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Worship, is it horizontal or vertical ?

There is an alarming trend that has emerged in our modern church experience that seems to be catching on as it does seem to be producing results. 

What are the results ? 

These trends seem to be drawing more people to church. Is that a bad thing? No it’s great as many are coming to Christ and communities are being transformed. 

Bill Bybels the founder of Willow Creek in Chicago has been linked to a style of church service we call  “seeker sensitive” in other words we are not a “holy huddle” with a our own sub culture, but rather a place where the unchurched will be accepted and comfortable.

All this is good, but what about the worship of the Living God. Apparently only 11% of all worship songs are sung to God.

 It was Tommy Tenney, the author of “God Chasers” who said the worship is the only part of the service that God gets anything out of.

It would seem like our worship is more horizontal than vertical. 

In a recent conference I was at in Dallas I heard Bill Hybels say that he started this seeker model for a specific purpose as his congregation of professionals were not engaging and so he tried something different. One song then a short video then two more songs very professionally presented, then a another break, in other words, not a typical time of praise and worship that is uninterrupted for 20 to 30 minutes.

This was opposite to what I have seen and become accustomed to in South Africa and Australia but these professionals began engaging and committing their lives to Christ. 

Well Bill went on to say that several years later he realized that worship needs to be a journey that the believer embarks on. A journey filled with faith, the Word of God and yes words of worship directed to God. I’m so glad he shared this because I agree with him and have been training worship leaders for many years in this vein.

We need love songs to Him, songs of intimacy and adoration where at some point we may even be silent as we gaze upon His face and welcome the King of Glory in our midst.

I’m not against excellence with sound, lighting and skilled musicianship. We need to combine the anointing of the spirit with excellence in presentation but the real reason why an unbeliever will come to Christ is because they see our passion for our God not because we have music that sounds professional.

Our church services need to be full of love and also full of God, as that’s what the unchurched are expecting. As my Pastor Ed Russo said from the pulpit this week, if we bear the label of Christian then we need to live on fire for God so the world can easily tell the difference.

Dr Nick Coetzee

Nick Coetzee is a music producer and worship leader from South Africa. He has spent the past 30 years pouring into worship ministry and also developing and recording worship songs. He produced the first US release of ‘Shout to the Lord’ with Darlene Zschech , as well as many instrumental and vocals albums for artists and recording companies. He and his family are based in Wesley Chapel, FL where he owns and operate a Christian based recording Studio. Nick also produces promotional videos for companies and Churches.
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