This post is directed to those who are responsible for leading congregations/public gatherings into the presence of God. (This includes church leadership.) "Praise" and "Worship" as mentioned in this post refers to that time and medium employed during a public gathering in which folks gather corporately to draw closer to God.
So is your worship really worship? True worship is hunger for God. God didn't make it complicated! Hunger for God is simply a strong desire to be as close to Him as possible. His Spirit in us and upon us makes it supernaturally possible for us to get as close to Him as we're willing to. It is His Spirit that generates our own hunger for Him; our desire to be near Him. "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:24)
Without hunger for God our worship is at best a polished performance. I'm a musician, and if you are like me, good performance, great talent, and high proficiency can be very impressive. And sometimes the line between impressive and authentic can be clouded. However, the more hunger one has, the more genuine their worship. True worship is what affects others as it revealed as authentic, not impressive.
Over the past 5 and a half years Connie and I have visited numerous churches. In very few have we found a simple hunger for God. This is not to be critical, but to point out the need for our worship to be worship. Listen to me carefully. The greatest attraction to your church is Jesus. After all, it's about Him. It is not about music style. It is not about the content of your set-list. It's not about the talent. It's not about the proficiency of your team members. It is ALL about Jesus....and hunger for Him. When people hunger for Him, He comes and changes lives. I fear this eternal concept is too simple for some who are convinced that true worship success depends solely on the methods and procedures.
Let me propose a test for you. This may sound a bit ridiculous in this day and time, but hear me out. Take some time and take your worship team into a room with no instruments, no sound system, no overhead monitors, no smoke, and no flashing lights. Worship God there. Not individually but corporately. Not prayer, worship. Worship leader, lead your team into the presence of God with nothing but your bodies and your voices. If there is hunger for God you will enter into His presence. You may have to labor a bit, but persist! Focus on the One who deserves ALL the focus. Persist until you break forth into His presence.
Today's younger generations are being indoctrinated on the premise that worship is all about music style, content, presentation, and how sensational the presentation can be. But if they are not being taught by demonstration that the heart of all worship is hunger for Him, worship will be a presentation (at best) only drawing those who are impressed by man's abilities...not God's. Jesus, in referring to the cross, gave us a valuable key, that also plays out as an infallible principle today. He said, "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself." (John 12:32)
So I'll ask you once again. Is your worship really worship?