“How can people lead worship while wearing ripped pants on the stage?” I thought. I asked myself that question because my conservative mind could not understand. To me, it seemed to dishonor God to wear pants with holes in them while at church worshiping and praising God.
The loud music- that was something else. A lot of the words I could not even understand because the music was too loud. To me, it was difficult to sing and praise and worship God when I had difficulty understanding what is being sung. This was too different for me.
My Conservative Background
I grew up in a conservative Baptist background. Women were to wear only skirts and dresses to church. And of course, those outfits had to be modest. Pants with holes in them were something I could not even imagine people wearing to church. That seemed disrespectful of God.
While the music I grew up used to was not too calm and slow like in some circles- it was also definitely not very loud either. And the churches certainly did not have colorful lights on the stage. People sang while sanding mostly still, and only some would occasionally raise their hands up during worship.
Dancing and jumping out for joy were taboo in the conservative churches I’ve been to. Worshiping with dancing, flags, and banners were not something I could consider “worship”.
If you are interested in finding out more about me, and how I came to Christ you can do so on my personal blog: https://imustdecrease.net/about-me/
When God Calls Us Outside Our Comfort Zone
In late 2020, I knew God had called me to move to California and attend Kingdom Domain College (KDC) which is part of the Flame of Fire Ministry (FFM). But FFM’s music style and worship were drastically different than what I was used to.
If you are interested in finding more about FFM, you can here: https://www.ffministry.com/
You can also find information about KDC here: https://www.kdcglobal.org/
There were colorful lights on the stage, worship leaders sometimes wore pants with holes in them, women rarely wore skirts or dresses, and the music was way too loud. And to add to all of this- dancing was part of worship and worship flags/banners were often used. Talk about different when you are coming from a conservative background in which dancing was viewed as a sin.
In my eyes, the worship style of FFM was more like an entertainment show rather than worship. Somehow, I developed an opinion from my conservative background that God could not be worshiped and praised in this manner- the music was simply “used to entertain and draw people into church”.
I knew that KDC classes started in September, and I knew I will have to be in this drastically different environment than I was ever used to being in. You can follow KDC on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/kdcollege/?hl=en
In early 2021, I brought my concerns to God. After all, He was the One who had called me to go there.
We don’t have to pretend with God that everything in our hearts is OK when He already knows what’s in our hearts and how we see things. I brought my concerns to God in a very simple matter and said something like,
“Lord, I know you want me to go there, but You also know that I have a problem. There are things I do not understand. I have a problem with how the worship leaders dress… wearing ripped pants… and the loud music… You know I am not used to this… I don’t understand this worship style and I don’t want to go there secretly judging them or being offended in my heart”.
In a sense I was telling God, “You are the One who wants me to go there, but I am very not used to FFM’s worship style. You will have to do something about that”.
God Can Change Our Hearts and Our Perspective
As soon as I brought this problem to the Lord and honestly told Him my concerns, it was instantly that my perception changed.
It is hard to put this into words, but something inside me shifted immediately after that prayer. My eyes now looked at the FFM’s worship style in a totally different way. It’s like I could easily accept it now… and not be offended or judgmental- even though it was still very different than I was used to. There was still a lot that I could not understand.
Shortly after that “shift in my perspective” I was reading Psalm 47 in KJV and it starts out with
“O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph. For the LORD most high is terrible; He is a great King over all the earth”
As I was reading this psalm, I realized that so much of Christianity developed a perspective that to reverence God at church they need to be still and quiet and civilized. And after reading Psalm 47, I wrote this poem:
Shout Unto God with Voice of Triumph
In the same psalm where it is written
That the Lord most High is terrible
Or in other words- He’s to be feared
Worshiped, reverenced, and always obeyed
In that same Psalm, it’s also written
Clap your hands, all people, and sing God's praise!
Shout with triumph also unto God
With a voice of triumph shout to God!
But religion- crept into the churches
And religion told us to be quiet
And religion said: “reverence in quietness”
And the praise of God was dulled, made quiet
Shout unto the Lord with a voice of triumph!
Sing Him praises, praises sing to God!
He’s our King- He’s the king of all the earth
And He reigns! And Highly He’s exalted!
To God reverence and fear Him much
Does not mean we quietly come to Him
Through Lord Jesus boldly we must come
To His throne of grace, come with thanksgiving!
Come and sing, sing praises to our King!
Shout for joy- He reigns; we must ask Him praise!
He’s exalted, highly He’s exalted
And we all must Him exalt and praise!!
It did not take long for me to get used to FFMs loud music and the worship style.
I realized that it was very hypocritical to judge someone else’s worship and praise style as wrong or offensive just because we are not used to it. It is OK to not understand a worship style or maybe even question it, but it is never OK to judge it- especially without Scriptural reference.
When I came to KDC, I remember thinking:
“I refuse to be hypocritical in my praise and worship of God. I refuse to jump or dance or do anything else I am not used to just because everyone else is doing it. If it will one day come out of me, from my inner being then so be it, but I refuse to pretend I am praising or worshiping in a way that is not in me”.
