Of course we know why churches do it. They want to reach more people. We all want to reach more people. But there are several reasons why our worship services should not be tailored to “reach” anybody:
- We should tailor it to God, and God alone.
- Unbelievers do not want to worship God. If people who are dead in their trespasses and sins are comfortable attending your worship service, I wonder if worship is really happening (I am speaking of those who are obviously not interested in repentance).
- By tailoring your service to any Christian based on mere preferences, you automatically exclude someone else’s preferences
- The automatic response to the last point is usually: “Well, you’re gonna be tailoring it to someone’s preferences no matter what.” To which I say: “No. Just tailor it to God’s preferences. Period. And always make that clear.”
- It should be the gospel that draws people in. Not music. Not culture. Not arts. Not communication style. Gospel.
- Should a worship service be where we expect to meet most non-Christians? You should invite non-Christians to your worship service. You should expect God to save non-Christians through the Lord’s Day preaching. But it is only by God’s mercy that you meet a non-Christian for the first time at one of your worship services. And to tailor the worship of God to someone who may know nothing about our God just sounds kind of silly when you say it out loud.
- Related to that, I now have this fear that those who have “missional” worship gatherings are the least missional of all. If you make your worship service EXACTLY how you think God prescribes worship to be (which would be extremely foreign to the world), it solves two issues: one, we worship God on God’s terms. Two, it forces us to be missional, to actually go out and meet non-Christians and try and introduce them to Jesus before they ever step into our worship service.
We should expect the only people to show up on Sundays are believers and true seekers, those who are beginning to be drawn by the Holy Spirit. And we should expect that for both groups the gospel is what interests them, not contemporary music, not a large number of people their age, not their ethnic culture, not the cultural relevance. Gospel.