In Dangerous Intersections (Broadman & Holman), an excellent book by Jay Dennis and Jim Henry (two Orlando pastors), they talk about 11 of the most dangerous intersections through which the church must navigate today. The very first one they deal with is the “Intersection of Worship and Missing God,” which they call the most “exciting” and the most “dangerous” intersection of all.
In considering what is wrong with worship in today’s church, they deal with the issue of fear: “Fear has perhaps kept more churches from experiencing God than anything else. That fear has its genesis in the leadership. The fear factor manifests itself in a variety of ways:
“The fear of losing control. Even though we as leaders may not want to admit it, anything that is out of our control can bring a sense of unsettledness, even insecurity to us, especially when something unplanned happens. The greatest danger involved in this fear is missing what God may want to do spontaneously in a worship setting. Jimmy Draper, former president of LifeWay Christian Resources, while a pastor used to pray every Sunday, ‘God please do something today that is not in the bulletin.’ God often wants to do just that.
“The fear of offending someone. This is probably the most prevalent fear. Church leaders create problems when they assume, ‘If this is what God wants, it doesn’t matter what people think.’ Let it be understood that we never need to allow a wrong attitude of a person or group to prevent us from doing what we believe God wants us to do, but we also should not ignore people’s feelings. We need to let them express their own fears. Sometimes we assume that because we know where we are going that the people know where we’re going, as well. This assumption invites trouble.
“The fear of failure. We call this the ‘what-if’ factor. What if it doesn’t work? What if we fall flat on our faces? What if we announce something is God’s will and it still doesn’t have success? What if we have to get up and say to the people, ‘Your pastor missed it?’ These what ifs can paralyze a church’s future.”