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The Church Of The Revolving Door

Recently, I attended a worship conference at a local church in my hometown of Belleville Ontario led by internationally renowned Vineyard worship leader/pastor David Ruis. As the conference led on, I soon realized the consequences of my attendance. Because, I wasn’t just observing or participating in a version of what I’ve always thought worship should be, I actually found out what worship really is.

Ruis led conference-goers in worship times with deep, intense reflecting worship. This spirit of God flowed through the Church building while Ruis and his team of local worship leaders blended mostly new worship choruses with fast drum loops and live instruments. I even heard a few lines from U2’s “With Or Without You.”

Ruis’ ability to incorporate dark “Euro” drum loops with live instruments is really fascinating and lent itself to a very powerful atmosphere. Ruis’ native influence was also evident throughout the conference by the integration of native instruments and language in his music and in his collaboration with Broken Walls. Ruis really personalized this experience as he called out to pray for the Mohawk reserve, Ontario and other locales around the area. It was an incredible experience to see people falling down before God, interceding and praying for one another and most of all, their “friendly city.”

Now here’s my problem. Being a 26 year resident of this area, I am quite familiar with our general church population. Also, with a creative outreach ministry I am able to travel often and have seen what is happening in other churches both in Canada and across the border. I love Ontario, but the one thing I can’t get my head around is our contentment with worship in the status quo. Maybe the good majority of Ontario’s churches aren’t interested in taking their worship to the next level or maybe they’re not even ready? I have seen the impact that worship centered churches have had on its people. A church that is not governed by time or schedules.

Worship is a lifestyle, not a Sunday morning event. I understand the move toward a contemporary style of worship is not for everyone, but that’s not really my point. I have also seen a church full of excited believers, hungry for Christ and yearning to be closer to Him, their worship inching them closer and closer to seek God’s face only to be brought to a grinding halt by the demands of a schedule or a program.

How often has this happened? The worship time really reveals the face of God and great things happen. Then, someone looks at their watch and realizes that if we don’t move on, there won’t be a sermon. Interrupting an effective worship time to get on with the message to take up the offering or get home to the game Sunday after Sunday is like getting stuck in a revolving door; you catch glimpses of what things look like on the other side of the door, but you never go through and just as quickly, someone pushes the door and it passes you by, and you pass it by again and again. Isn’t it time for a shift in our way of thinking?

What would happen if it were allowed to continue? What if the pastor’s message doesn’t get started until noon? What if there was no message at all? What if the pastor was stirred to speak about what happened during the worship time and educated the people in how to better seek God during their worship?

The Church needs to come to a point where quite simply, seeking the face of God is the sole objective. What else is there? A worship centered church.

I’m not suggesting we “worship the music” nor do I believe we should replace our worship team with performers and become an audience. But I see a real need for total, complete freedom and an all out abandon to worship, not to be constrained by time or agendas, to be able to stand before the real audience…. of One.

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[Jeff McCann is a freelance writer, husband and father of four girls. He balances out the lack of testosterone with his 9-year-old boxer named Spencer.]

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