10 Common Worship Distractions

worship music
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I once posted findings from Thom Rainer on common worship distractions. Since that time, some readers have questioned me more specifically about our findings regarding worship music. Let me be honest about my qualifications up front, though: I am not a musician or singer; I am a church consultant only reporting what our teams have found in more than 15 years of consulting. It is not my intent to be judgmental or offensive. I have utmost respect for those who lead us in worship. With those caveats in mind, here are 10 distractions we’ve encountered in the music element of worship.

10 Common Worship Distractions

  1. Incomprehensible choir or praise team words—I start with this distraction (a repeat from the previous post) simply because we face this issue so often. The sound system may be poor, the singers may not enunciate well or the music may drown out the lyrics—but in any case, we miss the message while straining to understand the words.
  2. Unsmiling faces leading worship—Some solemn hymns may not necessitate smiles, but something is lacking in singing about the joy of the Lord when the singer’s facial expression suggests something different. We have seen entire praise teams show little expression as they lead worship.
  3. Poor musicians or singers—I hesitate to include this distraction because I realize the level of talent varies by congregation. Nor do I want to suggest that only the most talented musicians or singers should be permitted to lead worship. I’m simply stating what we’ve experienced: Sometimes the musical component of worship lacks quality.
  4. Unprepared singers—Here, level of talent is not the issue; lack of preparation instead appears to be the problem. Sometimes it seems—right or wrong—as if no one practiced this component of the worship service. In fact, we’ve occasionally heard it stated publicly: “Please pray for me before I sing today because I really didn’t have time to get ready for singing.”
  5. “Preachy” music directors—Some folks leading worship do a great job of succinctly and effectively speaking between songs. Others, though, seem to use interludes to preach a sermon in preparation for the sermon still to come. Too much talking may actually disrupt the worship more than facilitate it.