Within one mile from my house there are two frozen yogurt places. Directly across the street from each other. My two oldest daughters (four and almost-three) would eat at one of these places every day if they could. They love them. The frozen yogurt is fun for them, but it’s really all about the toppings. Oh they love the toppings. That’s what gets them excited. And messy.
Catherine and I have to limit the number (and weight) of the toppings our girls choose. It’s like trying to tame wild beasts when we tell our daughters they can only pick three or four toppings from the 1,529 options. But somehow we make our way to the cashier, pay, and find a table where they stuff the frozen yogurt and (mostly) toppings into their mouths with varying levels of accuracy.
I’m more of an ice cream guy myself. Chocolate. One flavor. How can you improve upon perfection? So I tend to look down on the frozen yogurt fad and think my daughters like the toppings too much.
I think worship leaders can start to like the toppings too much too.
They start to add in so much that the primary substance of the gospel is covered over by whatever else they think needs to be included. Whether it’s in their eclectic song selection, varied repertoire sources, artistic stage elements, exploration of different themes, embrace of an array of emphases, use of cool effects, pursuit of variety, desire to be creative, penchant for liturgy, or an attempt to make everyone happy, they get carried away with the “toppings” and the whole thing becomes a bit too messy.
Worship leaders must limit the toppings so that the flavor of the gospel is what people taste above all else. Whether in a small church or a large church, as different as their worship might look, there should be a common core of the proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ that never gets covered over by other add-ons.
May it never become about the toppings for us, our musicians, or our congregations. How can we improve upon perfection?