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Watered-Down Worship

Watered-Down Worship

By Tom Frye on June 08, 2018

We have such a tendency to water down words. Lessening their impact through casual use: awesome, love, and worship were the three that came to mind. 

Worship? You might ask, “How has worship been watered down?” As I took time to think about the word, I began to realize something. Just as we have lessened the impact of words such as awesome and love through overuse, we have done much the same with the word worship through underuse.

We have so narrowed its scope until – in our current Christian culture – we often relegate it to just another music genre or a segment of time in our church services. Though from the first welcome to the benediction our services are designed to engage our congregations in worship; worship is so much more. Worship is an attitude, an action, a way of life.

As I reflected on the hundreds and hundreds of times I have had the privilege of leading congregations in worship through music, James 1:27 came to mind. 

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.

I began to recall several settings in which I have lead worship; large churches, small churches, conferences, and festivals, in many states and denominational traditions. However, the two venues which most stood out were not of leading large congregations in worship, but they were found in the small church basement where I first lead worship with children from 2-10 years old, and the nursing homes where I, and often my family have lead these old dear saints in the singing of hymns and praise choruses. Each representing the opposite end of the age spectrum and both reflecting the childlike faith Jesus referred to in Matthew 18:3. 

Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

I believe we refuse to let the world corrupt us when we use our gifts to serve others including those who have nothing to give us in return – the children, the elderly, the sick. Yes, as I look back the most impactful worship experiences I have had are seeing these little children sing with reckless abandon, and the elderly – whom often could not even accurately communicate where they were or what day it was – with tears streaming down their face singing every word to every hymn along with me. 

For vocational artists it is certainly necessary that we are able to pay our bills. However, I am realizing more and more that our church salary or concert honorarium is not payment for services rendered, but rather an effort by those who write the checks to redeem the time we would otherwise need to use provide for ourselves and our families so that we can fully use our gift of music to freely serve the body, no matter whether it gathers in church basements, nursing homes, living rooms, soup kitchens, or auditoriums.

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Tom Frye

Tom Frye

Tom Frye has served as a worship leader for two churches in both a volunteer and staff position. He now serves as an itinerate worship leader, speaker, and singer/songwriter traveling as both a solo artist and with his family the Frye Family Band. For more on his music and ministry visit FryeFamilyBand.com

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