7 Steps to the Most Incredible Worship Experience of Your Life

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Okay, I sucked you in with the title.

I’ve always wanted to write a post that promised something extraordinary in seven simple steps. Like “Seven Simple Steps to Conquer Your Greatest Fear” or “Seven Simple Steps to Clean Teeth, a Clean Colon, and a Clean Credit Rating”. And maybe these things can be done in seven simple steps.

But worship doesn’t fit into that mold. Because there’s only one step involved. Coming.

A brief clarification: worship is both all of life and an event. When I serve my wife, that’s worship. When I read my Bible and pray, that also is worship. When I sing with others on Sunday, that’s corporate worship. In this post I’m referring more to the event of worship, such as Bible reading or corporate singing. Now back to your regularly scheduled program.

My Sunday morning worship is usually a debacle. The band starts playing, I start singing, and within 25 seconds I’m totally distracted. The following thoughts pinball in my head:

  • Wow, the band is rocking this morning! Is Foreigner on a reunion tour?
  • Is it just me or did someone forget to turn the volcano off in here? I’m dripping in sweat.
  • The bass guitar is just a hair too loud.

It doesn’t take too long for me to become aware that I’m no longer worshiping. Then the guilt sets in. I’m supposed to be worshiping God, but instead I’m performing an in-depth analysis of the sweat trickling into my eyes. It’s pathetic. And sinful. How can I worship God when I’m so distracted?

So what to do when I’m playing Captain Distraction instead of extolling the glories of God? Hebrews 4:15-16 provides the answer:

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

When I’m distracted, the only thing I’m required to do is come to God again. I don’t have to work up more feelings of love for God, don’t have to feel anything spiritual. I simply return to worship, distractions and all. Why?

Because I have a high priest who clears a path to the throne of God.

Jesus makes it possible for me to come freely into God’s presence, again and again. I’m distracted, I repent, I come back. Rinse, lather, repeat. And my Father welcomes me with open arms every time.

Aren’t you grateful for our high priest who makes it possible for distracted sinners to worship God?

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+photo by Todd Baker

  • Wendy A

    This is very helpful! So often when I get distracted during corporate worship I feel like I need to sit down until I “feel” worshipful and focused again, but God is faithful to remind that we can still come to him with imperfect hearts. He doesn’t expect us to be 100% focused- I don’t think it’s possible! but he does expect worship from our hearts, and he is ready and willing to have us approach his throne. We can come to the throne with confidence in what he has done for us. Thank you for another helpful post!

    • http://www.theblazingcenter.com Stephen Altrogge

      Wendy – Glad the post was helpful for you! Isn’t the gospel wonderfully freeing? We don’t have to work our way back into God’s presence but can come only because of the blood of Christ. It’s great isn’t it?

  • http://mattlacava.wordpress.com Matt L

    I’ve often wondered how much distraction is coming from the “rockin’” aspect of a worship service. It’s something I’ve had to work through philosophically/Biblically in my own mind. Like, drums vs. no drums for the sake of eliminating distractions…

    Thoughts?

    • http://www.theblazingcenter.com Stephen Altrogge

      Hey Matt –

      That’s a great question. I think that there can be times when the music is distracting, which is something we want to avoid if possible. However, that being said, I think the primary issue isn’t the music, but our hearts. Because honestly, if I’m not distracted by the music, I’ll be distracted by something else. My sinful, cold heart is the primary problem. At times the music may present a temptation to distraction, but I don’t think that eliminating sections of music will solve the distraction problem. Make sense?

  • http://mattlacava.wordpress.com Matt L

    I absolutely agree – the issue is the heart. I would not suggest that simply eliminating a certain external factor would solve the distraction problem. However, sometimes external efforts can be helpful. It’s the same reason I have a filter on my internet – the issue is the heart, but I want to put myself in an environment that is less conducive to be tempted to lust. So, in corporate worship, I may want to make it “easier” (I don’t really want to use that word) for myself to not be distracted in as many ways as are feasible – some of those may be related to the singing/music time.
    Note: I am not “anti-drums” in a worship service or “anti-CCM”, it’s just something I’m working through in my own mind and philosophy. :)

    • http://www.theblazingcenter.com Stephen Altrogge

      Matt L – I hear ya. That makes sense and it’s a helpful thought process to work through.

  • Devorah

    Thank you for this post! It was just what I needed to hear (or read, I guess =P) . God bless you!

    Devorah =)

  • Phil

    Distraction is Frame of Reference-specific – so whilst having drums may be a distraction for some, not having them would be a distraction for others.

    Imagine sharpening a pencil with a knife. All strokes must head towards the same point for the pencil to be effectively sharpened. With Corporate Worship everything that’s contributing (even drums) must be pointing in the same direction (God). And the ‘carrier’ for that is the attitude of the people involved. ‘Course, it’s quite possible to get a useable pencil with a few dodgy strokes too… fortunately for those of us who are members of worship teams.

    Thanks for helpful & reassuring comments on distraction. If I were getting distracted too much on too regular a basis (as is the case currently) however, I’d want to see this in a diagnostic way as a pointer to a need to address the situation!

    • http://www.theblazingcenter.com Stephen Altrogge

      Phil – That was well put. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • http://mightyanchor.com Andrew Shansky

    “So what to do when I’m playing Captain Distraction”, does this guy come with boots and a cape? Cause I find myself playing him quite a bit myself.

  • http://www.WorshipOnPurpose.com Tim Jones

    This is one of the biggest issues I’ve encountered in 20 years of leading corporate worship… Your thoughts here are great and cut through a lot of the theo-babble and urban-legend that surround the role of a worship leader…

    Thanks!

    • http://www.theblazingcenter.com Stephen Altrogge

      Tim – I’m glad you found the post helpful. Worship certainly can be surrounded with a lot of super spiritual talk, making it much more complex than it really is. I’m grateful for the gospel which makes access to God so free!

  • http://WebsiteURL Pastor Charlie

    We worshiped “unplugged” this past Sunday. I asked the sound/projection techs to turn off all equip. No music, no projection, no sound system, no recording. Scripture, prayer & proclaiming the Word. It was a supercharged Spirit filled worship like none will forget in a long time. Going to do it again this Sunday…