Monday, 20 September 2010

Who's Worshipping Who?

I'm wondering what the difference is between these two...

Just looking at the crowds and their reactions and responses it looks really similar.

Does make me ask a lot of questions about music worship, the role of music worship leaders, manipulation, church and culture and all sorts of things.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not against music worship, I just wonder if we need to think things through as bit more.

What do you think?


Kathryn Hills said...

One difference was that the Hillsongs crowd mostly had their eyes shut, which I guess implies they are communing with God rather than the band?
Is the question perhaps not why do Christians look like fans, but why do fans look like worshippers?

However, seeing the "Beautiful People" of Hillsongs reminded me of Mike Pilavchi at Worship Central @ HTB a while back, asking why there were no plain women doing vocals at HTB & other big churches, was it that only pretty women had good voices?

Sam Norton said...

Banksy is the man you need to ask that question of ;)

Tom Haward said...

It's because Hillsong is a product of its culture. Flashy, expensive, celebrity, finite. Take the gizmos and slick branding away and you'd see most of the congregation leave too. And if they couldn't find anything like Hillsong, they would probably find it hard to maintain a faith.

When I went there I thought it was another way for people to massage their egos. It reeked of arrogance.


Anonymous said...

It is a video of Hillsong that Joe has compared with a secular concert, however it could just of easily of been a Spring Harvest worship session or any big christian event in this country,
to that end I am upset with Tom's sweeping remarks about Hillsong.

Tom a few questions for you...
How many times have you attend Hillsong?Did you get to know and spend time with any of the congregation? Do you know those peoples hearts? Do you know their motivation? You sound so judgemental. I can't judge Hillsongs worshipers any more than I can judge Spring Harvest worshipers. God knows their hearts.

However there is something to be said for striping back the music and considering the heart of worship.

Listen to the words of the Christian group Delirious's song.

'I'm coming back to the heart of worship and its all about you its all about you Jesus'

What do you think Delirious are trying to say?

Also I think the question'Why do fans look like worshipers?'is a good one and should be concidered more deeply. who are they worshiping?

Tom Haward said...

I am being very judgmental, yes. But then I do look at anything, from Hillsong to New Wine to Spring Harvest (to Christianity) and think it's purely emotional and wishful thinking that there is a god involved in it all.

I am sure many people are sincere in their worship, but there is so much planning put into how to draw (manipulate) people into an amazing worship experience. Worship leaders will meticulously plan uplifting songs and how to move them into more meditative songs. What's the best response they can get from the congregation (audience)? It's all so contrived and therefore undermines the entire thing.

Music manipulates people so much I find the reason why people seem to be having the same experience in both videos is because that's what music does.

Joe Haward said...


Keep going guys, I'm enjoying this thread of comments. Helping me think things through...

Armando Bordales said...

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new.

The keyword there is behold, meaning to see, and to see beyond. Christians need to see beyond their physical state to be able to see that they are indeed new creations in Christ.

In the same way, you need to see beyond the concert to see who is worshipping who.

Our thinking process is not much of help. True repentance is an answer of a good conscience toward God.

As the Apostle Paul says: For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

You have a ministry given to you by God. But I can see that pride has crept in, into your heart.

Tom Haward said...

For goodness sake Armando. If we don't think then how can we discern things? Our mind is entwined with our bodies. It's completely ignorant to imply using our minds is of no help. Paul reasoned with people for hours - he wouldn't have done that if he thought the mind wasn't worth using.

And you're off the wall to suggest Joe's ministry is marred by your notion of pride. He likes to create debate (which he has done).

Anonymous said...

Your right music does influence peoples feelings and moods that is why it is paramount that a Leader of Worship is in a good place with God.It's all about motives and what's in the heart.

I beleive that a Leader of worship will meticulously pray and seek God. Helping people to both rejoice in God and reflect on God ultimately Glorifying God.

Whereas you think these Leaders of Worship are out for self-cratification- getting the best responce they can from the congregation.. some maybe you are right.

Thats why Leaders of worship should be well supported by their: church Leaders, Elders and the congregation that they serve,in order to help them keep their focus on glorifying God. It's a tough job. There is much more to it than what I've just said.

Anyways it would help to consider the Psalms -the hymn book of the bible ..There are hymns of reflection,hymns of repentance, hymns of rejoicing hymns for when your sad, hymns for when your lonely and hymns for when your afraid + lots more. Hymns with different moods and for different feelings.
Psalm 95'Come let us sing for joy to the Lord......
Psalm 96 'Sing to the Lord a new song' Psalm 98,99, 100,101. In Psalm 150 we are called to sing and praise and use instruments too!
Psalm 139 a hymn of reflection'how precious to me are your thoughts O God!'
Psalm 51 a hymn of repentence.'Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.'

The Psalms help us to learn how we too can have a truely worshiping heart. Take a look at them .

Joe Haward said...

Armando - I'm not to sure what you're getting at to be honest.

Others - I think one of the issues that is being raised is how church leaders and 'worship leaders' can lead with integrity. I think there is an issue of how people can 'worship' 'worship leaders' and the need to think carefully about how church operates and the way it influences people.
We shouldn't to to try and manipulate people or invoke a certain response from them. We are there to care for people, to love them and enable them to be honest and open; we need people to be themselves, not who we think they should be.

I think the bible tells us the kind of worshippers we should be and that in turn should form the way that we do it.
I highlight these videos because I get concerned that this is happening less. I get concerned because I think church places far too much emphasis on music and not enough on Scripture, Prayer and the Sacraments.

Tony Mayes said...

Worship is a heart attitude, what we do all week is what will define our attitude when we come together for corporate worship of God - where ever it is.

Music does it for some but not others, I know folks who find sung worship hard the way it is in these multi song sets and others who find themselves closer to God through them (in the same church).

Matt Redmond song "when the music fades" is a good reflection on the heart of worship.

Personally "The Heart of Worship" for me is not always in a church service but out among folks living it for real and presenting whatever comes from that to God.

Kathryn Hills said...

Matt R wrote "When the music fades - I'm coming back to the heart of worship" (not Delirious) as a particular response to a time in their church when Mike P felt that the "worship" was becoming exactly what Joe is concerned about. I expect he's written about it somewhere... They actually stopped all sung worship for a time as a result. @Tom, no idea whether the numbers dropped there as a result, if anyone finds out let me know.

I've asked kids in Sunday School what is worship & what can be part of it, and the response is so much more than singing. It's a shame that as adults we get into such a rut. I remember a sermon over 20 years ago saying that Worship was "telling God how good he is" - and there are lots of ways to do that. Sung worship should be a small part, not the whole.