Extravagant Worship

A few years ago the book "Extravagant Worship" was written by Darlene Zschech. I purchased the book intending to read it, but for some reason I was afraid of it. I am one that has always been interested in Hillsong - especially when it comes to the driving force behind it. Success does not happen merely by accident. At some level there is intentionality, a God-based vision and a yielding to God's call and a desire to be obedient to Him. This book was good for me to read, it served as a reminder of all the things we should deprogram ourselves of when we go to church on Sunday and worship.

I have served in many capacities over the years. Sometimes a divine vision is exposed through the "capital campaign" process. I've been there, I've done that (on the 5th now) and have seen all kinds of visions at play. I can only think of one instance were a step to do God's call required a deep faith because of what we were challenged to do was bigger than anyone - it could only be done by God. If your dream is too big, then it must be from God - if your dream is not too big for you, then you don't need God to fulfill it!

Worship can become so routine in church culture. From the inside, Sundays run-together very quickly and there are always so many things that come in to play: big ideas, announcements, choir songs, praise-team songs, musicians, organ and the sermon! A guy in my position is commonly asking, "What is our target?" In talking with a dear friend (a student minister) the other day, this very thing came up. We were talking about targets and that all too often we forget that worship's target audience is not the musicians or the audience - it's God.

I have frequently struggled in worship, sometimes more than others. Some churches have an atmosphere where it's easy to be expressive and to engage in worship, but most are only about singing songs and staying on a schedule. It wasn't until I visited the Brooklyn Tabernacle in the late nineties was I stretched and began to have an outward expression of the tremendous amount of emotion inside of me.

One of the parts in Darlene Zschech’s book that sticks out to me the most is:

People have accused me of a performance-based ministry, of being too expressive, but there is a fire in my inmost being that I can't contain. God's love and forgiveness and the power of the cross cause me to dance into my future, regardless of what people think.

Worship is to God, everyone in the room joins in unity, as a single voice of praise to an Almighty King! It does not matter what those around you think about you.

I filmed a testimony of a student today and he shared with me about a time when he experienced an indescribable worship service - one that really made an impact on him, once. My prayer today is that we as church leaders do more to focus on God, where we forget the order of service, the schedule and allow the Holy Spirit to work without a script or restraints. There's an entire generation out there that's yearning, that's hungry, for something authentic and something that gives them purpose...