worship band

A Reason to be Suspicious of Worship Bands

Zac Hicks wonders if modern evangelicals are looking more like medieval Roman Catholics than Protestants:

I was at a worship concert a few years ago with a friend who remarked that the leader up front was singing in such a beautiful and un-follow-able manner that all my friend felt encouraged to do was to sit back and enjoy the leader’s worship of God. “Why do I need to worship? He’s worshiping for me, and he’s looking like he’s having quite a moment!” My friend was saying that sarcastically, but fairly, to point out precisely what von Allmen here is illuminating. Sometimes we, as leaders, can get so caught up in either our own special “worship moment” or in the glory of the music or service-structure that we fail to realize that we’ve left on a train that no one else is on. Sometimes, the worship band can either be so amazing or so loud (and I honestly believe, from experience, that these thresholds are context-specific and case-sensitive) that they become, in effect, the only ones worshiping in the room. The rest (the silent majority…the congregation) become passive receptors and spectators.

The irony, especially for modern evangelicals, is that in these moments we end up looking more like medieval Roman Catholics than Protestants. Suddenly, we’re dialed back a half a millennium where Christians were trained that their sacrifice of praise was to sit and observe priests doing their priest-thing up front, elevating the host and chanting their indecipherable “hocus pocus.” Worship, then, was largely watching the priest “worship for me,” and we may be at a similar impasse now as we “observe” our worship bands do the doxological heavy-lifting.

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