An Answer To Why You Might Be Frustrated With Worship At Your Church

Make sure you notice I said AN ANSWER AND NOT THE ANSWER. Ok, I think I might deal with this issue more than once. Remember, this is a journey so we don’t have to figure it all out in one day or in one blog post.

I remember a time when I seemed to be the go to guy for a certain circle of people in my church who would come talk to me about how they were frustrated with the way that worship seemed to have changed within our church. I don’t know why they were attracted to come talk to me. Maybe they assumed I was as frustrated as them. Maybe I was, but I also somewhat understood what it was like to have to lead a large number of people that were all on different levels in their walks with God.

The context of the frustration that the people I am talking about here had to do with the fact that they thought the worship did not “GO” where it used to go. So, THIS IS AN ANSWER TO WHY YOU MIGHT BE FRUSTRATED. When we as worshippers experience expanded levels of freedom in worship and in expression and in our ability to seek God, when that is diminished, we will naturally feel frustrated. What happened was that a shift occurred in the worship services in which less time was given to both the seeking and the finding of God in spontaneous ways. People that had become accustomed to this got frustrated when this was no longer happening in the services like they had previously. Some gossiped about it. Some people got offended and left. Some people judged leadership when they had no right to do so because they had such a low level of authority that they had no idea what basis they were even making their judgements from… (side note: it takes one to judge one because when you are one you assess differently than one who is not one… take a minute to figure that out)

Long story short, it’s tough to go back to a place of limitation after you have experienced a fuller expression. I understand this. One thing I recommend for people who deal with what I am sharing is to honor leadership regardless, you don’t know what they are dealing with. If you feel led to move on, I think it’s fine, but do it as the Lord leads you in an honoring way. Sometimes God asks us to stay and walk through the “season.”

Honestly, it was blatantly obvious how the worship services changed. But, my perspective began to change as I sought the Lord. I started to realize that the people that were frustrated really would not have been as frustrated as they were if they had any worship life in God outside of Sunday morning. I have two points…

#1- I am all about advocating that, as the local church, we devote more time to the Selah, to the seeking of God in the midst of created neutral musical atmospheres. I don’t think we do this near enough in our gathering and that a shift towards seeing this happen at church is happening even now. That said, thank God that I am not limited in my relationship with God to what happens on Sunday morning. You just can’t fit a whole weeks worth of sustenance into two hours.

#2- Once I realized what I just shared in point #1, it helped me not to rely so heavily upon the experience of Sunday morning. Sure, I missed what I had known. Did I believe we could go back to that at any time… Totally. But since it didn’t seem like we would for a while, rather than complain about this and that, I continued to seek the Lord in my own relationship with him.

So, you might be frustrated with the worship at your church because they don’t provide you with an atmosphere conducive to the level of expressions and freedoms that you are used to. You are not going to change the church over night. I encourage you to continue to go deep in God in your own walk with Him. I don’t think I or you will ever find a church that meets ever one of your desires, so thank God where he has led you and be the answers to your own prayers instead of expecting one man or staff of people to do and be everything. Some people complain about things that they themselves are actually supposed to be the solution to the issue they are perceiving.

In closing, YES I WANT TO SEE LOCAL CHURCHES RELEASING MORE TIME FOR THE MOVING OF SPONTANEOUS WORSHIP AND THE SELAH. But until they do, instead of whine and complain, I am going to flow with where things are at, be part of helping these things take place in honor, and walk in the full depths that God has for me in my personal walk with him.

Again, all this is deeper than a blog post can make it, but those are some thoughts for today. Talk to you next time… Jason

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11 Responses to “An Answer To Why You Might Be Frustrated With Worship At Your Church”

  1. Your statement: “Some people complain about things that they themselves are actually supposed to be the solution to the issue they are preceiving. Speaking from experience….not a truer statement can be made regarding those who are called to be a part of the solution. My family and I have been called upon by God on many occasions to do this very thing. He uses us as a wrench in the Body of Christ…..to tighten the things that are loose and loosen the things that are too tight.

