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Not An Audienceby Duane Mabee on January 19, 2017
Last week, we started talking about An Open Letter to Worshipers written by Gary Durbin who is a worship leader in Denver. Let’s pick up where we left off.
Gary talks about the fact that you are the worshipers – not an audience. An audience mindset pervades the church today, but it isn’t biblical. Worship in the Bible isn’t an audience coming to church to watch the show – the worship – put on by others. In the Old Testament, people had to get their hands bloody to worship. Worshipers are always described as getting actively, physically involved in worship.
Gary writes, “When I ask you to raise your hands, don’t assume it’s a stick up. I’m actually encouraging you to be biblical with your expression. It’s a great thing to express your love for God and get excited. God has also asked us to sing, clap, shout, bow down and even dance. If you do those things at a concert or sporting event and not at church, you should probably do some introspection regarding your worship.”
Don’t get concerned, I’m not going to try to implement dancing in our worship services. Don’t even try to visualize that, it could be gruesome. But, ask yourself, “What does my worship posture say to God? Would anybody watching a video of me get the idea that I’m passionately in love with the God Who saved me? Would they be curious about this God Who has so captured my attention?”
Worship is not what happens on the platform. It is not “the show”, the music or the preaching. Those should be acts of worship for the people presenting them, but for you they are meant to be aids to help you worship. Worship happens as you actively engage with God. It is the transaction that takes place in your heart between you and your Savior. Worship is you acting out your love and reverence for God. You are the performer, if you will. God is your audience.
Again, Gary puts it this way, “Perspective is huge. Make sure you have the right perspective of your role. Look in the mirror and say this to yourself: ‘I am not a part of an audience.’ An audience is a gathering that needs to be entertained. The gathering of God’s people should not be an audience that comes for a show. You are way more than an audience. You are part of a choir of children who call God their Father! We’re united in lifting up anthems of praise to an audience of One—the One true and worthy God. When you keep that perspective, you won’t settle for merely being entertained by our talents. You will intentionally strive to join the praise to our Almighty Audience of One!”
You are not an audience. You are a worshiper. The kind of worshipers that God is looking for are those who actively worship Him (engage with Him) in spirit and in truth, (Jn. 4:23), not those who passively watch others.