Still thinking about worship this week, and I came across this gem from A.W. Tozer that I thought I would pass along.
The fast-paced, highly spiced, entertaining service of today may be a beautiful example of masterful programing – but it is not a Christian service. The two are leagues apart in almost every essential. About the only thing they have in common is the presence of a number of persons in one room. There the similarity ends and the glaring dissimilarities begin.
Whether it be a communion service, morning worship, evangelistic meeting, prayer meeting, or any other kind of true Christian gathering the center of attention will always be Christ. “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Mat. 18:20)… Never do the disciples use gimmicks to attract crowds. They count on the power of the Spirit to see them through all the way. They gear their activities to Christ and are content to win or lose along with Him. The notion that they should set up a “programed” affair and use Jesus as a kind of sponsor never so much as entered their heads. To them Christ was everything. To them He was the object around which all revolved; He was, as He still is, Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end… Christ was everything in the minds of those first believers and that mighty fact dictated not only their conduct but their inner attitudes as well. Their mood, their demeanor, their expectations sprang out of their childlike conviction that Jesus was in the midst of them as Lord of creation, Head of the Church and High Priest of their profession.
The point we make here is that in our times the program has been substituted for the Presence. The program rather than the Lord of glory is the center of attraction. So the most popular gospel church in any city is likely to be the one that offers the most interesting program; that is, the church that can present the most and best features for the enjoyment of the public. These features are programed so as to keep everything moving and everybody expectant.
We’ll do our churches a lot of good if we each one seek to cultivate the blessed Presence in our services. If we make Christ the supreme and constant object of devotion the program will take its place as a gentle aid to order in the public worship of God. If we fail to do this the program will finally obscure the Light entirely. And no church can afford that.