welcome to unspiritual worship
Thank you for checking out unspiritualworship.com! My hope is to make this a community of people from all walks of life who want to explore the deeper meaning of "worship" and discover a new/better way to acknowledge the presence of God in our lives and His Kingdom on earth beyond the typical ways we've been taught in the Christian tradition.
Many of us, whether you are a worship leader in a church, volunteer or are paid to serve on your worship team, or have simply just attended an American Evangelical church for any length of time, have grown tired of how "worship" has been systematized and reduced to a 20-25 minute portion of a Sunday morning gathering where songs are sung. In fact, an argument could even be made that the not-so-new phenomenon of "church-hopping" could be due, in part, to this sense of dissatisfaction with worship. Church leadership looks at it and believes that it simply comes down to an issue of style--they don't like the kind of music we're playing or the brand of preaching.
But I believe those are symptoms of a bigger issue: What we are presenting as "worship" in many of our churches is too narrow, too myopic, and lacks any sense of relevance to our daily lives. I heard a counselor once postulate that the root of so many addiction issues (particularly among Christians), be it drugs or sex or food or work, could be the result of an unsatisfying worship practice. What we experience on Sunday morning, though many would call it moving or glorious or inspiring, fails to compare to the nearly instant gratification of sex, drugs, food, or approval. In fact, many of our worship experiences can be just as fleeting as the warm fuzzies we get from our addiction of choice.
For the most part, many churches in the last 30 years or so have focussed heavily on worship as an event or experience. A worship service is something that is presented to us on Sunday morning. Certainly there are varying degrees of participation from community to community, but at the end of the day worship is an event that takes place in a certain space, at a certain time, for a certain amount of time, and includes certain specific elements which are to be considered holy or sacred. Praise and worship songs are sung, prayers are prayed, communion is consumed, an offering is taken up, a sermon based on a Biblical text is preached, a benediction is declared, and we are sent out. And worship waits until we gather together again next Sunday, at the same time, in the same place, to do the same things.
Please know that I am not against worship events. I've been a worship leader for 20 years with most of that time spent in larger churches where the production value of the worship experience was quite high. I love the lights, the fog, the big sound systems, the anthemic songs with loud drums and guitars. But the danger lies in making that the "normal" way to worship. The longer we practice in this one way, the more it becomes rote tradition and loses it's heart. When that happens, we may hear a sermon or two about how "worship is more than singing," but even the alternatives that are offered are event-focussed: a short term missions trip, a local community clean-up initiative sponsored by the church, a giving campaign, or a push to volunteer in the children's ministry. And those are also all well and good, but it seems to get us caught in a pattern of chasing events, usually sanctioned by the church community we belong to, in order to get a worship fix. We are constantly trying to DO worship instead of actually BEING worshipers.
What I want to explore is this idea of UNspiritual worship, the kind of worship that takes place outside the walls of the church, apart from the events and the trips and the conferences and the Sunday morning volunteering. I want to help all of us see that worship isn't just something that we do, it is a state of being that, when practiced holistically, has the potential to impact every area of our lives--our jobs, our relationships, our families, our diets, our sexuality, our schedules, our routines...and yes, even our churches. I'm not exactly sure where this journey will take us, but I'd love for you to be a part of the conversation. Thanks for checking this out and being willing to engage as we try to discover what it really means to worship unspiritually!