feel so much liberty when you?re purposeful in your worship planning.[/quote]

When you get the brilliant idea of covering Lady Gaga?s ?Edge of Glory?, you can run your idea by your worship planning purpose. And in seconds you can easily eliminate that song.

You?ll save so much time and feel so much liberty when you?re purposeful in your worship planning.

So I encourage you with this. Don?t just sing songs. Don?t just encourage folks to clap and raise their hands. Question everything. Everything you do. At the end of this soul searching you may change nothing. Your worship services might look exactly the same. But the purpose and drive behind it will be renewed. And that will make all the difference.

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