Worship Mythbusters: “worship culture” – A new buzzword full of myths!

Often we hook on to buzzwords in church leadership circles and the newest and latest is creating a “worship culture” which could mean anything, right? What is culture? What is worship? These are hugely broad terms. To provide clarity and sanity for others, and myself here is an attempt at defining what this is code for then to offer some hope as to what it should be.

MYTHS: Creating a worship culture is…

  • Doing the latest music, and looking and sounding like the stage at Catalyst Conference or a Hillsong United stadium event.
  • Having everyone jump up and down and sing louder and sound like the multiple room microphones on a Passion recording.
  • Use of tap delay guitar riffs and so forth…
  • Doing modern worship AND having the older members cheer you on!
  • Having everyone brag about their “God encounter” at your church meetings.

Well, admittedly the above is a bit of hyperbole with the point being that sometimes phrases like “creating a worship culture” are thrown around to charge the worship leader or creative arts leader in the church with overnight rocking the socks off the people with amazing worship—whatever that means.

Somehow, there has to be a reality as to what creating a worship culture might be. Here is a my minor crack at that. A good worship culture…

  • Crafts a biblical and indigenous language about expressing worship: What are “worship” services supposed to do? Answer this and you earn a prize!
  • Models characteristics of a worshiper: It is not just about the production. Its about things that last beyond the weekend.
  • Reaches inter-generationally: Its not about “style of music” its about relationships and intentionality of building bridges.
  • Expresses originality: You can be a cover band or you can use your music, media and other creative elements to tell your unique story.
  • Values worship Monday through Saturday as much as Sunday: This means that a local church should want people to grow every day and worship everyday, not just when the tunes begin.

There are more myths and good points to a worship culture. Can you tell me which ones you like or do not like or offer you own?

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Rich Kirkpatrick

Rich Kirkpatrick

Writer, Speaker, and Musician. Rich Kirkpatrick was recently rated #13 of the “Top 75 Religion Bloggers” by Newsmax.com, having also received recognition by Worship Leader Magazine as “Editor’s Choice” for the “Best of the Best” of blogs in 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

25 comments

  1. I think if someones view of a worship culture consists of the first portion of this post that is a very skewed vision of a worship culture. What you described above more closely resembles the entertainment world, however unfortunately sometimes the local church becomes more caught up in entertaining their congregants than actually leading them into a worship experience. When I hear the term”Worship Culture” it is important to start at the beginning. We were created to worship God and to have a relationship with him. Scripture tells us that we are to worship God in our lifestyles. Worship actually has little to do with music. Music is merely one expression of worship just as going to work and doing your job well and loving others is an expression of worship. Worship has more to do with the heart than how we physically express it. When we understand what God’s intent for worship is, we can then look at how we apply it. As the TFHstudents Worship Director @tfhny I have a goal of creating a worship culture, first in each of my teams, and then among the congregation. The musicians on my team should be seeking God diligently. We should pray without ceasing. We should delight in His law. When we have that basis for our relationship with Christ, only then can we learn how to truly worship Him out of an overflow of our hearts. As lead worshippers we need to live lives that are above reproach. While all things are permissible, we realize that not all things are beneficial to us. When we are walking in righteousness, then we can create authentic praise and worship. I encourage my teams to listen to worship music, and to study the lyrics and see where they come from in scripture. They shouldn’t be playing a song simply because that’s what I tell them to play. They should believe and live what they are playing. I realize I’ve written quite a lot here but I am very passionate about creating a worship culture in my teams. There is still so much I have to learn, and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for my teams.

    Mitch

    1. Mitch, thanks for your comment. If creating a worship culture is not about music, then whose job in the church is this? Is it just a worship leader’s role or is this something the pastor and leadership has to engage in and support, too?

      1. I believe it is partially the worship leader’s job, partially the pastor’s job, but ultimately the responsibility of each individual. All of the church staff should be leading a lifestyle of worship, because worship should be a part of our lives as followers Christ. I might even go so far as to say that worship is our purpose. As leaders it is our responsibility to assist people in their journey to become worshippers, but in the end if they do not own their faith, if they do not own their walk, they will never become authentic worshippers.

        1. Good thoughts Mitch.
          We still have to address the “worship” defined as our corporate expression. After all, that is pretty important. Yes, defining worship as discipleship (or followership of Jesus) is a good thing to do. However, we have a meeting each week to define in that context. Worship leaders are responsible for leading a huge portion of that meeting. So, what we actually do on the the platform is important to bring clarity to it because that is what our people will use to define much of their weekly personal walk.

