Years ago, I used to play locally with a Christian rock band. At our pinnacle, we were working on a DIY album, playing regularly at a coffee/tea house in the city, and often playing revivals. It was awesome because not only were we playing worship songs, but we were writing our own music, as well. The first revival we played; however, was a turning point in my worship life & my walk with Christ.
I remember it being the 1st or 2nd night of a 3 day revival, and this particular night, we weren’t playing for the alter call (ya know… that part at the end where people are urged to come forward if they don’t know Jesus… it’s actually pretty serious stuff.) The preacher was doing his thing and fixing to wrap up his sermon when…out of his mouth comes words I don’t quite recognize. Uh… what? It happens again… and again… fluid in and out of his sermon as if it were Spanglish. Then it hit me… “Oh no. I’m in one of THOSE churches” I said to myself, then a naive innocent Methodist teenager…. deer in the headlights, “My whole BAND except me is Church of God!”
I was already weirded out, but what happened next I wasn’t prepared for. They began the part of the service where they go about and lay hands on different people to be slain in the Spirit – something I had never been exposed to…and here I am, stuck in the front row because I thought we were gonna get up and play music again! So, people all around me are get hands laid on them and are being slain in the Spirit – People around me are literally falling to the ground & shaking for seriously a long time. Inevitably, they make their way to me, an 18 year old guitar player with hair down to his butt; of course I look like a heathen. They lay their hands upon my head- them: expecting something to happen – me: expecting nothing to happen. They’re yelling at me “Do you believe in Jesus” because they’re in the Spirit, I’m yelling back “Yes! I believe in Jesus’ because I was angry & offended. This went on for a little bit…at which point, ashamedly from my own ignorance, I fell over on to the ground..more or less to get them to leave me alone. “This will shut ’em up” I thought to myself.
If my memory serves me correctly, 1 or 2 people stayed over me with their hands on me for a minute or two before they moved on to pray for someone else. “A ha! My plan worked!” But, honestly, I felt kinda empty. Part of me felt like I was going to hell for this, but still, I wanted to know more.
I got up and hung out for the rest of the service… and I couldn’t do much or go anywhere.. our bassist was still slain in the Spirit on the ground for a while even after the service was over. A few days later, I had a conversation with our lead-singer about the service and what was going on – which made me feel better about what I was experiencing, even if it was still a little different for me.
What I learned was that everyone worships God their own way, with their own voice, in their own personal walk – but what matters is the heart of that worship. Not for show, but to & for God alone. With this knowledge, I must say I’ve seen some amazing things in worship. I had never seen little children lay hands on other children, people laying the ground shaking, and even experiencing the bones in my own fingers seemingly pop when raising my hands in the air during worship. Simply put, we can’t let ourselves get offended when the weird & uncomfortable happen in worship. This is the King of Kings we’re dealing with!
When you’re worshiping, you are a 100 watt human plugging into a 999,999,999,999,999,999…ad infinitum watt God.
… something’s gonna blow up.
Go visit other churches! Visit revivals, house churches, & outreaches! Worship should not be confined the one’s own experience, but enriched with the experience of others in worship.
- I Hate Your Worship Music (konnerdudley.com)