Once upon a time the Vineyard worship was just about the only game in town. No longer. We’re now one of many worship movements serving the Body of Christ that has come along as a result of worship trails we blazed and trends we set. We shouldn’t be taking any bows but we should be pleased that God has given us such an important role in the development of contemporary worship. Nor should we be content to sit on our rep, reveling in the past and relying on others to now set the pace. I believe there’s more the Vineyard has to contribute as long as we’re true to ourselves as a distinct community of churches. But today we face a challenge – resisting the forces of consumerism and remaining culturally relevant while at the same time in the midst of so many other worship ‘voices’, maintaining our distinct Vineyard identity.
This raises some interesting and important questions in my mind: Does our worship reflect pop-Christianity sensibilities or our kingdom theology? Is our worship still noticeably heartfelt and intimate? Does it still lead people into an encounter with God’s felt-presence? And when all is said and done, does our worship activate Christ-honoring, kingdom living or is it feeding spiritual self-centeredness?
Let me bring this closer to home: Has the consumer spirit bitten us in the Vineyard? Are we worshippers of God or have we become consumers of a weekly experience, treating worship as a product that we use for our own enjoyment and benefit? Approaching worship the way we approach buying a cup of coffee? Applying a taste test to see if it’s to our liking?
In one of John Wimber’s last sermons entitled, “The King’s Worship”, he wryly stated, “We need to understand that worship is for the King. I have been in church a long time and I have heard people say, ‘I don’t get anything out of worship.’ I say, ‘Listen stupid it isn’t about you getting anything out of worship. It’s about you giving worship to God who is worth worshiping… It’s not for entertainment purposes and it’s not even to prepare the audience for the sermon or to manipulate a lot of money out of you in the giving! It is for God. It isn’t because he has a weak ego and he needs to be bolstered and encouraged, poor old God…”
I think these are words we need to reflect on as a movement and as individual followers of Christ because if we get worship right we’ll get life and everything that goes with it right.