  2. I think if someones view of a worship culture consists of the first portion of this post that is a very skewed vision of a worship culture. What you described above more closely resembles the entertainment world, however unfortunately sometimes the local church becomes more caught up in entertaining their congregants than actually leading them into a worship experience. When I hear the term”Worship Culture” it is important to start at the beginning. We were created to worship God and to have a relationship with him. Scripture tells us that we are to worship God in our lifestyles. Worship actually has little to do with music. Music is merely one expression of worship just as going to work and doing your job well and loving others is an expression of worship. Worship has more to do with the heart than how we physically express it. When we understand what God’s intent for worship is, we can then look at how we apply it. As the TFHstudents Worship Director @tfhny I have a goal of creating a worship culture, first in each of my teams, and then among the congregation. The musicians on my team should be seeking God diligently. We should pray without ceasing. We should delight in His law. When we have that basis for our relationship with Christ, only then can we learn how to truly worship Him out of an overflow of our hearts. As lead worshippers we need to live lives that are above reproach. While all things are permissible, we realize that not all things are beneficial to us. When we are walking in righteousness, then we can create authentic praise and worship. I encourage my teams to listen to worship music, and to study the lyrics and see where they come from in scripture. They shouldn’t be playing a song simply because that’s what I tell them to play. They should believe and live what they are playing. I realize I’ve written quite a lot here but I am very passionate about creating a worship culture in my teams. There is still so much I have to learn, and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for my teams.
    Mitch

    1. Mitch, thanks for your comment. If creating a worship culture is not about music, then whose job in the church is this? Is it just a worship leader’s role or is this something the pastor and leadership has to engage in and support, too?

      1. I believe it is partially the worship leader’s job, partially the pastor’s job, but ultimately the responsibility of each individual. All of the church staff should be leading a lifestyle of worship, because worship should be a part of our lives as followers Christ. I might even go so far as to say that worship is our purpose. As leaders it is our responsibility to assist people in their journey to become worshippers, but in the end if they do not own their faith, if they do not own their walk, they will never become authentic worshippers.

        1. Good thoughts Mitch.
          We still have to address the “worship” defined as our corporate expression. After all, that is pretty important. Yes, defining worship as discipleship (or followership of Jesus) is a good thing to do. However, we have a meeting each week to define in that context. Worship leaders are responsible for leading a huge portion of that meeting. So, what we actually do on the the platform is important to bring clarity to it because that is what our people will use to define much of their weekly personal walk.

  3. I think if someones view of a worship culture consists of the first portion of this post that is a very skewed vision of a worship culture. What you described above more closely resembles the entertainment world, however unfortunately sometimes the local church becomes more caught up in entertaining their congregants than actually leading them into a worship experience. When I hear the term”Worship Culture” it is important to start at the beginning. We were created to worship God and to have a relationship with him. Scripture tells us that we are to worship God in our lifestyles. Worship actually has little to do with music. Music is merely one expression of worship just as going to work and doing your job well and loving others is an expression of worship. Worship has more to do with the heart than how we physically express it. When we understand what God’s intent for worship is, we can then look at how we apply it. As the TFHstudents Worship Director @tfhny I have a goal of creating a worship culture, first in each of my teams, and then among the congregation. The musicians on my team should be seeking God diligently. We should pray without ceasing. We should delight in His law. When we have that basis for our relationship with Christ, only then can we learn how to truly worship Him out of an overflow of our hearts. As lead worshippers we need to live lives that are above reproach. While all things are permissible, we realize that not all things are beneficial to us. When we are walking in righteousness, then we can create authentic praise and worship. I encourage my teams to listen to worship music, and to study the lyrics and see where they come from in scripture. They shouldn’t be playing a song simply because that’s what I tell them to play. They should believe and live what they are playing. I realize I’ve written quite a lot here but I am very passionate about creating a worship culture in my teams. There is still so much I have to learn, and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for my teams.

    Mitch

    1. Mitch, thanks for your comment. If creating a worship culture is not about music, then whose job in the church is this? Is it just a worship leader’s role or is this something the pastor and leadership has to engage in and support, too?

      1. I believe it is partially the worship leader’s job, partially the pastor’s job, but ultimately the responsibility of each individual. All of the church staff should be leading a lifestyle of worship, because worship should be a part of our lives as followers Christ. I might even go so far as to say that worship is our purpose. As leaders it is our responsibility to assist people in their journey to become worshippers, but in the end if they do not own their faith, if they do not own their walk, they will never become authentic worshippers.

        1. Good thoughts Mitch.
          We still have to address the “worship” defined as our corporate expression. After all, that is pretty important. Yes, defining worship as discipleship (or followership of Jesus) is a good thing to do. However, we have a meeting each week to define in that context. Worship leaders are responsible for leading a huge portion of that meeting. So, what we actually do on the the platform is important to bring clarity to it because that is what our people will use to define much of their weekly personal walk.

  4. I think if someones view of a worship culture consists of the first portion of this post that is a very skewed vision of a worship culture. What you described above more closely resembles the entertainment world, however unfortunately sometimes the local church becomes more caught up in entertaining their congregants than actually leading them into a worship experience. When I hear the term”Worship Culture” it is important to start at the beginning. We were created to worship God and to have a relationship with him. Scripture tells us that we are to worship God in our lifestyles. Worship actually has little to do with music. Music is merely one expression of worship just as going to work and doing your job well and loving others is an expression of worship. Worship has more to do with the heart than how we physically express it. When we understand what God’s intent for worship is, we can then look at how we apply it. As the TFHstudents Worship Director @tfhny I have a goal of creating a worship culture, first in each of my teams, and then among the congregation. The musicians on my team should be seeking God diligently. We should pray without ceasing. We should delight in His law. When we have that basis for our relationship with Christ, only then can we learn how to truly worship Him out of an overflow of our hearts. As lead worshippers we need to live lives that are above reproach. While all things are permissible, we realize that not all things are beneficial to us. When we are walking in righteousness, then we can create authentic praise and worship. I encourage my teams to listen to worship music, and to study the lyrics and see where they come from in scripture. They shouldn’t be playing a song simply because that’s what I tell them to play. They should believe and live what they are playing. I realize I’ve written quite a lot here but I am very passionate about creating a worship culture in my teams. There is still so much I have to learn, and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for my teams.

