The Problem with Worship

Mcguigan Visuals

Have you ever heard the phrase ‘let’s enter a time of worship?’

We know worship is not about songs yet we speak and act like it is. 

We say worship is not a song yet so often we hear in church “We are going to enter into a time of worship” and then we begin singing a song. What is that about?! If we enter worship, then do we also exit? Does worship start and then stop? Is it a time? A place? A concept? Are we going somewhere in our hearts? Is worship a noun? A verb? 

What is worship?

After over 15 years of being involved in a ‘worship team’ and being passionate about this subject, I am always fascinated to hear different peoples’ response to this question. 

There are some similarities, some common themes and clichés:

‘worship is a lifestyle’

‘worship is our life’

Or my personal favourite: ‘worship is everything.’

But what exactly does that mean?

What does worship mean to you? And more importantly where did this thinking originate?

For many of us ‘worship’ takes up a large portion of our church service yet we all have such a different perspective as to what it is. Our thoughts are based on experience, culture, tradition, scripture. These thoughts ebb and flow with the latest song lyrics, the latest message or Instagram post. Our definition is fluid and open to interpretation.   

And there lies the problem with worship. We don’t call worship the same thing.

Across Christianity there is no unified definition or theology of worship. In fact even within denominations there is often no recognised theology of worship. There are experiences, practices, culture and perhaps some obvious or somewhat unspoken do’s and don’ts but where do these come from?

If you have been in church for a period of time you would have perhaps moved beyond thinking worship is the slow songs, or the time where everyone closes their eyes and lifts their hands. Maybe you are one step further and have an understanding of worship based on some obscure Old Testament stories such as Abraham coming close to sacrificing his son Isaac, or the prescribed order for worship by entering the outer courts, the inner courts then the holy of holies? 

Or perhaps like me, you have been captivated by the awe inspiring stories in the Bible about the musicians being sent out to battle first, or hoped that like King David when you play your instrument evil spirits would flee from anyone within earshot of the ‘glorious sound resonating from your instrument’.  Personally I would love to believe these theories are the case, in fact I have spent hours searching scripture to back up their validity. They sounds so noble, so spiritual, so romantic. I want to believe these thoughts about worship.

As a worship leader I do want to lead people into battle; a victory already won in Jesus.  I do believe that when the team leads the congregation in song that evil spirits flee. But why? But what exactly does the Bible say?

Are we just parroting things we have heard from others or do we actually have a personal revelation and understanding of the scripture that we say we base our beliefs on worship on?

Yes there may be some truth in what we believe about worship but, it really bothers me when there is no solid foundation as to why we believe what we believe.

The only thing that we can hinge our faith on is the Word of God.

‘A Pilgrimage to Worship’ is a scripture based journey that aims to engage our faith, our mind, and ultimately help us to build a conviction about living a biblical life of worship.

Regardless of what you believe right now and where these ideas have originated from, I would be delighted to have you join me on this journey of discovery.  My prayer is that it will enrich your life and that together we can create some great discussion and learn from one another.

  • Can you share an experience or scripture that has helped shape your convictions about worship?
  • What are you left wondering when it comes to worship?

In love, Carly xx

2 thoughts on “The Problem with Worship

  1. Hi Carly you have really caused me to engage my thoughts and beliefs with this blog, thank you. In my limited time and experience as a Christian I have always believed worship to be an act, an act of willful submission to go beyond our own conscious thoughts and give ourselves in gratitude to the one who made us and gave us life and to say thank you from our heart and not just our head. For me it is always a time of refreshment when I connect willfully and singularly with God in that moment. It’s a time when nothing else matters and all of my worldly issues that are taking up valuable real estate in my head are put well behind me and given their rightful place. It’s a time when I put God first and give Him the glory for the victory in my life. For me it’s a time when I go to the happiest place ever created where God and man are connected consciously. I’m not aware of any scriptures that support this belief, for me it’s been my practice of letting go and letting God enter fully and unhindered into my world. It’s my favorite time and place of all time.
    I believe we were made to worship God, it’s His plan and purpose for our lives. So when we are living in our purpose, all our struggles are gone (even for a moment) we are released from all our worries of this world and enter into a beautiful spritual place and encounter real and unconditional love at its very best. I love and yes I believe it to be a time and a place. It’s a moment in our life when we willfully and consciously enter a place where we reconnect with the God who made it all to give Him our gratitude and ourselves. One day it will be all that we do is worship Him in heaven.

  2. Alex thank you so much for sharing your experience. I loved where you said worship puts your worldly issues/the things taking up realestate in your mind in their rightful place…and God enters unhindered. I totally agree.

    Hopefully we can attach some valuable scripture to this believe and deepen/widen our experience further.

    Again, thanks for sharing. Thoroughly enjoyed reading your comments.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *