Male Worship: Ooops!


In previous comments about worship, I have bagged on worship in the institutional church as being more out of custom than design.

As I have dug into male worship and explored how our company worships, I have been shocked to find out that this exact same accusation applies to us.  Ouch.

Our staff has been predominantly female over the years.  Yet as I explored what male worship looks like, I have again and again come back to the realization “That is how we worship!”

And the problem is the “we.”  I set the values in the company.  There are a few values that we overtly express and inculcate, but there are a lot more values that are absorbed by simply being around me month after month.  I am an intense personality and without trying to overwhelm people, I do.

Because I accidentally and incidentally evolved into male worship just because it felt right to me (certainly no thought-out theology of worship up until now), the gals have followed my lead and for the most part, the majority of their worship is very male.

Now this is not a problem per se.  As I stated in the previous blog, we are to know God as both men and women.  We are all sons of God, even the ladies, and we are all the Bride of Christ, even the men.  So we must learn to walk in both relationships.

Similarly, I do not worship exclusively as a man.  I have put on some extraordinary female worship events in the past. And the girls do not worship exclusively as men.  However, because of my heavy bias toward male worship, they have come to worship as men much more often than as women.

So part of our journey will be to learn well both art forms, then to choose intentionally which to use in each situation.

It is going to require a significant retooling of our office worship times to be able to shift back and forth between the two.  One big question is whether God has a preference for one type or the other.  In other words, do we simply choose whether we want to do it this way or that way today, or are there “appropriate” times for one or the other?  And if so, what makes it “appropriate?”

How would we know?  Are there markers on time that would give us clues?  What about promptings from the Holy Spirit?  Or is this a principle thing?  If I were to assemble a hundred cases of each from the Word, would I be able to create a grid saying “These 20 situations call for male worship and these 20 for female?”

I don’t know yet, but it is quite fascinating to be asking questions we have never considered before.

Now here is a long reach.  Learning how to toggle between male and female worship intentionally is a challenge we are just now bumbling around with.  We don’t even have an outline as to how to do that.  I just know that we need to get to the place where we can do both and can choose.

Both the institutional church needs to be able to add some male worship to their predominantly female style, and my team needs the freedom to revert to female worship when it is right and not just mirror my very male style.

But, here is a far out dream.  What would it look like to have both female and male worship going on simultaneously in perfect synchronicity?  Is that an option?  So far, I have not found it in Scripture, but my search is superficial at best so far.

So, I will wonder as I wander through the pages of Scripture.

I know already that this is going to massively reframe my whole relationship with God.

But really − I got to 60 years old without ever even WONDERING about design-based worship?  How lame is that!!!!

Copyright March 2014 by Arthur Burk

From home

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21 Responses to Male Worship: Ooops!

  1. Francois says:

    Here’s an observation/question. David introduced music/song as a form of worship. How was worship done before this? i assume it was “Remember the Lord”, in other words, was pre-Davidic worship more sharing glory stories? First the male then the female…

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  2. Amy says:

    In male and female worship does it have to do with giving and receiving? For example, when I’m working and Jesus is guiding my hands as a son or apprentice, is that a form of male worship? Then when I’m resting in God’s presence and letting Him reassure me of His love for me, is that a form of female worship?

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  3. nita7932014 says:

    What is the effect of maleness in worship? Yada (knowing in the marriage context) implies life giving. He (God) is the life giver. Femaleness is receiving and nurturing. He God) said femaleness was another way of serving as ‘helpmate’. Maleness works well in the arena of the stage. An audience is needed. The audience or corporate participation brings the individual into a group arena where celebration, and joy can birth meaning, reason and significance to the ordinary and mundane. The maleness contribution is paramount for birthing. Birthing can not ever come without it. Femaleness cannot bring birthing independently. Worshiping our Creator will breath Life into our human experience. Male worship is therefor a given. Lead us Men! The Body of Christ is desperate for the infusion of life (into the presence of God), who is our Life Giver. Maleness has been reduced in our society and Unisex has been elevated. We need for the Men of God to stand.

