A lot of times, in churches, you have performances in the worship service. It could be a drama, a soloist, a choir. Yet I wonder if that’s the best (or appropriate) form of worship? Many times, I see those artists worship with full vigor and passion, which is good. They practice and hope to please God well (some want to perform well in front of others, which isn’t necessarily a wrong thing in and of itself). However, many times, it leaves the rest of the congregation as spectators, merely viewing someone worshipping in their chosen medium. Sure, the congregation can worship in prayer and reflection. But it doesn’t really encourage engagement in worship. Same can be said for sermons. It is beyond merely doing the preacher’s best in proclaiming the truths of Scripture, but it needs to move the congregation into engagement with God. Otherwise, the congregation becomes merely observers with little to no engagement with God. (Unfortunately, there are some preachers who think it’s all about them and fail to bring the focus of the congregation beyond them towards God.)

I also got thinking about the difference between other performances (like theatre) vs a worship service. After all, I do pay to see others entertain me. But I think that’s the difference. With entertainment, it is a break from “reality” i.e. I get a good laugh or scare or cry, but it isn’t meant to change my life circumstance, but more likely to temporarily escape from it. However, the purpose of worship IS change in life circumstance or life context. It is to shift your view towards God’s view. As such, I wonder if that’s why worship as a whole needs to have as much congregation engagement as possible. Of course practice and excellence (i.e. doing one’s best) for the glory of God is important. However, when those elements begin to become more of the focus and deters from the purpose of worship, we’ve overstepped out bounds.

I guess sometimes I wonder if “performances” in a worship service need to become the rare exception rather than a regular part of it.