but the folly of fools is deception. Proverbs 14:8, NIV
I was the guest leader at a small church for morning worship recently. I led the worship songs, directed the choir, and encouraged the worship leaders and members to make worship their lifestyle. The accompaniment to the worship songs was the pianist and a lone guitarist sitting beside the unused electronic organ. As I led the songs, I noticed that the pianist was struggling, but the guitarist was fairly adept at accompanying. His guitar amp was sitting on top of the organ facing the congregation, but I could hardly hear him. After the service, I complimented the guitarist and suggested that he turn up the volume so as to be a more effective accompanist. I also wanted to suggest that he place his guitar amp behind him so that he could hear himself better. As we talked I noticed that he appeared to be hard of hearing. After a few words he reached to his ears and pulled out a wad of tissue from each ear.
Grinning at him, I asked: “Why did you have those in your ears?”
“Well,” he said very seriously, “our pianist went to hear the Gaither Vocal Band and she told me they had these things in their ears to help them hear, so I started putting these wads of tissue in my ears each Sunday, and it really helps!”
Obviously, the electronic in-ear monitors the professionals use are not the same as wads of tissue stuck in your ears. I tried to explain this to him but soon gave up.
Like the fellow with the tissue in his ears, we don’t know what we don’t know. If I asked you, “What is the most important thing right now that you do not know,” of course, you would say, “I don’t know.” Why? Because we don’t know what we don’t know.
If someone we respect tells us something, then we assume it is true. We have no real reason to doubt because it seems right to our way of thinking. Once we try it, and it seems to work, we continue to do it. We may grow up hearing a half-truth all our lives, but because everyone is telling us and it seems to be working, we believe it. So we sometimes foolishly live in deception because we just don’t know what we don’t know. Someone has said, “One thing we learn from history is that we seldom learn from history.”
So if we as worshipers and worship leaders really want to be a part of the solution, we must find out what we don’t know.
- Do you want to help prevent our Church Train from the landslide looming in the distance?
- Will you accept as truth the statistics of church decline and resolve to do something about it?
It demands a long, hard look at ourselves on three levels.
- First, we must discover how we got here. Knowing the track we are locked into will help us know how to build an alternate track to our original destination.
- Second, we must rediscover the essence of true worship to see how it can power our train back to our original destination.
- Third, we must take a hard look at our worship, comparing it to God’s standard to identify idolatry hidden within.
Without this honest appraisal, our Church Train will continue its mad rush toward the crash. Stay tuned as we begin to explore how we got here.
Are you courageous enough to join me in this journey? Do you care enough to invite someone to join you on this journey (share the link to this blog)? What could it mean to your church to lead them to join us in this journey? – Mark Powers