Corporate worship is distracting. And I believe with all my heart that is a beautiful thing.
More than a few times I've heard from people who don't care to attend church because they can have their "time with Jesus" at home. There's nothing wrong with "Jesus time" at home. But if it's a replacement for the gathered singing of the people of God, it is a problem. And I don't think Jesus would be happy with your decision.
But let's be honest. Sometimes connecting with God is a challenge in church.
- The loud, out-of-tune singer in front of you.
- The stiff, bored teenager to your left who doesn't want to be there.
- The operatic harmonies [those awful harmonies] of the woman behind you.
- The loud worship team playing that annoying song again.
- The visitor next to you who has never been in church and is just looking around.
- The oblivious parent who WILL NOT take their screaming child out of the room.
Sure, it's amazing when you're in a room full of passionate people pursuing an all-glorious Savior. But there's something beautiful and necessary about the mess of your church on Sunday.
And it's beautiful.
Of course, it doesn't look like Outcry Tour. Your band isn't that good. Your production isn't that good. Your budget isn't that big.
But do you know what makes the church impressive? It's not necessarily the creativity and production. It's the fact that we are the bride of Jesus—the inheritance of an all-glorious Savior.
We are misfits from many walks of life gathered under one Name. We are sinners who've screwed up our lives, gathered under one cross where there is mercy. We are orphans embraced under one Father, now called sons and daughters.
We are the large; we are the small. We are the rich; we are the poor. We are the smart; we are the uneducated. We are the talented; we are the glossed over. We are the brilliant; we are the broken. We are the church.
And we need your voice in the corporate gathering. And you need that beautiful distraction in your life. It's a fairy tale to only listen to Bethel records in the comfort of your home. Whether you like the songs or enjoy your band or not, you need church. And the church needs you.
Open Your Eyes
How often have you heard this phrase? "Just close your eyes and focus on Jesus. Don't look at the person on your right or your left. It's just you and Jesus."
I've said those words before. But I disagree with them now. Matter of fact, I think more of us need to worship with our eyes open. It's one of the distinctives of corporate singing.
Here's what I mean: Obviously, there's nothing wrong with closing your eyes and focusing on Jesus. No one will punish you for such an action. But corporate worship isn't just about you and Jesus. You and Jesus can have devotions every day. Corporate worship is about being the Church.
It's about singing together. It's about lifting each other up. It's about being in the same room, in close proximity.
Remember the popular verse in Ephesians 5:19? "Speak to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord."
We are to speak to one another. Worship is vertical, but it is also horizontal.
So let's lay aside the comparing and complaining. Let's speak to one another. Let's sing together. Let's be with one another, proclaiming the Lord's death until He comes.
Do you agree?
David Santistevan is a worship pastor at Allison Park Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
This article originally appeared at davidsantistevan.com.
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