What is one of the biggest mistakes pastors and worship pastors make when leading a congregation? In this video, Marty Reardon discusses how our lack of intentional space and participation can create the impression that the church is an audience or spectators.
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I have not listened to the video, but I did read the synopsis about worship is not about being an audience of spectators. I cut my teeth on traditional worship and from my earliest days I learned it was not about being a spectator; it was about showing up and being focused, attentive and ready to participate. I have yet to find a contemporary service that promotes that. Even when it is supposed to be about the congregation singing, at best it feels more like a sing-along while the band is performing. And even in non-worship settings I have experienced time and time again that if the person leading the music has a contemporary worship background they end up going off and doing their “own thing”. A case in point is the soundtrack seedbed put out to go with their book on the Psalms, “Soundtrack”: I looked forward to the release of the new soundtrack, and it was absolutely gorgeous, but after several days I realized I was listening more than singing so I reverted back to the tunes originally provided with the seedbed psalter because I could just sing them myself and focus on the words without trying to keep up with another singer who inserted their own twist/mood into the singing of the psalm. I guess the summation for me is, I have found that contemporary worship tries too hard to make the music meaningful instead of letting the words of the music speak for themselves; but then that may be the result of repetitive praise choruses which would open another can of worms… Growing up, when it came to learning about God, the old, great hymns sung in a somewhat straight-forward manner were my best teachers. And the fact worship as a whole was more mystery than understanding was never a problem. I feel blessed that I grew up in the Methodist/United Methodist Church when the overall view of worship was that it was meaningful to be there and to participate in it; it is what is helping me survive this period of people trying to make worship meaningful.