And one day, it came out to me. I jumped in excitement and danced in total adoration of God! It was in me and I could not hold it back. God is worthy of our worship and praises even if all the civilized worshipers of God are judging us.
This is one of my many favorite songs: “I Sing Praises to Your Name” performed by FFM. You can also get a glimpse of FFMs worship style through this song:
Judging Others by Our Standard
The funny thing about the whole situation is that I had a very wrong perception of what worship and praise really are.
While I understood that worship is a condition of the heart, and worship is not just something we do only at church and needs to be our lifestyle, I did not understand what a worship/praise service really was.
I was disturbed by the style of FFM’s worship; it was “a speck” that was wrong in my eyes. But I did not see the log in my own eye- the log of the “respectable sin of judgmentalism”.
The log blinded my eyes and made me see things from the perspective of how I was taught and what I was used to as the guide and standard.
Somehow a woman wearing pants during worship was a worse sinner than me judging her and not worshiping God. Because it’s impossible to worship and praise God while also simultaneously being judgmental of someone else.
And worship leaders with pants with holes in them in my eyes was more dishonoring to God than me being judgmental and not worshiping God.
At that time it did not cross my mind that maybe our heart posture during worship and praise is more important to God than how we are dressed. We can be dressed so very conservative but not know how to worship and praise God in our conservative attire.
The log in my eyes that made me see FFM’s worship style as entertainment and not worship, blinded me to the fact that I did not even know how to worship and praise God in my life. Worship and praise was definitely not my lifestyle.
“Judge not, that you be not judged.
For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.
Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?
Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?
You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. Matthew 7:1-5 ESV
It is so easy for us to become judgmental. To see things from our own perspective and judge another believer. The one who used to more “liberal” or “free” worship/praise style can easily judge the conservative believer as not truly worshiping God simply because they are not as “lively” in their worship.
The conservative believer can easily judge the “lively and loud” worship/praise style as worldly, just entertainment, and condemn them in their hearts.
What is Worship?
Jesus calls us to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. It is about our heart posture before Him. It is about in Whom we have placed our faith in. So many Christians bow before the style of worship they are used to instead of bowing before Jesus. Jesus is the Truth and He alone is to be worshiped, and not the style of worship and praise.
“But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth"
When I was meditating on what worship was, I had written the following poem in 2015:
Worship is not entertainment
Worship is not just praise
It is adoring Jesus
With all our life and being
Worship is bowing, kneeling
Not just with knees, but the heart
Worship is full surrender
Of all our will to God
Worship we must when happy
We are for blessings, goods
Worship we must in sorrow
If we lose all our things
Worship is seeking Jesus
Whether life’s hard or good
Seeking to love our Savior
Praising Him- for He is good
Worship is: eyes on Jesus
Not for His hands, but for Him
Worship is humble submission
Loving, obeying Him
Worship, we God, must worship
For all His blessings, grace
God is so good, He’s worthy
Always we must worship Him
Recently I also added the following to this poem to describe the many types of ways we can worship God. Worship is dynamic, and the styles can vary. We must worship with the right heart posture and in spirit and in truth.
Worship can be expressed
In many creative ways
Worship we can while singing
Dancing and clapping for Him
Worship we can while driving
Cooking, walking, cleaning
Worship we can while sitting
Coloring, painting, or drawing
Worship we can while working
Or while brushing our teeth
Worship we can while laying
Falling asleep with Him
Worship can be expressed
In so many different ways
While on our knees, or standing
Jumping in joy for God
Worship is seeing Jesus
Triumphant, a Conquer too
God who is Worthy, Mighty
Worthy of all our praise
Worship is our heart focused
In adoration of God
Worship is so sacred
Sweet savor it’s to God
Don’t Judge Someone’s Style of Worship
Maybe someone reading this might need to repent from judging and condemning the “quiet” or “conservative” worshipers of God or for making fun of them or talking about them in a condescending manner. Turn your eyes away from seeing your style of worship as more worthy of God and truly worship God instead of your worship style.
And maybe someone reading this might need to repent for judging the “load” or “more liberal and freer” worship style.
Our preferences and mindsets and what we grew up used to should not be the ruler by which we judge others.
There was a lot I did not understand about worship, but my heart desired and still yearns to be a worshiper of God.
I wanted and want to learn how to worship God in spirit and in truth as a daily practice. In late 2019, I had written the following poem, not realizing then, that one of the reasons I needed to go to KDC was to learn how to worship.
I Want To Be A Worshiper Of God
I want to be a worshiper of God
A worshiper, in spirit and in truth
Not someone who gives lip service to God
With heart that’s far from God and that is cold
I want to be a worshiper of God
To lay my Isaac on the altar daily
To give to God what’s precious to me most
Not just to say this, but like this to be
I want to be a worshiper of God
If I lose all, to still bow down and say
I worship God, on good days, in the bad
I worship God in fierce and painful trials
I want to be a worshiper of God
Not just at church while singing and Him praising
I want my life a worship be to God
I want to worship daily in truth, spirit