    We were once called to a church and KNEW we were to be there and join that congregation. However, every time the worship started up…..we wanted to run! It was like you were at a honkey tonk bar. The worship team took a smoke break after their “set”. The leadership had put these people in place thinking it would keep them coming if they gave them something to do. Since they could play instruments (like they did in their bar band), they played instruments in church. None of them had ever experienced God in worship or knew the difference between playing an instrument and worshipping.

    But we were called to stay and not to leave. Stay we did, pray we did…..and we had great favor with the pastors who asked us what we thought about things at church. God gave us gracious words and ways to lead the church to learn to worship. Unfortunately, the “band” left because they couldn’t figure out what was happening and weren’t too anxious to find out, or give up their porn and various other vises.

    But God brought worship to this church through our humility and submission.

  2. Ann-Marie Heilman Says:

    I truly appreciate the way you honor God and leadership. The way you explain things really helps me lean into God and walk in love, rather than rebel and walk in offense – that is SO powerful! THANK YOU

  3. I so needed to read this. As a former children’s choir and worship director, I am more than frustrated about our new young worship leader. I am even more frustrated that he doesn’t use me as a tool to learn or as a soloist and takes all the leads. I am concerned he feels like this is an opportunity to be a Christian rock star. I’m also frustrated because aside from myself and another woman our “singers” are not singers and we have someone that is married to the “drummer” and wanted to sing the problem is she is tone deaf. Our sound techs are volunteers and are learning the board but do not have an ear for the job. My pastor says not to gift project. Am I being proud or arrogant or do I desire something better from our team? I believe it’s a little bit of both. However, if I spent more personal time with Lord in scripture reading and in worship, perhaps my prejudice and other issues would diminish. Last Sunday I was so engulfed in worship like I never was before, suddenly I heard a woman similiar to mine but not quite, singing extremely loud, I mean LOUD! I had such a hard time focusing. As a singer I have to hear my voice and in all honesty I like to hear my voice. My joy and focus became frustration and anger. I felt this mystery voice was competeing with me. As I thought about it I was puzzled to my very strong reaction. What do I care if this mystery woman sounds like a megaphone, how do I know it’s not a sister belting it out because she is moved by the holy spirit. I am more concerned about my attitude with our bands and this experience. I CAN NOT have this stinky attitude and perspective. Please pray for me brothers and sisters. GIve me some Godly advice.

    • This is how I feel about church… The more time I spend with God personally, the less I seem to care about how the 30 minute worship service goes once a week. If you are not in a position right now to make any changes, then I would continue to pray that GOD’S AGENDA would be made manifest. In the meantime, pursue HIM outside of the context of the local gathering.

      I also really recommend my book to you. I wrote the book after many of these blog posts that you find here and there is a real wealth of information and encouragement there that I will never replicate here on the blog.

      To order visit http://www.thepotentialofgodspresence.com – You will find an entire book outline that reveals every single issue I deal with in the book. – Blessings, Jason Heilman

  4. What if you’re in a church where the worship leader is the pastor’s sister, she is very proud of herself, and your pastor allows her to unskillfully control the service & limit the church? I’ve heard it said that someone cannot lead others where they’ve never been. This seems to be the case.

    For the second time in the past few weeks, my pastor is right now preaching out of 1 Corinthians 12 and gifts. He’s preaching about how we are all given gifts and how God wants us to use and faithfully cultivate them.

    I came to this church beginning one year ago and one of the first Sunday school classes my wife & I attended, the teacher (who happened to be the pastor’s mother) had everyone fill out a card with a piece of information that would surprise everyone to know about you. On my card was written that i have played saxophone for more than 30 years. When she read it, she and everyone else said that person should be in the worship team. Everybody except the worship “leader”, that is.

    I guess someone else I knew must have told her that i play because she turned to me and said, “that’s you, isn’t it?” I just smiled at her. A snide spirit came over her (surely not God) and said, “well, we don’t do saxophone here, but ok.”

    Did i mention that the worship “leader” is the pastor’s sister? That nearly all leadership at this church is part of the pastor’s immediate family?

