April 2nd, 2011 by Darryl G. Hart
So here I am, a revived Reformed Protestant, sitting in an average Presbyterian worship service and I am not comfortable. Granted, they are singing hymns and so not guilty of that strange insistence on psalm-singing that plagued Calvin and Knox. But these tunes and words just don’t resonate with my soul.
Then there is the long pastoral prayer. I know my good friend at church wishes the pastor would pray the “long” prayer after the service. He seems to think the pastor could apply the sermon better by praying for the needs of the congregation in light of what the sermon covered. My problem is that the prayer is too long and doesn’t use the language I use in my own quiet times. The pastor feels distant from me and the way I approach God.
And the sermon itself is way too long on exposition and short on application and relevance. I get it that we need to enter into the world of the human authors and their audiences. But I have my needs and the pastor really could do a better job of bringing it down to the sort of temptations and problems I face.
But the biggest problem is the lack of emotion and energy in the service. This place is way too laid back. Talk about God’s frozen chosen. This worship needs to go up tempo, with room for the people to express their own feelings of joy, sorrow, gratitude, and praise. Why not let a praise band lead us in more vibrant songs? Why not let members of the congregation pray? And why not have some testimonies? This service is far too remote from my own experience of God and the way I express my trust in him.
So it looks like I’ll be heading down the street to the non-denominational church where the worship is far more compatible with the way I know and love God.