There was a time when many in the Church objected to the laity simply watching a special class of people “performing” worship. After all, liturgy means “the work of the people.” The movement that emerged from this framework has paradoxically created a culture where pro-level musicianship is a practical requirement in order to be seen as appealing.
The last time you participated in corporate worship service, could you hear yourself singing? Could you hear your neighbor singing? The answer for me is often “no.” If not to hear the sounds created, why sing? Respectfully, why not simply think the songs to yourself?
Even when people are engaged in singing the songs of faith, we too often limit role of the congregation to that portion of the service. Where can we facilitate response via corporate prayers, recitation of Scripture, and even silent reflection? Those of us in mainstream Evangelicalism must realize the power of worship for spiritual formation, and that the biblical model is participatory. We miss out when we perform in front of people, instead of lovingly leading them to engage alongside us.
Worship is something we do, not something we watch.