Backward Worship

Recently when visiting the church my in-laws attend, a thought struck me which has come to me often when I go to church. Today’s Christians worship backwards.

Theirs is an old, small town church which has gone contemporary with music and dress. The preaching is fairly sound, but watered down.

As with all church services for more than a hundred years, the music comes first. And there’s quite a bit of it. As I sat through the blaring guitar music, trying to pick out the words being sung, I was repulsed rather than motivated to worship. The experience was meaningless to me.

Then, of course, before the preaching comes the offering plate. I couldn’t help but think I was being asked to pay for a product sight unseen ahead of delivery.

Before you write me off as judgmental, cynical or out of step, allow me to share some observations and questions.

Why do we do things this way? Simple. Because it’s traditional. Even contemporary churches appear to me to have an order of worship that hearkens back to the 1800’s.

Here’s how it is for me. While I understand the desire to get the congregation in a worshipful mood before the sermon, that formula doesn’t work for me.

OK, I don’t mind singing a good old hymn or two with some meat in the lyrics. Forget this 7-11 stuff–seven words sung eleven times over.

But I don’t feel like truly worshipping until I’ve been immersed in the Word.

So why not do the bulk of our church singing after the sermon? Besides, I’d feel more like giving when the offering plate comes around because I’d know whether the preacher’s worth his salt.

I realize my opinion doesn’t count for much. Still, I’m uncomfortable with backward worship.

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