Picture this scenario: You are in a worship service-type gathering. The message has just ended, and now the band has come up for one or two more songs to close out the service. Everyone is seated as the band begins to play a quiet, worshipful song. At a key point in the song, someone stands up. Then another. Then another. Someone stands up and raises their hands high in the air. Another person stands up and shouts “HALLELUJAH!!!!! PRAISE YOU JESUS!!!!!” More people stand up. Eventually it gets to where over half the people are standing up, engaged in some posture associated with an intense worship experience.
And you have to wonder: Are all of these people standing because they truly feel moved to express the intensity of their worship in that fashion? Or maybe because they look around and see so many other people standing up and think to themselves, “If I have any degree of love for Christ or seriousness about the things of God then I’d better be standing too”? Or maybe some are thinking, “I’m not gonna let anyone outdo me by being a more devoted and passionate worshiper than I am”?
Isn’t there something wrong with this picture? Shouldn’t worship be a community exercise, where we are all coming before the throne of Christ to proclaim His worth through worship? And if we all are doing this, then what place is there for anyone to try to outdo anyone else with how passionate a worshiper he or she can be?
I’m just going to let you know right now: I’m not out to prove anything to anyone about how devoted a follower of Christ I am. I’m not out to prove how passionate a worshiper I can be. Worship was never meant to be an Olympic sport, and I will most respectfully take a pass from the Olympic competition that is present-day worship.