Steak on a Paper Plate

Now here’s a provocative article about the nature of worship in contemporary churches. Trevin Wax writes:

When it comes to the atmosphere of worship services in the next generation, something’s got to give.

More and more churches are focusing on the centrality of the Word in worship. The resurgence of Reformed theology among younger evangelicals, the reestablishment of a rock-solid belief in the inerrancy and inspiration of the Scriptures in the Southern Baptist Convention, the revival of expository preaching… this wave that we’re riding is about to collide with an even bigger wave: the dominance of contemporary worship styles across the U.S. and the world.

For many churches, the biggest requirement for a “worship set” is novelty. We’re aiming for an experience. So we put together a worship service that is more influenced by the latest hits on Christian radio than by theology or history.

We also try to put people at ease. “Good morning… Let’s try that again, GOOD MORNING!” There’s a chatty, street-level style of worship that has become prevalent in evangelicalism. And I’m not sure how our pursuit of novelty and casualness in worship is going to mesh with hearing the Word of God expounded upon in all its glory.

Can a contemporary, casual service bring worshippers face to face with the glory of God in a way that buttresses and upholds the magnificent truths being expounded from the Word? I think the answer is yes, but not always.

It’s like eating steak on a paper plate.

Read the rest here. Love to know what you think about this.

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  • CarrieZ says:

    I tend to agree with the steak on a paper plate philosophy.

    He desires a personal relationship with us, but we cannot forget that He created the universe. The whole thing. That He keeps every thing in motion–every breath that we are able to breathe, the fact that our cells continue doing whatever cells do, the chain that keeps everything in the ecosystem spinning so that we can have food that makes it from seed to plant to our plates, the fact that He works things out in mysterious ways, and a million other things that He is able to keep in control every single millisecond of every single day. He is powerful and deserves our respect and devotion.

    To lose sight of that just seems….disrespectful. “Let’s all give some applause for Jesus!” just screams disrespect for me–let’s degrade Him to the same treatment we give to random stage acts.

    Let’s all learn more about Him, talk with Him more, and tell other people about Him. That’s something I can get behind.

    I tend to lean toward the traditional church service because it tends to lean MUCH more heavily on the fear/respect angle. I’m all for wonderful music (and we still have that). I don’t think the format/order of worship makes a ton of difference. As a mom with young kids in church, I tend to prefer the consistency of a routine that they can expect to follow at this age. Randomness is not handled well in young ‘uns.

  • Kirk says:

    I have to say that what I see is that music hasn’t yet caught up with the preaching. But overall, I disagree with the general idea of his post.

    Twenty years ago the dichotomy between “worship songs” and hymns was great. You are talking a difference between cotton candy and meat and potatoes. Today there are many great “worship songs” that have a deeper theology more like the hymns of old. They are more narrow in scope, but still some are quite profound.

    The limitation is that we are not yet willing to act out what we are singing. I haven’t seen many cases of a whole auditorium bowing down just like the song says they are doing. If we could just get that part into motion…

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