We had always set aside lots of time in our meetings for worshipping God through music. But it began to dawn on us that we'd lost something. The fire that used to characterise our worship had somehow grown cold. In some ways, everything looked great. We had some wonderful musicians, and good quality sound system. There were lots of new songs coming through, too. But somehow we'd started to rely on these things a little too much, and they'd become distractions. Where once people would enter in no matter what, we'd now wait to see what the band were like first, how good the sound was, or whether we were "into" the songs chosen.
Mike, the pastor, decided on a pretty drastic course of action: we'd strip everything away for a season, just to see where our hearts were. So the very next Sunday when we turned up at church, there was no sound system to be seen, and no band to lead us. The new approach was simple - we weren't going to lean so hard on those outward things any more. Mike would say, "When you come through the doors of the church on Sunday, what are you bringing as your offering to God? What are you going to sacifice today?"
If I'm honest, at first I was pretty offended by the whole thing. The worship was my job! But as God softened my heart, I started to see His wisdom all over these actions. At first the meetings were a bit awkward: there were long periods of silence, and there wasn't too much singing going on. But we soon began to learn how to bring heart offerings to God without any of the external trappings we'd grown used to. Stripping everything away, we slowly started to rediscover the heart of worship.
After a while, the worship band and the soundsystem re-appeared, but now it was different. The songs of our hearts had caught up with the songs of our lips
Out of this season, I reflected on where we had come to as a church, and wrote this song:
When the music fades,
All is stripped away,
And I simply come;
Longing just to bring something that's of worth
That will bless your heart.
I'll bring You more than a song,
For a song in itself
Is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear;
You're looking into my heart
In the chorus I tried to sum up where we were at with worship:
I'm coming back to the heart of worship,
And it's all about ou,
All aout You, Jesus
I'm sorry, Lord for the thing I've made it,
When it's all about You,
All about You, Jesus
(written by Matt Redman)
WORSHIP IS IN THE HEART
AND NOT IN THE ART
An extract from : The Unquenchable Worshipper by Matt Redman
Blessing - TPWC