I had a vivid dream last night. I was on the worship team singing in the ensemble. The 3 of us were asked to back way up against the wall behind a stack of speakers while the band filled the stage. We could not hear much of what was going on except that it was really loud. Every once in a while in a playful gesture someone in the band would throw something in our direction. A rubber band, a balled up piece paper, etc. The congregation was standing and clapping, but not really engaged in worship. They were greeting each other as many strolled in late. When the music ended, everyone sat down. This is the time when a pastor would normally come up and grab a microphone and pray, but no one came up. Some of the associate pastors were in the congregation, but no one took the lead. The head pastor, who was supposed to deliver the sermon, never showed up. Everyone sat in their pew and began to converse with each other. After a long time, some got up to leave. Soon everyone followed. They left in disbelief that the pastor just wouldn’t show up.
I don’t know the full interpretation of this dream, but I find it odd that NO ONE knew what to do without the leader. When we come to church we are there to honor God, to praise Him, to give of ourselves to Him. This didn’t appear to happen. Some come to get their weekly teaching because they aren’t engaged in any other group or bible study. This didn’t happen. No one else stepped up to the plate to fill the role of the leader. Some come to appease their weekly duty. Check.
Has worship become more entertainment than a true exchange with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? Let’s not put the blame on the band. In today’s culture a worship team has to nearly stand on their heads and put on a light show to get the general population's attention. This is supposed to be the time in the service when we are vertical with God. We are praising Him, exalting Him, telling Him of His greatness. The bible tells us that the Father inhabits our praise. Another version says He is enthroned on our praise! If we’ve come to be entertained then we are not postured to “give” we are postured to “receive.”
Has showing up late become the norm because, after all, the message hasn’t started yet. The part of the service I came to “receive” hasn’t started so I haven’t missed anything. Has coming to church been the only time during the week you are exposing yourself to the teachings of God? And, are you seriously expecting your pastor to squeeze all of what God has for you to learn into 52 hours or less a year? What if your pastor didn’t show up? What then? Where would you be in your growth process? Who are the leaders of the next generation? In this case…. would they feel that even had the freedom to step in?
In this dream, this was my church, however, I do not feel that my church would react this way. But it does give us some questions to ponder for ourselves and the leadership of churches across the world.