    Mitch

    1. Mitch, thanks for your comment. If creating a worship culture is not about music, then whose job in the church is this? Is it just a worship leader’s role or is this something the pastor and leadership has to engage in and support, too?

      1. I believe it is partially the worship leader’s job, partially the pastor’s job, but ultimately the responsibility of each individual. All of the church staff should be leading a lifestyle of worship, because worship should be a part of our lives as followers Christ. I might even go so far as to say that worship is our purpose. As leaders it is our responsibility to assist people in their journey to become worshippers, but in the end if they do not own their faith, if they do not own their walk, they will never become authentic worshippers.

        1. Good thoughts Mitch.
          We still have to address the “worship” defined as our corporate expression. After all, that is pretty important. Yes, defining worship as discipleship (or followership of Jesus) is a good thing to do. However, we have a meeting each week to define in that context. Worship leaders are responsible for leading a huge portion of that meeting. So, what we actually do on the the platform is important to bring clarity to it because that is what our people will use to define much of their weekly personal walk.

  5. I think if someones view of a worship culture consists of the first portion of this post that is a very skewed vision of a worship culture. What you described above more closely resembles the entertainment world, however unfortunately sometimes the local church becomes more caught up in entertaining their congregants than actually leading them into a worship experience. When I hear the term”Worship Culture” it is important to start at the beginning. We were created to worship God and to have a relationship with him. Scripture tells us that we are to worship God in our lifestyles. Worship actually has little to do with music. Music is merely one expression of worship just as going to work and doing your job well and loving others is an expression of worship. Worship has more to do with the heart than how we physically express it. When we understand what God’s intent for worship is, we can then look at how we apply it. As the TFHstudents Worship Director @tfhny I have a goal of creating a worship culture, first in each of my teams, and then among the congregation. The musicians on my team should be seeking God diligently. We should pray without ceasing. We should delight in His law. When we have that basis for our relationship with Christ, only then can we learn how to truly worship Him out of an overflow of our hearts. As lead worshippers we need to live lives that are above reproach. While all things are permissible, we realize that not all things are beneficial to us. When we are walking in righteousness, then we can create authentic praise and worship. I encourage my teams to listen to worship music, and to study the lyrics and see where they come from in scripture. They shouldn’t be playing a song simply because that’s what I tell them to play. They should believe and live what they are playing. I realize I’ve written quite a lot here but I am very passionate about creating a worship culture in my teams. There is still so much I have to learn, and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for my teams.

    Mitch

    1. Mitch, thanks for your comment. If creating a worship culture is not about music, then whose job in the church is this? Is it just a worship leader’s role or is this something the pastor and leadership has to engage in and support, too?

      1. I believe it is partially the worship leader’s job, partially the pastor’s job, but ultimately the responsibility of each individual. All of the church staff should be leading a lifestyle of worship, because worship should be a part of our lives as followers Christ. I might even go so far as to say that worship is our purpose. As leaders it is our responsibility to assist people in their journey to become worshippers, but in the end if they do not own their faith, if they do not own their walk, they will never become authentic worshippers.

        1. Good thoughts Mitch.
          We still have to address the “worship” defined as our corporate expression. After all, that is pretty important. Yes, defining worship as discipleship (or followership of Jesus) is a good thing to do. However, we have a meeting each week to define in that context. Worship leaders are responsible for leading a huge portion of that meeting. So, what we actually do on the the platform is important to bring clarity to it because that is what our people will use to define much of their weekly personal walk.

  6. I see what you’re saying Rich. I guess it’s the worship leader’s responsibility to always be growing. He/she cannot lead their congregation somewhere they have not been themselves. It is also important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your congregation.

  7. I see what you’re saying Rich. I guess it’s the worship leader’s responsibility to always be growing. He/she cannot lead their congregation somewhere they have not been themselves. It is also important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your congregation.

  8. I see what you’re saying Rich. I guess it’s the worship leader’s responsibility to always be growing. He/she cannot lead their congregation somewhere they have not been themselves. It is also important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your congregation.

  9. I see what you’re saying Rich. I guess it’s the worship leader’s responsibility to always be growing. He/she cannot lead their congregation somewhere they have not been themselves. It is also important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your congregation.

  10. I see what you’re saying Rich. I guess it’s the worship leader’s responsibility to always be growing. He/she cannot lead their congregation somewhere they have not been themselves. It is also important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your congregation.

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