Some things matter forever, and we ought never to forget it. For example, how God is worshipped really matters.
How much Bible we read or preach or sing or pray in our churches, and personal worship services really counts for eternity, and we should remember that every time we plan a worship service.
Whether our weekly services are driven by the gospel, leading worshippers unapologetically from praise to confession to Christ for pardon to the means of grace, really matters for time and eternity.
Whether our church worship services target the whole church rather than a given demographic (e.g., a certain cultural minority or majority, the young, the
old, the hip, or whatever) really makes a difference from now on.
Whether your church devotes time to prayer in its weekly services or forgoes prayer in favor of other things really is important.
We still hear about “worship wars.” Many want to relegate the worship war debates to matters of style and taste, but far more than personal preference is at
stake. The real issues confronting us are content, tone, the aim of worship, and the implicit and explicit theology that lies behind what we do in worship. If indeed, “Faith comes by hearing the word of Christ” (
Worship is the most important thing we will do in this life and the only thing we will carry into the next life. Right now counts forever and never more so than
when we worship! “The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples…Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands” (
More pious blarney has been written about worship in the last decade than perhaps in the entire preceding history of Christian faith and the church. The term
Worship wars was born to describe how differences in worship philosophy have created division and tension in hundreds of American congregations and many
families. It may shock some people to know that not every form of religious activity is acceptable to God, not even when it draws a crowd. If drawing a crowd is the measuring rod for spiritual success, then Sun Myung Moon is one of America’s most successful ministers. Huge crowds still gather every time Moon speaks.
“You should see how they jump when we set off the blue smoke machine and fire the cannon. It is really awesome!” one pastor told me. He is not alone. The drug of entertainment gives some people a temporary weekly high, but that is not worship—not even when it occasionally calls the name of Jesus. Some of what we offer up as worship fits far better under the heading “entertainment,” and we ought to call it that.
If entertainment is worship, then Six Flags and Disney worship better than we do every single Sunday. The most urgent need in the church of Jesus Christ today is less entertainment and better preaching. Yet the reality is that often preaching is downplayed to make room for more special effects. This runs contrary to the
plain teaching of the Bible and church history. If we are to see revival in our time, it will not come through special effects but through the message of the gospel calling the lost to see anew their need of salvation through the cross of Jesus Christ.
Some things really do matter for all eternity. It is not your job to entertain them, Pastor. It is your job to preach Jesus.