Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain

Leading in Worship

16 Comments

Leading in worship was what we were told we were doing.  When I joined the choir at church it was because I love to sing.  I don’t do it all that well but I make a joyful noise.  Anyway being part of the choir I got to see things.  Things I wish I hadn’t seen, but am ultimately glad I did see.

Music has always moved me deeply.  I think it’s like that for a lot of people.  I considered a privilege to be a part of others’ worship experience.  I thought I was helping people, including myself, go to a deeper place of spirituality, where they met with their Master and were communing with Him in some meaningful way.  I knew that it affected me and others emotionally, I just never considered that it was manipulation, at least not until I was in choir practice when the Minister of Music announced that Pastor had asked for a particular song as the choir special this coming Sunday.

Oh, it was a beautiful song.  One I’ve always loved,  The Majesty and Glory of Your Name.  In and of itself the Pastor asking for a particular song wasn’t a bad thing. It was a simple request, not out of line. Not until Sunday.  The choir sang the song and had the congregation in a worshipful frame of mind for the Pastor to preach his sermon and for us to be moved by it.  He took the pulpit and began his sermon with, “It is amazing how God orchestrates things.  I am almost speechless. The Minister of Music had no idea what I’d be preaching, and I had no idea what music he had prepared for today and this song just goes perfectly along with the sermon that God has prepared for me to preach today.”

Huh?  To be honest I can’t even remember what he preached except that it was from Psalm 8.  I was so flabbergasted and distracted I spent the rest of the service wondering what in the world this man was doing.  Why did he even need to say that?  Why lie?  Not just embellish, not just exaggerate, but bold face lie from the pulpit.  That wasn’t the last time I witnessed such a thing.  It led to my leaving the choir because I felt like a fraud.  We weren’t leading anyone into a deeper relationship with God, we were manipulating their emotions, softening them up for Pastor’s hammer.

At the time I thought this Pastor was just a poor one.  I still think that to a large degree.  Later it was discovered that he ripped his sermons off of the internet. I’d like to think when a man stands in the pulpit and says he’s preaching what he felt impressed upon by the Holy Spirit to preach that at least he believes that to be true. 

How many times had I heard a Pastor, any Pastor, say these kinds of things?  I wonder now how often it was a coincidence that the music matched the sermon and how many times the Pastor orchestrated it and called it an act of God?  One thing became very clear.  Pastors know that music is emotive and they use it to manipulate the sheep.

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16 thoughts on “Leading in Worship

  1. A lot of wisdom in this post, D'Ma.I've never liked church services where there was a prolonged altar call with song after song. I feel that it often is manipulative. It seems to me also that people need to make a decision to call Jesus Lord based on their intellect, not simply their emotions. Jesus says, "Count the cost." That requires a mind in gear, fully engaged.Rebecca.

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  2. Well, there ya go D'Ma. Pastor's fault. If you had been pastored by a True Pastor, you would not now be such a vile apostate 🙂

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  3. Oh, I believe it. A lot of worship is highly orchestrated to achieve a certain emotional response from the congregants. The problem is, it makes worship into an act of manipulation rather than a genuine outpouring of spirituality. If you want to see such orchestration in action with a large group, look up some of the large-scale prayer events hosted by TheCall.

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  4. Gosh, that's just shocking.I know I have heard that very same phrase (or words to that effect) used at the start of a sermon on more than one occasion. I hope they were all true, to not only lie, but to create the situation for the lie as well, is really rather shameful.And easily caught out too, which is all the more silly and it kills so much credibility for so little gain.

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  5. I think the kind of manipulation you describe, D'Ma, is more prevalent than we'd like to think. That is, I certainly don't think every pastor is like that one — but I would wager that many more than we might at first suspect are like that one. The reason I feel confident saying that is because the tools of advertising, marketing, and public relations are to be found everywhere these days.

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  6. I'd have to agree with Paul's sentiment; it's probably not everywhere, but more common than what would be expected. Of course, in a true faith, we would expect it zero percent of the time, so it's not hard to be more than suspected. ;-)But that matters little when it's your church, your pastor, your choir. I probably would have been just as shocked as you! The rest of the sermon, and even afterward, I would have been wrestling with the morality of what just happened. Is it OK to lie in order to provide people with greater encouragement? Is it OK to lie for God if good comes from it? On the surface, it may seem OK, but when it comes to the time of passing around the offering plate, then suddenly it turns into true fraud.

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  7. When we confronted the senior pastor and chairman of the board about the pastor lying (he admitted to it) he, the senior pastor, told us it was okay to lie if it was for the cause of Christ. (That was the last meeting we had in that church.)As I reflect on those years, the church was built on lies. All in the name of Jesus, of course. I could never reconcile the lying for Jesus with Thou Shalt Not Lie. It's not so funny how so many Christians can.Back to the choir. My dear friend was not allowed in the choir (beauuuutiful voice) because she was poor and did not have a nice dress to wear. Yes, that is what she was told by the music leader, the pastor's wife. She asked if she could wear her nice sweater and skirt. At that time, our church was on television. Couldn't have a woman singing in the choir in a second-hand dress, nor a nice sweater and skirt. She was the dearest, sweetest lady and had endured great sorrow and hardship in her life. If anyone had a so-called "God" aura around her, it was her. Good grief, just remembering this angers me to no end.Liars for Christ. 😦

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  8. How depressing. Most of the lying that I've seen has been more of the uninformed or willfully ignorant type. Sharing long-disproved claims about evolution or passing on a glurgy urban legend. Stuff that annoys me, but which I'm more inclined to label as misinformation that outright lying (and yeah, I know they're the same, but I'll give points for intent).

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  9. **I could never reconcile the lying for Jesus with Thou Shalt Not Lie. It's not so funny how so many Christians can.**Or reconcile the idea of lying for the very person who said, "I am the way, the truth …"

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  10. I had a reply, but it didn't seem to do justice to the comments here. It got kind of lengthy and more things kept coming to mind. In light of that I've turned it into it's own post.

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  11. Just actors playing a role, it seems to me now. Not authentic. Just pretend stuff. Like the many Christians I know personally who say they believe certain things but give to lie to that by the way they conduct their lives.

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  12. I think you nailed it, Doug. Actors playing a role.

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  13. Actually, Pastor got himself into some pretty hot water for saying that very thing. He gave a monologue at church one Sunday and afterwords someone told him how much they enjoyed it. He said, "It's all just acting. That's all being a preacher is and I can do that pretty good." Yep, all just actors on a stage.

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  14. That's funny, D'Ma, that he should be so honest about his dishonesty. But I've seen the same thing happen with other dishonest people. The truth slips out.By the way, I'm not a real blogger — I just play one on the internet. Ooops! How did that slip out?

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  15. It was as if he thought nothing of it – like he thought everybody already knew – and was shocked that people would take offense.

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  16. And, while I didn t quite walk in those circles, traffic wise, I was accepted in those circles, in kind of a country mouse way.

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