Why I’m not going to PlanetShakers concert again?
I went to Planetshakers, 5 years ago. I decided I had to go, i knew then that i needed an “encounter” with God (again), so I secured a ticket. Couple of minutes into the concert, I realized I was really having a good time, the seats were full and people were so loud and lively. Yet as I looked back, it wasn’t what I expected it to be. After all, it’s a “concert” from a mainstream contemporary Christian music band.
Years later, as I have grown deeper in my walk with the Lord, by His grace alone, it’s nothing short of an encounter but a short-lived, range of emotions resulting from singing, jumping, much crying and shouting, sometimes even all at the same time. It was indeed an “intense” experience, for everyone there. The band was giving their all, as if they’re not getting tired on stage, all hands up in the air, the loudest crowd I have ever been to.
Yet what intrigued me was when one of the members started to do freestyle, playing tricks on his electric guitar while the spotlight was focused on him alone, stage went dark for a bit, lasting for a couple of minutes while the people kept on cheering him on, shouting and applauding relentlessly from every corner as the sound amplified. This guy must be really famous, I supposed. It was a number that’s part of the set, meant to display something else, to give him glory, to a certain degree to say the least. I knew something’s wrong, and I cant blame anyone else, as I had no idea what I got myself into. It was the music, the lights, the vibe and hype it brings to its audience. It’s subtle.
We tend to be pragmatic, even in our worship, it’s manipulative and cathartic; like we need an encounter, besides as the saying goes, “victory is in your praise (not in Christ!)”, and “when praises go up, blessings come down”, these seemed to be the theme of CCM and a few pentecostal churches.
It shifts the focus from the One who alone deserves it, to having an encounter because we think worship is meant to hype us, to get us on high emotions and to get something out from God, not get God Himself.
Worship is not about us, it is about Him. Worship is not measured by how high we jump, how loud we shout or maybe cry. Worship is not about our feelings or drive, it is never about us. Worship is nothing less than how we are outside, then how we do inside that auditorium.
I don't know about you or your motives for coming, but when our goal for worship is not God but to feel good about ourselves and boost our fleeting emotions, then the goal is wrong. Genuine worship is not a one-time act, it is our life surrendered to His will.
Music is not the fuel, but God’s living and active words. In worship, our goal is God, nothing else.
As J.C Ryle puts it, “We need to beware of religious excitement causing people to feel a temporary attraction to the Lord. After a little while they can fall back, and then are harder and worse than before. Let us urge everyone who shows a new interest in Christianity to be content with nothing short of a deep sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.”
“The foundation of worship in the heart is not emotional, it is theological.” (Ferguson) Besides the heart cannot love what the mind doesn't know. Worship is Word-oriented.
I have nothing against anyone trying to come, and I do hope God will draw you to Himself as you do encounter Him, each day, by His grace. And by the same grace He freely gives to us, can we then examine everything; holding fast to that which is good.
(1 Thessalonians 5:21)
NOTE: This is NOT to disregard emotions at all. Emotions and our senses are valid and are given to us from God, to feel and process stimuli. We are not completely devoid of emotion especially in worship, but there is a difference between hyper emotions brought about by intense feelings and emotionally-driven atmospheres. The claims here maybe personal, but it is not uncommon to some who have observed and testified themselves regarding its subtle influence and attraction, and this can be sinister.
"Australian Pastor Graham West, formerly associated with pop says, “Once you begin listening to soft rock, you begin sliding down that slippery slope to the more aggressive forms of rock…” hymns will seem dull in comparison to your newly acquired tastes. It’s a progression I’ve seen over and over again in the lives of Christians. It’s a downward spiral. It happens in the lives of individuals; it happens in the lives of families; it happens in the lives of churches."
"CCM acts within that atmosphere as a powerful transformational agent to carry the congregation far from its original principles."
- David Cloud
Lead Image was Taken from Unsplash