The Inn | University Ministries | University Presbyterian Church | World Deputation

Asking Questions about Worship

Disclaimer: I stole some of these thoughts from the Inn team and the always-wise Ryan Church. If something in here seems brilliant, it’s probably because I shamelessly plagarized it from one of them.

Have you ever taken notice of the questions we ask each other after coming out of a worship service? “Did you like the worship band today?” “What did you think about that new song we sang?” “Did you like the brownies they had after the service?” “Did you think the preacher’s jokes were funny?” “Didn’t you love when the speaker got super into that one point she was making?” “Do you like the sermon series we’re going through right now?”

All fair questions for sure. I find myself asking questions like these all the time and sometimes chattering with my friends about them for a half hour after the service has come to a close. This happens the most when I am comparing different worship services. Statements like the following are common in my conversations:

“The music is just too loud for me.” “I really wish the preacher had a better sense of humor.” “I’m so glad we sang that one song. It’s definitely my favorite.” “I really liked the sermon today.”

I would never want to suggest that there is anything inherently wrong with asking these kinds of questions and making these sorts of comments. I’ve just been wondering lately, for myself, if I’m referring too much to worship services like I do to a drink I’d order at Starbucks. Was it the right flavor? I think I prefer hazelnut over vanilla. Should I have asked for less foam? I hate it when the barista overdoes it. Do I wish I would have ordered a grande instead of a tall? I’m still deciding which size is more me.

If I can have both of these conversations in the same breath without really changing the basic tone I use to talk about each subject, is it possible that my value system may be a little off when it comes to congregational worship? Do I value an experience of worship because it facilitated a space where I could engage in relationship with the living God or because it satisfied my personal preferences?

Here’s what I’m suggesting: Maybe I can ask some better questions. Maybe there is a way to evaluate my experience in worship that isn’t so much about me.

“How clearly was the Gospel communicated during that worship service?” “Did I experience God’s love and grace and mercy for me in the handshakes and smiles of those welcoming me at the doors?” “Did the words in the worship songs communicate something true about God’s character?” “Do I have a deeper knowledge of Scripture because of this sermon series?”

Are these better questions? I’m inclined to think they are. Maybe framing the conversation in a new, more constructive way will help me shed my consumer mindset for long enough to see the enormouse privilege it is to be invited by God to worship Him.

Written by Liz O.

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