Last night, I held our first mentoring group meeting: a cosy group of guys in the worship ministry hungry to grow together and learn from each other. We had really interesting discussions, sharing our journeys, our dreams and our understanding of worship as we began to work our way together through Bob Kauflin’s book, Worship Matters.
The whole thing was actually initiated by the youngest in our group. I actually didn’t know him very well, but he came up to me one day after our church service and asked if I could mentor him. I looked at him and thought: “first, I don’t really know this person; but two, what a display of courage and humility to ask such a question of anyone”. And so I said “yes” and then we got a couple of others along and that’s how we started our group.
Anyway, last night we were talking about how worship as a lifestyle and the traps of idolatory and one of the guys asked: “is it worship when I’m playing FIFA?”
If I believe that the whole of our lives offered to God is worship, then I suppose the answer must be “yes, I am worshipping when I’m enjoying playing games on my console”. Perhaps the issue is one of intensity rather than direction.
Of course, excessive FIFA-playing may easily cross the line into idolatory – just don’t ask me when that line is crossed.
The natural progression is to then ask this (in the context of corporate worship during Sunday services): “is it okay for me to enjoy the worship?”
I remember a worship leader who used to ask the question: “church, did you enjoy the worship?” and when everyone resounded with a mighty “Yes!”, he would say, “Wrong! Only God should enjoy the worship”. Darn, a trick question! I hate trick questions, especially after I am feeling enthused after a great time of worship which I genuinely did enjoy.
I’m now pretty sure that whilst our worship is for God to enjoy, our enjoyment of our own worship completes the cycle of God’s pleasure in our worship.
This is apparent in the Westminster Catechism, that “man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever”. No point glorifying and not enjoying. Otherwise, it’s just forced, or as they say, a duty rather than a delight.
John Piper says this:
Because God is unique as the most glorious of all beings and totally self-sufficient, he must be for himself in order to be for us…. His aim to bring praise to himself and his aim to bring pleasure to his people are one aim and stand or fall together
CS Lewis said it this way:
We delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment.
In other words, our enjoyment of God is in fact the starting point for our expression of praise, but then our satisfaction in Him itself brings pleasure to His heart. And so the cycle of enjoyment continues.
With this fresh understanding, I started to enjoy the worship – guiltlessly! And so should you!