14 Reasons Why I Can't Worship

Growing up in the church means a lot of different things to different people. Depending on the time of the year, for me it meant being at church virtually seven days a week. No, I wasn't a pk (pastor's kid); I was a wpk (worship pastor's kid). And my mom was the choir pianist. So ministry is not a foreign concept to me. I was practically born into it.

In fact, by the time I was 12-years-old, I was already part of the church worship team. That's not to say I was pressured into it by my parents. I just happened to love music as much as they did. It's rare for someone as young as me to be able to say that they have 14 years of worship leading experience. But it's probably even rarer for that same person to say that after all that time, they feel like they understand worship even less because of it.

This hit home for me only in recent years. I remember leading worship at Moody--leading literally hundreds of young people--and thinking, "I should probably feel more impacted by this experience than I do."

As the semesters progressed, I felt the awkwardness increase as I stood among my fellow students and sang. I didn't know what I should be focusing on.

The aural cacophony? Considering it was student-lead, "dreadful din" would be a compliment.

The words on the screen? That would be a lot easier if they were written in Times New Roman, not Comic Sans (what are we, twelve?).

What about the worship leader? No, I've seen better acting on daytime television.

photo credit: Joachim S. Müller via photopin cc
Those were the thoughts constantly rolling through my head. And it wasn't until only two years ago, that I realized this: in 14 years, I could count the number of Sundays I hadn't been "leading" worship on one hand.

Most worship leaders and bands work off the philosophy that they are there to facilitate worship. They're not the focal point, they're not performing; they're simply creating an environment conducive for worship. I've always liked that. But the problem with it is that those creating that environment are spending all of their energies doing that, not worshiping.

So imagine the young boy who is only just beginning to develop a conscious knowledge of who he is, learning to worship in that setting. You begin to identify corporate worship with playing bass or keys. Not that this can't be the case, it's just that I don't think you're supposed to feel lost in a worship service without an instrument in your hands. And that's exactly how I feel.

Now I may not be known for not having an opinion on something, but that's where I land on this. I haven't lead or played in two years because I'm still trying to figure out what I'm missing. And I've yet to attend a worship service where I didn't want to bolt out of there from sheer anxiety.

Regardless of what some might say, I'm not convinced that there's an easy answer to this. Our recent podcast episode explored some of that, and I think they'd agree that corporate worship defies labels. All I know is what Ecclesiastes 5:1-3 says. And for a guy whose mind wanders easily, that scares me.