Comparison of God-Centered and Man-Centered Worship


God-Centered Worship

Man-Centered Worship


Glorifying God by our worship must be our goal, our highest priority. (I Cor. 10:31)

It sounds elementary, but the purpose of our corporate worship service is for our congregation to worship God. Evangelism, though important, is secondary.

Bringing people in by our worship service is the highest goal in man-centered worship.

Though this seems like a noble goal, it must not be our highest goal. When worship is turned into an evangelistic tool, both worship and evangelism suffer.

Pagan-friendly vs. Seeker-driven

According to Romans 3:10-18, there are none who seek God from their hearts. Though we must show love and concern for the pagans who attend worship, we must be careful not to design the worship service around their desires, but around God's desires.

We must remember that the greatest obstacle for the unbeliever is his sinful heart.

In the seeker-driven model, the worship service is adjusted to "meet the needs" [better called 'wants'] of the unbeliever, making it 'relevant' for unbelievers.

The theology behind this seeker-driven movement teaches that everyone seeks for God, and all we need to do is take obstacles out of an unbeliever's way in order for them to come to Christ.


The Gospel is inherently offensive: the spotless Lamb of God who had to undergo hell on the cross for totally depraved sinners. (Romans 1:16) We must share the whole counsel of God, both the offensive and inoffensive parts. (Acts 20:27)

Still, we must be careful not to add our own offensiveness to the mix.

Man-centered attempts at worship invariably take out the offense of the Gospel to make it more palatable for so-called seekers. Sermons lack mention of sin, hell, punishment, total depravity... A gospel of salvation has no context apart from salvation from sin by the shed blood of Christ.

(Acts 2:36, Heb 9:22c)

Entertainment vs. Worship

Worship is done before an audience of One. We are all the participants, and the desire is that God is pleased with our worship. (Rev. 5:13, Phil 2:10,11) We stand in awe of God, and then our affections are stirred, not vice versa. (Acts 2:43)

Having the goal of 'bringing 'em in' as the top priority will inevitably result in turning the worship hour into an entertainment session. The focus is taken off standing in awe of God and placed, instead, on what the participant will enjoy or how he/she will feel.

Needs vs. Wants

If we focus on what man truly needs, we must understand that our greatest need is for God. When we look to God first and do things His way, the outcome will meet the deepest needs of men. (Matt. 6:33)

In the name of being 'needs-based', the focus actually becomes on what people want. While people's shallow desires are constantly fed, the deepest needs are left unmet. This camp tends to produce rapid quantitative growth and a lack of qualitative growth.


Certainly our desire is not to be irrelevant, but the truth of God's Word must never be compromised in the name of so-called relevance.

When relevance is the measure of all things, truth is invariably sacrificed.

Human worth

Human worth is not diminished by being God-centered. Instead, it is established. That is, when we focus on God who alone has worth in Himself, and we understand that we are created in His image, this brings us great worth. (II Samuel 22)

Man has no worth in and of himself, and being man-centered in one’s approach to anything is ultimately futile.


God commands us in the fourth commandment to keep the Sabbath holy. In the New Testament, the Sabbath was changed from the 7th day (Saturday) (Exod. 20:8-11) to the 1st day (Sunday). (See Matt. 28:1, Luke 24:1, John 20:19, Acts 20:7, Rev. 1:10) God has given us one day in seven to rest from our worldly labors and feast on Him.

Sunday morning is reserved for the 'evangelistic service', and worship is scheduled for another day.

Saturday nights have become popular times for services, with no stress made on the Biblical command and delight of corporate Sunday worship.

Spirit & Truth

God desires worshippers who will worship Him in spirit and truth. (John 4:24) We must know the majestic, holy God and our sinfulness in order to worship Him rightly.

Focus is often on worshipping God 'in the Spirit' with very little emphasis on truth. The problem is that worship without truth, though sincere, is sincerely unpleasing to God.




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