    He met with my wife and me at a restaurant last October so he could get to know us better. He asked us what we wanted to do and where we could see ourselves fitting in the body at this church. Not having mentioned anything whatever about the experience with his sister, i told him that I’ve always been involved in music ministry and have played saxophone for more than 30 years. He immediately chuckled and said, “Rachel’s not gonna let you play saxophone up there.” It’s not even like i was asking permission or anything! His response blew us away and made me wonder who was really in charge at the church. I’m pretty good at letting things roll off my back and in hoping to see what God has in store, so we continued to attend the church because we believed God would either change their hearts or ours and we would figure it all out, in His plan for us.

    I think today is the last day i will tithe to that church and it is the last day to persevere and attempt to become an active accepted member.

    • Dennis, I really hope you see my reply. Please let me know that you did by replying to my reply…

      Every situation is unique… What’s funny is, I actually had a sax player on one of my teams before… I consider the sax not to be a lead instrument, but one that can choicefully be integrated… I think a lot of current worship leaders simply don’t consider the sax an instrument to even include…

      There are so many things I could say, regarding modern worship etc… I think we are missing a lot of things and a lot of expressions… But is the local church THE ONLY PLACE to look to express and be released in our gifts…

      You have to know that you are called to this church REGARDLESS of if you are allowed to play your sax from the stage… Your called to the church primarily as a place to develop relationships… If you are not forming good healthy relationships there, then I would say to move on without even bringing the worship team into the convo…

      About the worship leader not allowing sax, honestly it is really her decision… Just because you are there and have a gift does not mean that you are automatically going to be on stage doing your thing…

      We can’t allow the church to be the place that validates our callings and gifts… Our calling and gifting is BIGGER than just one modern expression of the local church…

      I’ve been in churches that highly valued my incredible talent and gifts and I’ve been in churches that patronized me and treated my like I had not travelled the world for 15 years… Local churches have specific mold and if you don’t fit in to those, you have to decide if that place is right for you or not…

      If I was you, I’d ask God if that church is right for you solely based on relationship… If finding the right church for you is based upon them letting you play sax, then you need to adjust the purpose for what church is all about… This is my opinion.

      I hop this helps – Jason

      • I appreciate your quick reply, brother. It’s not about me and it’s not about playing my saxophone – it’s about the proud attitude of someone who cannot lead where she obviously has never been and her ease in cutting off and being closed on another believer (or even if/especially if i weren’t). Is this attitude an attribute of Christ and is this really how the leadership of a church should be toward anyone?

        Worship service at this church has been the most frustrating time i have ever had at any church in my life. Her brother (pastor) swapped with her on Wednesdays for the month of July – he led worship with his guitar and she taught. It was so vastly different because he seemed to know the simplest rules of humility and song progression and knowing where the people are in their worship.

        After his first go at it, his sister made a comment about how he allowed worship to go more than her allotted 12 minutes, and hearing her say that (even if it was just as a joke) absolutely made me open my eyes to the agenda, as it stabbed me in the chest.

        Have you ever been in a worship song such as Holy Spirit, You are welcome here, (exact example) and the leader suddenly leaving everyone else to sing the melody so she could inject her false vibrato and make her voice otherwise go counter-melody, completely destroying the deep meaning of the song? So out of touch. There is a time to perform, but when one is supposed to be leading with a humble heart before God, that is not the time to do it!

        Not only that, but going from a worship song that’s supposed to be all directed toward Him, then following with a foot-stomping song in which you describe what you’re going to do? I was taught in worship classes – and am sure it is correct – that you should never ever go from focusing on the King in worship and then draw back and focus on yourselves or anything else. Once you’re headed to the Holy of Holies, don’t stop! Keep going. Keep pressing in. It’s where it’s all about Him and people get personal in their worship to Him that He can move on & in His people. That’s where people change. That’s where healing takes place. That’s where revival takes place.

        I worship at home very often and i long so much to bring that to church with me and to see the congregation go where they’ve never been led to, before. One cannot lead the congregation somewhere she has never been, herself. God is seeking worshippers and they that worship must worship Him in spirit and in truth.

        So, I’m gonna kiss my frustrations goodbye and look for a leader who leads God’s people into His presence; a leader who seeks His face and wants to bring others ever closer to the King of Kings. At His feet is all we could ever need..

      • Dennis, yes… I agree you need to move on… Sometimes we are led somewhere to make a difference… But it sounds like this is not one of those times… Jason

    • I feel like you passed a test… 😉

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