There are two schools of thought when it comes to what the music portion of a Sunday service should be like in terms of engaging people who are in the worship space but don’t yet believe in Christ. (By the way, we hope and pray we have many such people each week.)
One approach says that praise and worship should be brief with an emphasis on the excellence of the band. Since most people who don’t yet believe in Christ feel awkward while singing, congregational participation is a low priority.
The second approach recognizes that worship is a gift to God from people who believe. Therefore, there is a high value on participation, movement, and expression. Even if searching people think such expressiveness is a bit weird, it’s still worth it.
At Good Shepherd we’ve opted for the second approach.
But get this: I think such honesty is more evangelistic. Here’s why: when people who are unsure of the faith see Jesus’ followers caught up in worship, when they hear “shout outs” to the Lord, when they find their own hands raised in praise in spite of themselves, then they know they are in the presence of Someone supernatural. They are more likely to believe.
We’ve recently had an outpouring of exuberant worship, especially at our 11:30 gathering. Am I worried that more claps, more shout outs, and more hand raising will somehow alienate new people?
It will bring more in.
So bring it on, all you Without Limit worshippers.