Playing at Church in Contemporary Services

The contemporary service at church was overflowing with emotions. People were smiling, crying, clapping and waving their hands in the air. I grew up in a formal setting so the concert atmosphere got me thinking. Does having a contemporary service make it easier to play at church?

Feelings in a Contemporary Service

    1. Emotions are worn on the sleeve of the Praise Band and often emotions are like colds – extremely contagious. Feeling good, feeling the “movement of the Holy Spirit” or just getting into the groove of the music all give you the illusion that you have experienced God during the service.

    2. The words are repetitious and become a chant. You don’t have to think about what you are singing. The tunes are simple and words are repeated over and over for your convenience.

    3. The dress code is much more relaxed (men wearing flip flops and even shorts?) so you can feel more at ease in your worship experience.

The truth is that some of these negatives are positives and it all comes back to the heart. It doesn’t matter where you are worshiping if you don’t walk out of the building desiring to spend more time with God and following through with that desire until the time that you return.

A contemporary service may give some people the feeling of being “churched” but there are just as many attending traditional services that walk out with the same feeling. Dig in and get the reality instead of the illusion.

True Worship Experience

    1. Spend some time in prayer BEFORE the service. Open up your heart, mind and spirit to the experience that is ahead.

    2. Be serious about church. This is not the only time that you experience God but it is still a time of reverence.

    3. Take notes on the sermon. Really listen to the words that are spoken and then use those same words to guide your study during the week.

    4. Expect to experience God when you attend the service. God will be present but you have to receive His gifts.

    5. Look for God in every aspect of the service. God is present from the first greeting to the last good-bye. Where will you encounter your Father?

Church is not just the music, the sermon or the ceremony. True worship is a heart experience that brings you in one way and takes you out transformed and hungry for more. Choose today to experience God in a whole new way.

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  • Sometimes I think the Contemporary Churchgoer is missing out on something with all the flash and dazzle. It is a way to visit God ‘on the fly’ in this busy world of ours. I don’t mean this in a derogatory way. I just mean that you must invest something in the service to recieve something out of it. God requires activity from his followers. He requires forward motion to keep us from stagnating. I don’t believe that God is NOT in contemporary services, so don’t misunderstand me. I just prefer my church experience without the flash and dazzle. Maybe it was my upbringing.

    • Hey there Steve – God is every where and He speaks to anyone willing to hear – which means the traditionalists, contemporaries and others do not have a corner on the market of God. You are right that church is more about giving than about getting – but isn’t that the basic element of all God’s callings?

  • I linked here from “At the Well.” This is an excellent post. Churches put too much emphasis on some of the external things and not enough on the heart. I am a minister and must remind myself before a service, “This is about thanksgiving for all you have done. Thank you Father.” That helps is the singing is slower, the mood is a bit down. The excitement isn’t what makes a service real worship; it is the spirit in the heart. Thanks.


    • Hey Warren – I use to love the structure of the traditional services that I attended as a child but that was because of the reference afforded the situation more than the actually service. I think of church as an opportunity to step behind the veil for a moment so it’s not the time I am looking for fellowship.

      I also enjoy the music of the contemporary service but was just struck by the “play” aspect this last week.