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  4. eva says:

    Well i never gave it much thought between male and female. I do know that each of us express our worthship to ABBA based on who we are, I never even thought about the difference in redemptive gifts except that as a Teacher Gift, I like to be more intimate with my Abba Father alone than in corporate worship. I have known that my corporte worship is much less intense than my private worship, because sometimes in the corporate setting I get stared at so I generally tone it down and release my Intensity with Father alone and we have such a wonderful time alone when we are together. Male and Female worship, it should be interesting because, I may very well worhship in a more male vain because most of the worship leaders that I have worshiped under in church have been, you gussed it male. So in your research, ponder that piece and see what you come up with. I just love it.

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  5. cheri says:

    Worship is more about WHO than HOW and the heart of worship is celebrating God’s immensity for the core of Who He is, touching His heart spirit-to-spirit, deep-unto-deep. This is a matter of passion. King David stripped off his clothes and danced “with all his might”. King Solomon filled the Temple with thousands of instruments and singers. Hannah wept in tongues, Miriam led a dance troupe with timbrels and tambourines. It seems to me it’s more about how each redemptive gift expresses passion, and the dept of the passion needing expression, and how immense the Father is to each worshiper. Of course each worshiper has to get past all the AHS’s and spirits of religion, and demonic opposition – all of which is huge – but it is the journey into His heart that makes worship viable and life-giving.

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    • SLG says:

      Cheri, what do you do with Cain? He was worshiping the right WHO in the wrong HOW, wasn’t he?

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      • cheri says:

        Well Arthur, that’s a right-good question. I would like to have been a bug in the grass at that encounter. But isn’t it possible he knew the WHO in name only? or if he “knew” Him but cared not “about” Him? or any of a dozen alternatives. I do know that when you press into the heart of the Father, to the very core of His majesty, and there’s a spiritual infusion, the HOW seems to follow along and pour out of your essence quite naturally in all forms of expression. I’ll have to say though that defining something so supernatural exceeds my linguistic repertoire. Thanks for the calisthenics though.

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        • SLG says:

          Well, I think if you look at the whole of Scripture there is a massive amount of reaction from God over people worshiping the way it feels right to them. I would disagree with your premise that when we know Him we will worship well. I think the core issue is that God requires worship from us because in the process of our worshiping Him, we learn about Him. Therefore, a wrong form of worship does not lead us to a right knowledge of Him.

          This was my premise in the last light prayer. If I will learn to worship God in ways other than what has spontaneously bubbled up from within me, I will learn/experience some new facets of the nature of God that I have not known before.

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  6. Fran Dunlap says:

    very interesting points to ponder! when you talk about the difference between male and female worship, are you referring to the physical, visible attributes? As an expressive worship leader, I have always had both men and women on my teams. I’ve always encouraged them to follow their heart and their spirit as to how they move and feel, as we are expressing our worship to an audience of ONE…..even if there are 200 people in the sanctuary. I’ve had men weep and fall to their knees, as well as dance around with flags. I’ve had ladies that won’t even think about a dance step, but will carry heavy banners. every expression of worship is personal and reflects the person themselves. On the occasions when I have ‘separated’ the sexes for specific moves in a choreographed worship offering, I usually have the men follow the pattern in Rev. 4 like the 24 elders….bowing at the throne laying down their crowns, crying ‘holy,holy,holy’ or something similar that matches the music. as with all other comments, never really thought about ‘different’ worship from male and female. I shall follow this with much interest! blessings to you.

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  7. Heather Tuba says:

    This whole male/female topic has got me thinking – a good thing! I think the English language does us a disservice by not differentiating between male and female words. Many languages around the world use male and female nouns. Wondering if the Hebrew language gives us a picture of worshiping based on the male/femaleness of the words used to describe worship or any other subject for that matter. Hope that makes sense.

