“Worship is boring!” That, my friends, is the attitude of far too many Christians. They may not say it. They may never use those words. However, their restlessness throughout the assembly, their discomfort during the singing, and their hurry to get done and out the door speaks volumes. Similarly, youth may enjoy the rapid fire pace of shorter devotional songs (especially those that are repetitive and do not require four part harmony), a brief lesson aimed directly at them, and a casual atmosphere, yet find a sermon of greater weight, traditional hymns, and the more formal atmosphere of the assembly not quite to their taste. Many have sought to address these latter concerns by offering different worship styles at different times or changing the assembly to take on a more devotional character. For the former problems, the preacher usually shoulders the load of responsibility for shortening his sermon and perhaps the elders also decide to sing fewer songs. Regardless, none of this sounds remotely like David when he wrote, “I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High” (Psa. 9:1-2).
Practically speaking, it is undeniable that the quality of the song leader and the quality of the sermon affect how people perceive their time in the assembly. This is a responsibility that all who lead in worship—in any capacity—should take to heart. However, it matters not if the song leader selects the perfect songs, stays on pitch, sings at the right tempo, sings out, and sings with meaning if the people in the pew do not reciprocate. It does not matter how much the preacher has studied, how effective his delivery might be, or how pertinent the passage if Christians in attendance do not listen well. At some point, we must recognize that what the individual puts into worship matters just as much as what anyone leading does. How much you put into singing matters to God as much how well the song leader leads. How well you listen matters to God as much as how well the preacher preachers. How involved you are in praying personally matters to God more than the grammar of the person leading the prayer.
We have come to rely far too much on our setting and circumstances to determine our worship when what matters most is bringing our whole heart to worship every time we come to bow down before the throne of Almighty God. Worshiping in spirit and truth matters. Jesus made that abundantly clear (Jn. 4:24). But He also made it clear that the kind of worshippers who come before the Lord matters just as much (Jn. 4:23). We have an opportunity to express the depth of our love for God not only in our attendance in the assembly but in what we do within the assembly. Every week we remember how much God gave for us (Jn. 3:16; 1 Cor. 11:23-29). Our heart should reflect the same each and every time we come before Him (Matt. 15:8-9; Mk. 12:30).