The first time I attended Gateway Church I didn’t like the worship. They seemed overly excited to sing. So I stood there–in the back, with a clenched jaw, and hands buried deep in my pockets.
My resistance to take part was odd to me, because I thought I was a worshipper. But there I was, not worshipping.
Reflecting on that season of my life, I think I’ve narrowed down three reasons for my response.
- I Was Jealous – I consider myself a “creative.” I like to come up with new ideas and start them–whether that involves music, teaching or woodworking. I enjoy making new things. Creatives tend to judge their success against other creatives in the room. That first day at Gateway I was looking at a group of musicians and worshippers who were far better than me, and I became jealous.
- I Was Experiencing a New Flavor – The kind of worship at Gateway was different from anything I had experienced before. When I encounter new flavors of anything I become reluctant–food or otherwise. New flavors take getting used to. A new husband may find the flavor of his new wife’s spaghetti different from what mom used to make. But wisdom tells him to embrace the new flavor without disparaging the old. Both are good. Both are right. Love ya mom. Time taught my spiritual palate to enjoy the new flavor.
- I Didn’t Get It – Gateway wasn’t over-singing or inauthentic. They were the opposite: real, pure, beautiful. I eventually caught it; and like many others, I moved from the back to the front, lifted my hands from pockets to the air, and found a clenched jaw shifting into an open mouth full of praise.
These days I get to lead with these wonderful worshippers. Most are still better than me, but I don’t care. I love them, and I learn as much as I can. God used Gateway Worship to challenge more than my craft or my worship. He was challenging my core; and I’m grateful. I don’t want to be the guy in the back with pockets full of hands anymore.
Over the next few weeks I’m going to share some of my heart about worship. I’ll use this blog post as the summary page that links to them all.
In the meantime, my good friend and fellow pastor, Zach Neese, wrote a book about worship. He uses this writing to unload his soul and connect people to the life and presence of God through worship. This is one of the best books ever written on the subject of worship.
I’m giving away one copy of the book. So to shamelessly mimic the great Michael Hyatt, you may qualify for the drawing by (1) leaving a comment below describing why you want the book–leaving a comment on Facebook doesn’t count–AND (2) post a tweet to this blog on Twitter.
I will use my own purely subjective judgement to select the recipient on Friday, February 24 and connect with you for delivery.
Why would you like to receive a free copy of Zach Neese’s book, “How to Worship a King?” Only comments left on the blog qualify for the book contest, so leave a comment below!