Why is your worship service so “formal”?

Many worship services in modern churches tend to be informal. The model is often that of a concert or entertainment event, with a very “come as you are” attitude toward visitors. Consequently, when someone joins one of our churches Sunday morning for worship, often the most obvious difference in our worship approach (which is evident to them in the first five minutes) is the concern for reverence and dignity, and what comes across as “formality.” The more common approach has often been called “seeker sensitive,” and some might be excused for thinking that our approach is actually closer to “seeker hostile.”

The reason we approach worship this way is because we believe that God requires a cultivation of reverence from us. “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire” (Heb. 12:28-29, ESV). This is what we are seeking to do. We see here in this passage that worship can be unacceptable to God, and two of the things that would make it unacceptable would be a spirit of irreverence and an attitude inconsistent with awe. Sadly, that is often what can happen with informal worship services. When Paul envisions an unbeliever wandering into the church, he doesn’t see the unbeliever feeling at home, rather he sees him as becoming undone “he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you” (1 Cor. 14:24, 25).

Posted in: Worship