The Clash Of “Mindsets”: Structural Versus Relational
What would happen if you eliminate the Senior Pastor and all his Associate Pastors, Worship Leader and all his musicians and singers from a scripted “order of worship” service? Can worship still occur, or must it be “lead”? If it has to be “lead”, does it have to be done by a “professional” “professionally”?
At first I would doubt if much would happen because no one came to church “prepared” to worship, to actually give anything during the worship service accept their “gifts and tithes” to support the professional institutional system we just eliminated, and they would not know what to do with their new found freedom to just worship! They would even probably begin to question and ask, “What is worship” because before it had been defined for them by the Senior Pastor during his sermon and musically done by the worship team. If I can’t play an instrument or sing without the help of a full moon, what can I do to contribute to worship?
If a congregation knew they were now responsible for worship, or everyone would sit in total silence (which sometimes is the best way to experience worship, for if one listens, and is obedient to what they have seen and heard, they will produce real worship), with their new found freedom and responsibility they just might begin to share a poem the poet, Jesus, gave them, or share an “insight” or “revelation” they learned from the Holy Spirit about a scripture they read during their private devotional time, or tell their “story” what Old School church calls “testimony”, about the relevancy of their current Christian walk, or create a theatrical drama or interpretive dance, or paint an original creation inspired by their Creator, or not just shake hands with the person sitting next to them, but actually dialogue and “hang out” with them outside the confines of the church building, or be obedient and give a prophetic word to someone also in the same room that would change or direct their life, or pray with the sick and hurting and actually witness healings, or stand by one fighting mental illness instead of wilting to the stigma of it, or raising hands, singing, or dancing with the physical or mental handicapped in their midst so they can go beyond their physical or mental limitations in worshipping their Maker.
Release the Holy Spirit to move among His people, the saints, not the professional hierarchal staff, and we would be amazed at what would come forth as “worship”. Yes, we would have to ask the Holy Spirit to redefine worship and show us how to do it as the Creator has created us to do! All nature worships as the trees raise their hands, the brooks babble, the winds blow causing plants and trees to sway, but we would ask how “we are to worship” as humans, created in the image of God!
I believe worship is simple: giving back to Jesus what he has already given to you! He has given us life, freedom, salvation from sin and death, deliverance, healing, a purpose, a desire to worship, etc. Let’s now “release” the believers in Jesus Christ, the priesthood of believers, to give back individually and corporately. I have heard corporate “singing in the spirit” which is the closest thing to heavenly music that I have ever heard as everyone individually sang their own songs of salvation, deliverance, life, hope, redemption, healing, etc. producing a corporate song of unity with a melody line and in harmony that I can not explain in words. You knew God was truly “in the midst of His people” at those moments.
Not only vertically, but true worship should also happen horizontally, something the Church knows little about. Unity in Jesus comes when you have “horizontal” “relational” worship! Just as the vertical relationship where Jesus healed the broken relationship between God and mankind due to sin, Jesus can also heal the broken relationships between brothers to brothers, sisters to sisters, and brothers and sisters to sisters to brothers in a horizontal relationship. In relational worship there is no distinction between Jews and Gentiles, the “we” and the “thems”, the “saints” and the “ain’ts” in the pyramidal structure, male and female, or any race. The Church would not be one of the largest segregated institutions in the world, but an integrated family of believers “revealing the image of Jesus” in each life universally and in unity. That is horizontal worship, creating horizontal relationships that can’t help but produce one result: unity in the body.