Pastors and Worship leaders evaluate the Sunday morning worship hour each week. Many times that evaluation is intentional and facilitated by a list of evaluation questions. Other times the pastor enters his office on Monday, sits behind his desk, buries his face in his hands and mutters, “Well that didn’t go well!” Clearly, intentional evaluation, done well, can be used to guide leaders to make necessary adjustments and improvements. Reactionary evaluation, however, offers little or no building blocks for the leader to improve the plan. There is no opportunity for the evaluated one to discover “a better way.”
I have been a part of many conversations on how to evaluate worship. All of these discussions have been from the perspective of the ones who plan or lead worship services. But I have not aware of many conversations which our own personal worship.
Worship leaders can attend conferences, enjoy conversations with fellow worship leaders, participate in webinars on worship leading, all in an effort to be better worship leaders. But what process is there for disciplining all believers to become better worshipers – the kind of worshipers the Father seeks? Sometimes I wonder if we just expect that developing and training better worship leaders will automatically translate into having churches full of better worshipers – the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.
If Pastors and worship leaders don’t intentionally guide their evaluations process, the default will takes us to the ABC’s of Sunday morning evaluation. Attendance, Baptisms, and Cash – though these are important to the church’s ability to continue to grow and function, they are not very good indicators that Spirit and Truth worship has taken place. So what is?
In our modern church cultural, we tend to ask questions like:
- “Was there and attitude of excitement?”
- “Did we enjoy ourselves?”
- “Did I sing all the notes correctly?”
- “Did I sing harmony?”
- “Did the sermon move me?”
- “Did the prayers motivate me?”
- “Did the leadership inspire me?”
- “Was twenty dollars enough? Should I have given more? The usher kinda glared at me.”
I won’t say that I’m a divinity expert, but I don’t think that there is a biblical standard for these kind of questions. In fact, when I read through them a second time, they seem rather self serving. These questions, however represent the unwritten worship rules in most church worship services. Perhaps there’s a good reason they are unwritten. If we were to examine ourselves using the gift God has given us – His Word – then we would commit to a completely different standard for evaluating our own personal worship.
- Did I present myself with HUMILITY? -Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.(James 4:10 ESV)
- What about my worship offering communicated to God that I am COMPLETELY HIS? -I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.(Romans 12:1 ESV)
- Did I offer HONEST CONFESSION or try to deny and justify my sin to God? -Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. (Psalm 24:1-4 ESV)
- Does the LOVE I claim to have for God in this moment overflow to the other areas in my life? -Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5:1-2 ESV)
- Are others encouraged and uplifted in Christ, because of my TESTIMONY? – And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, (Ephesians 5:18-19 ESV)
- Did I express my THANKFULNESS to God or merely complain about all my misfortunes? -Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, (Ephesians 5:20 ESV)
- Do I SUBMIT myself to everyone else within the family of faith? -Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Ephesians 5:21 ESV)
What if we began evaluating worship using the second list of questions? What it that became our new normal? Would it reform the way we think about worship? Would it bring revival to our own walk with God?