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  8. Sonia says:

    Wonderful post Arthur!
    Since this light prayer released my prayer intuitively became about female worship for myself and praying about male worship for you.
    My dad was the one who dominated the worship in our family so naturally I did not recognize what female worship would even look like. I hadn’t even thought of questioning the gender of worship!? However since praying about it, this is what I have seen.
    So exited that you are exploring both!
    I have learned so much from you about worship Arthur, you really have done work here.
    I look forward to you and the rest of us going deeper, higher, longer and wider than:)

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  9. Martha Borth says:

    I agree with Melissa C. When I consider that even your “half-baked potatoes” are staggeringly life-altering, I am waiting eagerly for more of this revelation. Since we are discussing this from a gender vantage point, I can’t help but think of what you have said about parenting, i.e. mother’s role versus father’s role. Are we responding in worship as mothers and fathers and/or responding in worship to God as our Father or our Mother? Anyway, my potatoes don’t even qualify as “quarter-baked,” but I do know that yours drive me further into the Word with the familiar “where does he get this stuff” feeling that I’ve had since I first heard of you.

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  10. Dana says:

    SO following!

    If both were ever simultaneous and synchronized, it seems it would be in the Throne Room of Heaven…. And again I pray, “Let Your Kingdom come, Let Your will be done here on earth as it is in Heaven!”

    You said this would massively reframe your relationship with God….. I am burning with the cry that this is going to massively unpack my design. Worship in the church has been amazing, breathtakingly awesome at times…. but also so not what I long for, so not unlocking all that is in me toward my Father and Savior. And I’ve searched and searched for the key, to no avail. But it “feels” like this is a massive key.

    Holding my breath for more 😉

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  11. Melissa C. says:

    My friend Arthur, you got to age 60 wondering about myriad and diverse topics that I’ve heard few even scratch the surface of, with profound insight and revelation of the knowledge of God. Plus, I’ve heard your wondering about worship according to design before, so I can’t let the lame comment pass by. I am on tiptoes in expectation of how God will light paths through this “new” wonderment. As a Mercy, worship is like breathing. Can’t quite put it into words, but my breaths are different in various states of purpose, understanding, emotion, atmosphere and much more. The art form of worship has so many facets that are absolutely fascinating, intricate and unique to the individual pursuing his or her Beloved. I do not want to be guided merely by instinct, but by the leading of the object of my worship. Thank you for pursuing this timely and gripping topic with your customary thoroughness and intensity – I look forward to more: more insight and more depth of worship through new understanding. I sense a paradigm shift and plan to lean into it!

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  12. Heidi Colquhoun says:

    It will be interesting to find out what the differences are. I confess, I’ve never thought about it before. I haven’t been to church in a number of years so I just do my own thing at home. I wonder which I’ve been doing… male or female. To be honest, I’m thinking that if the worship comes from the heart … does it really matter? I will watch with interest where this goes.

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  13. Noeleen says:

    You’re not wanting comments, are you? I was thinking around Christmas about the phrase describing Jesus ,’begotten, not created’ and wondering about the difference between begetting and creating. I think the difference might be intimacy and I think in most of creation birthing comes as a result of intimacy between male and female. Worship as intimacy with more of a revelation of God’s glory as what is begotten or birthed. Surely it must be happening and we’re just not aware of it but the awareness will lead to pressing in more, and more revelation of God and more worship?

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  14. Julia Smith says:

    Really enjoying exploring this Jesus said worship in Spirit and in Truth Is this male and female worship?

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    • SLG says:

      Go to the head of the class, Julia. I don’t know if it is, but it is a great option to look at.

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    • Michael says:

      As I have been following this subject that very statement from scripture has been running through my mind. In my understanding, howbeit limited, all things relating to worship of God in whatever form are to come from our spirit in twined with the Holy Spirit. If that is the case and we are fully yielded (I believe this is the key) to the Holy Spirit then our worship would be male or female as the occasion warranted.
      Therefore, I urge you brothers and sisters (male and female), in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper act of worship. Romans 12:1

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  15. Denisha says:

    Intrigued. If the institutional church is mainly female worship then I think I have an idea of what that looks like. I am not sure I know what male worship looks like? What my first sense is one of strength. When I try to put an actual physical picture with that, I’m blank. I’m going to have to spend some time on this one.

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  16. Lynne says:

    I am curious as to how to distinguish between male and female worship?? What sorts of markers do I look for?? In Scripture, in creation, in music (not necessarily worship music) – really the list is endless. I would love to explore this more!!

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