Uneducated Praise and Worship: Why it may be better for the Church.

Nowadays, many of the Churches across this nation seek out praise and worship leaders with bachelors in music/liberal arts. However, as they have sought out this prize, they have also lost the passion and conviction that has come with true praise and worship. In the Bible, we do not see the college educated leading worship, we do not see the great psalmist David having a master’s degree but a sheep farmer by birth, nor was John the Beloved more than a mere fisherman. Most of the men of the Bible, that led, were given their talents by God and in turn gave them back to Him. This does not mean they were not educated, they were not professionals. They were not looking for their degrees, and not hired based upon them. They were all educated to what may be middle school or high school education. Most of them had apprenticeships, and other forms job training, and only the Priests and the family of Levi had specific training in the “worship” of God—as was done through Levitical texts. Thus, when David, the Psalmist and King, was writing his music for God, he was not looking at his pedigree, but looking at God for who God was. He was actually focusing solely on God alone.

Thus, a true worshipper does not think of themselves at all. Their true heart is to praise God with all their heart and soul. Yet, too many churches are leading by performance which focuses on the pedigree and talents of the ‘worship’ leader. They have to fit a certain style, and look sleek, there must be fog machines and other concert material. They also must have their BA, and even a Master’s if they want to get the big bucks, and most of them are paid…turning worship into a job. However, this is the outward symptom of an even larger issue within the heart of the Church.

Have we turned Christianity in a profession? Professional pastors, professional worshippers, professional janitors? Where is the confessional, and imperfect, and the outcast? Have we ever considered that we have taken our faith and focused on ourselves instead of God? In all reality, we have lost touch with what it means to be Christian. Christ is the reason, and Christ is the only reason we should ever bear the garments of Christianity. All other reasons, make your faith shallow or invalid. If it is not Christ alone, then it is not Christianity. It’s true, most people don’t even read their Bibles because they get their feel good injections of Gospel on Sunday. The Gospel Innoculation, is what I have heard it called among my Bible professors and I have watched the changes in the way we approach God. We have become so us focused, that we have no shame, nor guilt, no fear or awe when we approach the Almighty. We just barge into His throne room, and make demands of Him like He owes us something. And since our focus has been us, is it right to call us Christian anymore at that pace? The Church in America has absorbed too much of the culture, and not enough God and Christ to really be of use. There are too many self proclaimed, overly educated, unSpirit-filled, narcissistic people who have taken over worship (and other leadership positions) to lead the people not to God, but to themselves where they build up their own little kingdoms. And this is why the Church is all wrapped up in the humanity of it all, instead of focusing on God’s will and commands, and She avoids it as much as possible.

CS Lewis once wrote, “IF we aim for Earth, we never succeed. But if we aim for Heaven, Earth will be swept up in the flow of love from the Father down to Us, and our love back to the Father.” Since the Church is so focused on “fixing Earth” instead of “glorifying God” we have lost our perspective, and indeed have even become the Lukewarm Church.

Revelation 3:14-22

14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. 15 “ ‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ ” [1]

Revelation speaks about this Lukewarm Church, and what we are to do in order for us to be redeemed. Can the American Church do it though? Can she toss aside her desires for the materialistic, and power, and prestige that comes with being ‘known’? Are we truly able to repent, and willingly repent? Can we bend our knees and pay homage to the Almighty Creator in whom all life is truly found? Can we put God back on the throne in more than just pitable words? Can we cling to the Cross, and find our first love again returning to what it means to be a true Christian? I see many people call for a Revival, but until the Church recognizes her faults, her sins, and her persistent lack of true worship…There will be NO revival until she does this and comes to her knees in more than haughty worship that they did in the synagogues at the time of Christ. She the Church, has been tarnishing herself by accepting sin, and turning a blind eye to it.

No, legalism is not the solution, as it drives people from the Gospel, but there is a deep need for correction and counterbalance. We need to quit focusing so much on ‘saving Earth’ but worshipping God. We need to lose our desire for power, and look for our God as our Source. We need to return to being lover of Christ, instead of coveters of Gold. Honestly, I do believe looking that the face of the Church today, we deserve a lot of the harsh criticisms that we receive from the public, about hate speech and not being true to ourselves. It is in fact a point that we need to examine as the Body of Christ in America. Are we actually being Christlike? Once we have come to terms with the absolute lack of Christ in us, then maybe we can begin the process of returning to worship that is true to the heart, and of the heart that wants to be closer to God rather than closer to our own little kingdoms. We need to stop seeking only those with titles, degrees, and sleek appearances to lead us into worship and to feed us as a flock.

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Re 3:14–22). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.