Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Is There a Difference Between Performance and Worship?

This weekend, our youth worship band led worship for our church. They played as well as I've heard them play and it did not feel like a "show off the youth day" and more of a normal worship service with younger musicians. But later on I was visiting with the band members and one of my youth said that after the service he asked one of the ladies in the congregation, "Did you enjoy the show?"

This reminded me of a concept that has been around a long time. That is, the difference between performance and worship. Music and song have been elements of worship for thousands of years. And as with any performance, music performed in worship should be played skillfully (Psalm 33). But the context of the performance must be considered. In a regular concert, the performer is playing for the pleasure and approval of the audience. In worship, though, the performer is playing for the pleasure and approval of God. The music should be excellent and inspiring to the audience, but the approval of the audience should not be a driving force.

In the book of I Corinthians, Paul tells the church at Corinth to do all things to the glory of God. So whether our performance is under the umbrella of "worship" or not, it should be excellent. But when we are leading worship, we are playing for an audience of one.


Anonymous said...

Do you remember the band's song in Rockdale that made us remember the true reason we were doing what we were doing when we happened to get caught up in the "show"? Sometimes it's good to strip it all away and let God move through the instruments, through the vocals and let others see the real reason you are "performing". It's easy to lose sight of things when you're heart's not right from the beginning. Just a thought to remind your students the true audience is God and he is glorified when your heart is truly in the worship experience. Otherwise, it's just a show.

Jason Huffman said...

What song are you referring to? I remember the experience, but I don't remember which song it was. Heart of Worship is kind of about that, but I don't remember doing that song there.