21st Century Adventist Worship

Posted on April 21, 2011


Public worship of our amazing God is serious business.  We should never play around or use worldly methods when it comes to worship.  The Word of God teaches us how to worship.  John the Revelator was whisked off in heaven in a vision/dream and there he experienced a little of what worship is all about in the throne room of the almighty Creator.   

“And immediately I became in spirit. And behold, a throne was set in Heaven, and One sat upon the throne. And He who sat there looked like a jasper stone and a sardius. And a rainbow was around the throne, looking like an emerald. And around the throne I saw twenty-four thrones. And on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white clothing. And they had crowns of gold on their heads. And out of the throne came lightnings and thunderings and voices. And seven lamps of fire were burning in front of the throne, which are the seven spirits of God. And a sea of glass was in front of the throne, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind. And the first living creature was like a lion, and the second living creature like a calf, and the third living creature had the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like a flying eagle. And each one of the four living creatures had six wings about him, and within being full of eyes. And they had no rest day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God, the Almighty, who was and is and is to come. And whenever the living creatures gave glory and honor and thanks to Him who sat on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fell down before the One sitting on the throne. And they worshiped Him who lives for ever and ever, and threw their crowns before the throne, saying, O Lord, You are worthy to receive glory and honor and power, because You created all things, and for Your will they are and were created.” — Revelation 4:2-11

“Holy, holy, holy, Lord God, the Almighty, who was and is to come.” 

I do not know about you, but I cannot picture a rock and roll band jamming in the throne room of God.  When it comes to true worship in the Bible, I see reverence and praise, but cannot find worldly dancing, music, and dress (skimpy clothes and jewelry). 

For example:   

This is what God said through Ellen White about this type of worship in regards to the end of time…

“Every uncouth thing will be demonstrated. There will be shouting, with drums, music, and dancing. The senses of rational beings will become so confused that they cannot be trusted to make right decisions. And this is called the moving of the Holy Spirit.” {NL 50.4} 

“The Holy Spirit never reveals itself in such methods, in such a bedlam of noise. This is an invention of Satan to cover up his ingenious methods for making of none effect the pure, sincere, elevating, ennobling, sanctifying truth for this time. . . . A bedlam of noise shocks the senses and perverts that which if conducted aright might be a blessing. The powers of Satanic agencies blend with the din and noise, to have a carnival, and this is termed the Holy Spirit’s working. . . . Those participating in the supposed revival receive impressions which lead them adrift. They cannot tell what they formerly knew regarding Bible principles.” {NL 51.1}

This contemporary/progressive style of worship is only a reflection of the world and the prince of the world (the devil).  The rock and roll, dancing, and worldly dress portray spiritual rebellion.  Our sinful flesh loves the world and desires to join it to Adventist worship.  In doing so, we medicate our guilty souls, trying glide through life without truly surrendering all at the foot of the cross.  We hope by chance that God will overlook our sinful flaws (choices) and welcome us into eternity.

Does this mean formal conservatives have a true form of worship?  Ellen White also said, “Our churches are altogether too formal.” {12MR 217.3}  This means that our average “formal” worship services are not working either.  Dry organ and hymn music and a cold worship program will never truly meet the needs of those in the church and those outside the church.     

Ellen White said that, “Men are needed who pray to God for wisdom, and who, under the guidance of God, can put new life into the old methods of labor and can invent new plans and new methods of awakening the interest of church members and reaching the men and women of the world.”–Manuscript 117, 1907.

— If the young people need newer praise songs… so be it. 

— If the older generation needs hymns… so be it. 

By the grace of God, we can join these two elements of worship together and meet the needs of everyone. 

For example:

1.      If an organ is “needed,” try using it at the beginning when people are walking in and at the end when they are walking out.  I believe we should not be using the organ in the worship song segment of the service. 

2.      Simplify the worship service.  Cut out a bunch of the boring, formal stuff and get the heart of worship.  Have the praise team open with prayer and begin the song service.  The song leader can work scripture in-between songs and even call for the tithes and offering during one of the songs… “As we sing this next song, the ushers will be collecting your tithes and offering, please give from the heart.”   

3.      Use a blend of new and old songs (more new than old).  Do not use drum sets (trap sets) or electric guitars.  This only drives a wedge between the older and younger generations.  Here are some good instruments to use in 21st century worship: piano, guitar, violin, saxophone, cello, and maybe even that little drum you place between your knees (make sure it’s not too loud).  There may be other instruments… just try to stay away from the rock and roll sound and image.      

4.      Children’s Story (if no children’s church) – Make sure the storytellers get down at the kids level and tell a “children’s” story.  I HATE to see adults do a practical teaching instead of story and speak mainly to the adults in congregation.    

5.      Special music before or after the sermon.

6.      Sermon – Preach the Word of God and not human ideas.  This time should not be used to talk about the 2300 Day Prophecy, How to Keep the Sabbath Day Holy, Homosexuality, etc.  A healthy church will have a continuous flow of new visitors and they should not walk away unfed.  Keep the preaching time practical and relevant.  This is a good time to talk about our relationship with God and our fellow man… how to treat each other… how to be like Jesus… hope, love, forgiveness, etc.

JESUS IS COMING SOON!!!  And now is the time to get serious about our worship.  Let us pray for heavenly wisdom as we seek God will for our churches.  If you have influence in your church, please try to share these thoughts with your church board and/or worship team.

Here are some older video clips to help paint a picture of what a healthy church looks like… 

This church is now in a new building and has over 800 members.



Posted in: Worship