Do we need things to help us worship? We may not say that we do, but do we act like it? In our hearts, do we believe we need certain things like specific instrumentation, arranging, or styles to aid us in worship? Here’s the biblical reality: everyone in our congregation and on our worship teams already has everything they need to worship if they have the Spirit of Christ in them. We must believe that if we believe the gospel.
However, it begs the following questions: Why do we have all these instruments? Why all the complicated sound stuff, lights, projectors if we don’t need any aids to worship besides the Spirit of God? Some have taken this truth and argued for the usage of all that being wrong. They would argue that utter simplicity is the most authentic worship because it relies completely on the Spirit and no external aids. But what if calling them “aids” is all wrong, and they have their proper place as something else? What if all those “aids” should be properly viewed as faith-driven acts of worship? Just like singing and praying are acts of worship for everyone, the playing of instruments, sound engineering, preaching are acts of worship as well. Not to be viewed as “aids” to worship, they are to be viewed as part of the whole idea of worshipping together.
As I’ve said many times, we don’t begin to worship when we sing on Sunday. We begin to worship together when singing, but everything we do in life throughout the week is an act of worship (it just depends on who you’re worshipping!). If we’re already worshipping before we come to church, than nothing taking place in the gathering can ever replace the truth of Christ in us and God already with us. We ought to rightly question any idea of an “aid” to our worship. The only aid to worship ought to be God Himself, but even then, God isn’t only the aid, he ought to be our worship. Harold Best says it this way…
“If we gather together fully outpouring, then nothing taking place in the gathering can ever replace the truth of Christ in us and God already with us. To an authentic worshiper, any thought about liturgical or artistic or environmental “aids” to worship should be seriously questioned. The only aid to worship is the Lord himself. As soon as we place the Lord at the center of our worship, the idea of an “aid,” even as applied to him, shrivels into insignificance, for God is our worship. Assured of this, our corporate task can be turned in the right direction and we are free to say this: everything undertaken turns from an “aid” to a direct, faith-driven act of worship. The burden shifts from our dependence on what is around us to our trust in the One at work within us. We now depend on the Giver instead of the gifts.” (Unceasing Worship, 61)
So, we have all we need in God-in-Christ-in-us-in-eachother! God now allows us to worship him in in faith-fueled, creative ways that enrich our lives and bring him glory. Music and production cannot “usher us into God’s presence”, or make us truly worship. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “What about distracting music, loud music, terrible music, obnoxious solos, and flashing lights?” Of course, musical worship done poorly or over-the-top can be distracting, while good musicianship and non-distracting excellence can create an environment that fosters corporate worship. The point we must remember is that nothing but the Spirit of God can aid us to worship Christ. All those other things are acts of worship that tell us to jump in on worshipping. The question becomes, what is the object of worship for those performing those actions? If it’s truly God in the face of Jesus Christ, than we should be able to put aside our stylistic differences and participate in worshipping the same God they are!
Once we put those things we viewed as “aids” in their proper place, we will be more willing to view all of our lives as worship. Then, when we come together, we will be more aware of what unifies us than what may divide. Let us not act as if we need anything other than the empowering work of the Spirit to cause us to worship God in Christ!