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The Idol of Worship

The Idol of Worship

By Joe Cameneti, Jr. on March 28, 2012

I’ve been doing some thinking lately. About ministry, my walk with God, and more specifically, about my relationship with this thing called worship. If I’m being completely honest… as a writer, and an all-out music lover, worship can so easily become something I never intended. 

There’s only one way to phrase it. For me, and many others that I personally know or have observed, there is a gravitational pole towards something I would call the “idol of worship.” No, not idol worship… That’s a little more overt.

I’m talking about something that starts out harmless enough… maybe even with the best of intentions. But it seems to always result in the same issue – the most pure form of glorifying our Creator can be hijacked by something that’s just a degree off of center… the idol of worship.

What exactly do I mean? I'm convinced that songwriters, worship leaders and even music enthusiasts can fall so in love with the act of worship that it can become just that… simply an act.

I want to be sure that you understand my heart in saying this. I love worship. I love “worship artists.” And more than anything, I love The Church. But I see a tendency in my own walk with God to lose site of what worship is all about, and I thought it might be a good idea to think out loud amongst friends.

I’m not suggesting this is an issue for every worship leader. It’s possible that this tension most commonly exists in writers and those who enjoy to create. But it’s an undeniable reality in the circles I seem to find myself in.

So how do I know if I’ve been sucked in? A few things come to mind…

How often am I connecting with God? Is it hit or miss at best? Every few days? Maybe once a week before the mad rush for the weekend hits? This is a big indicator of our heart condition.

Another gauge… my ability to join in worship with the congregation. For some, this applies as we’re leading worship, and for those like me, this applies as I worship with the church (I’m on staff at a church and I write for our worship records).

But truthfully… I can’t tell you how many moments I’ve wasted thinking about the technical aspects of a worship set. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve spent entire seasons of ministry disconnected from God as my church worships all around me.

And even more shamefully, I admit that song choice has down right angered and offended me! I’m just being real… Many times I’ve thought things like, “Are we seriously going to play that again?” or “Oh we’re playing your song and not mine,” or “I can’t believe the people aren’t in to this! They so liked his song more than mine!”

Maybe I’m the only carnal person who’s ever thought these things, but maybe I’m not…

How about the whole “record label” thing? This is huge for a lot of writers. Many of us would never say it out loud, but it’s easy to feel like our ministry will never be legit until we’ve been “discovered.” Until others are singing our songs, inviting us to lead at their event or even registering for our worship conference to hear our thoughts on worship.

And I totally get that this is a tricky thing. I mean God gave us these desires after all, and it pleases Him when we use our gifts for His glory. Right? But that is the key… when the act of glorifying God has become something less, we are in a dangerous place.

So what’s the solution? I’m not pretending to know all the answers, but God has been leading me to ask some hard questions of myself. Questions like…

What if we eliminated the lights, the people, the record labels, the writing and everything else that comes with "modern worship..." and we spent a year on an island... Just you and Me… does that get your heart racing as much as the thought of your song being sung by millions?” Ouch!

I think we could all benefit from a time away from worship as we know it. A worship fast if you will. No blogs... No comparison... No looking at the iTunes top ten chart... Just us and God.

What if the reward wasn't the compliments, adrenaline, and fill in the blank...? What if He really became our exceeding and great reward?

I'm not suggesting that it's impossible to sincerely worship God with lights and people present... A huge part of leading worship involves "leading" people into worship. I'm just wondering how much more of God there is to explore... What would my world look like if I truly allowed God to have all of me?

And what if one of my songs never “hit”? What if my only desire was for my song to hit Heaven, and Heaven to hit earth? My prayer is that those who are already practicing this type of worship would only grow hungry for more. And those who feel stuck in the rut that I’m talking about, would simply examine their worship, take inventory, and invite God to do something extraordinary.

-Joe Cameneti Jr.

Joe is a contributor and team member of All About Worship.

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