The Many Faces of Worship

Praise Service at Saddleback
Praise Service at Saddleback

This morning was my first time to hang around the Sunday services at Saddleback. I took the opportunity to walk the campus and check out the various venues that take place. Saddleback has many service times and places to reach multiple crowds of people. The campus walk did my heart a world of good.

I witnessed Praise, a gospel music service and saw a portrait of the diversity of heaven. People of every color and ethnic group were present. The music was exciting, alive, and celebratory. I have a tendency to think this is how things will feel before the throne someday, and millions of Christians will be unprepared to receive it with joy because they never embraced the idea of diversified worship.

I hung out for a few minutes at Overdrive. It’s loud. Really loud. Since I personally love drums, I fit well. It’s not for everyone, but that’s the point.

I checked out the High School Ministry worship service and saw a stage full of teenagers leading worship and participating together in worship.

Back in the main auditorium, Rick Muchow was leading excitedly. He’s high energy. He moves around quite a bit as he sings and keeps the crowd moving with him.

At the end of all of those services is the same message by the same speaker. One of the things I found most thrilling this morning is that while people were worshipping Jesus in a variety of ways, nobody was standing around in silent protest with their arms folded. No one was walking out to send a message. No one was letting it be know that since this isn’t their personal style, this isn’t right, or godly, or acceptable.

Instead, there was freedom. There was a solid focus on Christ, not on self, each other, and personal preferences. The bottom line for me is that I believe Jesus loves the diversity of worship styles found around the planet. He’s blessed and honored when we lift high the name of Jesus.

Traditional Worship
Traditional Worship
One other thing that caught my attention was the description of the most traditional service on campus, Traditions, which let people know that you could attend Traditions if you wanted the classic hymns an choruses. I chuckled within myself. Many of those “classic” choruses are still new-fangled and controversial in plenty of circles.

You may not agree with all of my opinions about worship, but the bottom line is that our focus ought to be on Jesus, and it’s always hard to focus on Jesus when we’re focused on what we don’t like about the music.

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