Turn the Amps Up to 11…for Jesus of Course

I just posted this on Twitter and had a hard time articulating what I really want to say in 140 characters:

If I had to choose: I would take one simple act of service to a person in need over singing 100 songs at a Christian rock/’worship event’

Let me expound…

I’ve been living in a place where I’m very removed from the Christian sub-culture of my past. I don’t often hear of the newest and ‘greatest’ trends ins Churchianity. And when I do get wind of these trends I’m often left feeling like Christianity is running on a newer, more clever, more ‘excellent’ treadmill that we’ve been running on for generations. While we get better and better at ‘doing Church’ we don’t make any real progress in being the ambassadors of Jesus that we’re beckoned/supposed/called/asked/left to be.

I was watching a video on youTube of a Christian rock concert that we now call a worship event. Worship leaders are the new Christian rock stars. I wonder how many ‘worship’ albums have been produced and sold in the past 5 years? The funny thing is that I’m having a hard time calling this a worship movement. It’s a movement, but of the consumeristic kind: consuming experience, consuming more musical gear, consuming more CD’s, consuming the latest trends…But I can’t call this a movement of true worship of God. Yes, it’s singing song to and about God, and this is a part of worship, but it’s not the full thing. It’s like a reading a restaurant menu out-loud and ordering the food, but not eating.

So here is what I’m not saying: I’m not saying that I don’t like singing as worship. I’m not saying that it’s not worship. I’m not saying that it is not beneficial. I’m not saying I don’t buy Christian worship albums that I like. I’m not saying that I don’t appreciate Christians who lead worship or make a living by leading worship.

I am saying that I have a growing concern that worship is a new form of consumerism that feels like the ‘right kind of spirituality’ for a demographic of people that prefer to ‘feel Jesus’ as opposed to living for and like Him. If our expressions of worship only move us into wanting newer/better/more exciting singing and music, then I don’t believe it’s really worship. True encounter with God draws us into being more like him: sent into the world to be messengers of promise, grace, love, hope, and forgiveness. If my singing and music were becoming idols in my life over-and-above following Jesus into the world then I would never pick up a guitar again. I’m not saying that as hyperbole. Better is one day fixating on the right things of God, than thousands elsewhere….

You may call me judgmental or whatever. I know that post like this runs that risk…critiquing worship. But if you feel defensive about this (as I do a little bit even myself) then I think there might be something to look at.

After all, we learn in scripture (Micah 6:8) what God requires of us: To do justice, love mercy, and to walk humbly. I fail to see anything in there that says, “Let’s turn the amps up to 11 and rock out for Jesus.” But maybe that’s just me…

No Comments

  1. Kent on April 15, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    So true! I can’t stand that “worship” has become a style of music and a sub-category of the contemporary christian music industry. And isn’t “worship concert” the ultimate oxymoron? Music is a very powerful tool and can so easily manipulate our emotions. I’m guilty of walking away from a loud, rockin’ “worship event” feeling like I met with God. . . yet how many times have I missed the opportunity of really meeting God in the act of serving the poor and oppressed?

    • Justin on April 15, 2010 at 12:23 pm

      Thanks for the comment Kent! You made a great point about the Christian music industry…the irony is that the industry is not the ‘Christian Music Industry’, it’s just the Industry that has a profitable market audience of Christians…because it connects to our spirituality it is a powerful market.

      Thanks again for reading and commenting!

  2. Rebecca on April 15, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    If you don’t mind Justin, I will be sharing this with our group tonight….

    • Justin on April 15, 2010 at 6:14 pm

      Go for it! If you don’t mind and have the time, I’d love to hear what people thought.

  3. Clint on April 15, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    In the words of my 3 year old son Hud, “yeah you right!”


  4. Kari on April 15, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    This is very true. I feel that this applies to all aspects of the church and not just worship. How many people live for “church” and not Jesus. How many people who call themselves Christians live for the appearance that they project for other people to see, and have a private double life? You hit the nail on the head my friend.

    Thank you for your messages and your thoughts. They are truly an inspiration to me, and I respect you and your family so much for always talking the talk, and walking the walk.

  5. Chelsea N on April 15, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    While this is true, it is uncomfortable to read because it is so integrated into the Christian culture and I see this all the time (and often partake in it myself) … something needs to change, yes? Thanks, Justin!

  6. Christine on April 15, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    ….and I’ll be sharing this with our gals at Acres, who often think their ‘walk’ means simply absorbing what Christian culture throws at them. They listen to Christian music and gripe when asked to do something for someone (and probably not just them…I can relate 🙂 Great post Justin.

  7. Troy on April 16, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    Wow. Great, great thoughts. Thanks for this, Justin. Well put.

  8. Jen Braun on April 17, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    I agree, Justin. I have become a little more aware of this as there is a new church that has taken off here in ATL that “stars” certain “big names” in the Christian Music industry. It’s kinda weird how so many of the people i know want to go check it out because certain people are leading worship. It makes me question why, is it because of the people or Jesus??? hmmmmmm…

    Anyway, thanks for your thoughts and your reminder of Micah 6:8. Take care and give the fam our love.

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