Did you know that according to a poll conducted in the Worship Journal (an online Christian music resource), a staggering 27% of musicians, worship leaders and incredibly – ministers of the Word of God, thought it’s ok to have non-christians playing in worship bands?

“You introduced strangers, uncircumcised of heart, to be in my sanctuary to pollute it, even My house! You broke My covenant with all your abominations. You placed keepers in My house for yourselves…because they ministered unto them before their idols and were a stumbling block of iniquity unto the house of Israel. Therefore I have lifted up mine hand against them says the LORD, and they shall bear their iniquity. They shall not approach to Me…they shall bear their disgrace”.  Ezekiel 44:7-13

Would we be happy with a man who would be a pastor preaching the gospel and yet, does not believe? Why the exception to the rule for musicians? It certainly has the aroma of deception to me.

God is not deaf! I say this because of recent experiences. I am not convinced that by ramping up the volume to airport levels during a worship event is going to get the Spirit of God to move any more powerfully. All we are doing is whipping up an emotional response to the moment – this is a strong thing to say but that’s exactly how the prophets of Baal tried to invoke his presence at the challenge laid down by Elijah on the mount. I will tell you this for nothing: A forced and engineered emotional response of the people to both words and music especially not only is downright wrong, but stands in the way of the Spirit: You cannot invoke the Holy Spirit that way! We are not shamans! He actually desires fellowship with us; all we have to do is let Him in amongst us. Obvious, isn’t it?

The last King’s Church service was extended with extra worship at the end. During this time, myself and Camille (my co-worship leader..and I couldn’t ask for a better one – God bless you, C) were moving into inspired playing and singing. Part of a new song was born (captured on a recording to be placed on both the CBF and KC site soon). Bob, our minister-in-charge, remarked that he almost fell backward through the chairs because of the weight of glory upon him. A non-christian lady said she felt a similar experience. And yet, we were playing so quietly and serenely!

Noone was screaming “Hallelujah!” or “Praise The Lord” or filling the ears with speaking in tongues at eardrum rattling levels…it was truly an encounter in the stillness of the moment. Why is it that we seem to think that when the presence of God becomes tangible, ministers or musicians or whatever have just GOT to get up and interject with something? What can possibly be said or done that can improve on what God is doing or as is usually the case, about to do?

Myself and Camille were leading worship at some place a while ago for an African assembly – can’t remember where – and the worship was getting thicker and more intense by way of Holy Ghost presence…not volume or speed. It was becoming beautiful with everyone in the room adoring Him. Something amazing was going to happen! Then suddenly, “PRAISE THE LORD!”, boomed a guy at the front who’d got hold of the cordless mike at top volume (actually it sounded like “prerz de lard”, but there you go). “PRERZ DE LARD!” again! I looked at Camille and we spotted a guy walking slowly to the front. What was going on?

He made his way to the front…”prerz de lard”….he got onto the stage…”prerz de lard”….moving to the middle…”allaylooyer”…he was saying, drowning out both the music and 130 people. We damped the volume down in anticipation of something awesome and profound that this old man of God was going to say. Is this the pinnacle of our encounter of God, I thought?

…Nope. Nothing. Just rhetoric. Sorry, but that was all it was! The worship had been hijacked! Myself and Camille actually felt something leave the room at that point. Whatever God was going to do or wherever He was taking us was not going to happen now; this man of God – overcome by a desire to take charge – took it right out of God’s hands. Why do we do it?

I understand why people – especially ministers of the Gospel – get excited and feel that they have to ‘minister’. But surely, our job jointly is to lead people into the presence of God and then leave it at that? There was never any hullabaloo at the mercy seat as I recall. Maybe one day, we should usher people into His Holy presence and just let God minister. I’m sure He’s quite capable of addressing people’s needs all by Himself. You never know, we might surprise ourselves.