The Implications of the Word “DO”
Christianity is at its weakest and most vulnerable point that I have experienced in my lifetime. The primary culprit is the turning of worship into entertainment. It is casting a new idea of what worship is all about in the minds of the people and it is coming off as something else that we do and is losing the gravity of it all in the process. When it becomes what we have made of it for the last thirty years, worship ceases to have the place and power in our lives it used to have.
Recently, while watching a television program, I heard a “worship minister” extol the virtues of “doing worship.” I was intrigued by what I heard him say and began to think on it more deeply. We have all heard people talk about “doing” something with someone else. “Let’s do lunch sometime,” is a familiar one that I have often used myself even though it is always strange to me to use that kind of language. I am more comfortable with: “would you like to have lunch sometime?” It seems more serious and places more of an importance on the event. But, in our current culture, “doing” something is a term which is much more in vogue. Let’s think about this for a little while because what we say betrays what is going on in our minds.
When we say we are going to “do” something it implies that a certain activity is our choice, our desire and it will happen when we are able to bring the event to pass. The term “do” has recently been applied to the act of worship. It is often said that someone or some group will “do” worship. When people say that they will “do” worship, it is automatically a relative term. What one person says is “doing” worship is not the same when another uses the term. Now, I am not saying that there is a set way in which to bring something about and all other ways are not valid, but what I am saying is that we have adopted the idea that we “do” something that only the Holy Spirit can cause to happen. We can’t set an agenda for worship and then declare that it happened simple because what we did was according to our idea of what should have happened. When this takes place then those accomplishing the event are satisfied that with their activities and certainly God should also be happy with it. This is not always the case and we should be extremely careful in how we evaluate what happened and what was driving the event. We have now employed the “DO” mentality to church and worship. You don’t “do” worship. Any time we “do” worship, the Holy Spirit is probably on the shelf somewhere.
When did everything else become more important than the preaching of the word? Human nature is more attracted to the “trappings” of what we call worship than in the proclamation of the Word. That is the way our human nature drives us. People don’t want the sermon to be any length much and they certainly aren’t open to or desirous of any indepth teaching. Ahh, but the trappings! Now, that’s what makes it interesting to the fallen human nature. If one can “do” all those things and leave feeling that God was worshipped and we are o.k. with Him, then that’s what the average person will want to do. And the flashier and more entertaining things were in the “worship” time, the more it convinces the person that they really hit a home run today! It was exciting and pleasing so it must have been what God wanted. Watch out!
Biblical preaching has taken a back seat to entertainment. One cannot properly exposit a passage in the eighteen to twenty minute sermon that churches seem to want today. And this length sermon which usually includes humor and storytelling is about the norm in churches that “do” worship. Churches that “do” worship produce shallow Christians who want entertainment above all else. Yes, give them a sermon but make it short, showy and shallow. That’ll do.
People who like this approach usually attend church to see friends or to see what the staff has programmed for the day as they “do” church. When you “do” worship you are putting something together for human consumption and satisfaction rather than following the Holy Spirit and letting Him lead the worship of God.
When did we need to start employing trappings to attract, entertain and draw people to worship? Why do we need colorful lights shooting up the walls; moving lights of various colors sweeping the stage or entire room; a sanctuary that looks more like a nightclub or rock concert venue than it does a place of sincerity, beauty and spiritual gravity and music so loud it deafens a person or rattles their insides? Why have jokes and hilarity become so much a part of the “sermon”? All these kinds of things have replaced Majesty and Glory in the worship of God. God is not interested in being entertained but worshipped and there should be reverence, respect, glory and majesty involved because of who we are coming before. As one person recently said to me: “where is the Glory in worship today?” Its gone and has been replaced by performance and self-satisfaction.
Do we think that God is pleased with anything we throw at Him in worship and will put up with and is accepting of all our trappings that people love so much? If we think that He will be pleased with just about anything, then we have not read the Bible very much when He speaks of His holiness and what He demands when we approach Him. When you “do” church you are putting together something for human consumption and satisfaction rather than following the Holy Spirit and letting Him lead the worship of God. Programming to fulfill man’s idea of worship takes away the Majesty and mystery of the most exalted thing people can do: worship God.
Now, I know that there will be those who will disagree with me on this issue. I expect that. But they need to examine themselves and their motivations very carefully. People can and do get used to about anything and that applies to worship “style” as well. Simply because we feel good about what we are doing doesn’t mean God feels good about it. After so many years of sliding off into the secular frame of mind that is being adopted and God not destroying us, we begin to think that He is all right with our very secular approach. He is a loving and forgiving Lord but it would do us well to remember that He is watching and listening and He doesn’t forget anything except sin forgiven by the Blood of Jesus.
In years gone by, people went to church to hear from God. They wanted to think on a higher plane at least for a little while. They entered the place of worship dressed in the very best they had as they were coming into the Lord’s House to commune with Him. The people expected that their pastor was going to present to them a sermon which came from the Lord, through the Holy Spirit to the Preacher for the edification of the people. It was a special time to be quiet, reflective and obedient before the Lord. It was a holy time that was very special to the people. Now, compare that to what is happening in so many of our churches today. We have lost it. It will be hard to regain if ever and that is why today’s Christian church is at its weakest point in my lifetime.
William F. Harrell