I have encountered and classified a new form of worship. I am calling it ADHD Worship. It is classified by the incessant movement of people who not only break out into song from time to time, but use worship time to meet and greet friends, play at dancing together during the faster songs, and nearly never pay attention to the song or the worship leaders. And of course, during the choruses of fast songs, you are required to jump up and down (the white man’s version of Gospel “creative movement”).
Now as many of you know I grew up in a Pentecostal tradition, and still am part of a worship tradition that is known for its penchant to move from time to time in ways uncomfortable for most Presbyterians. I have seen rowdy crowds of worshipers, but that is not what I am talking about.
It is said that ADHD kids are OK learning while they are moving around. So here we have a setting in which apparently the best way to engage God is to become mobile, social, and unfocused. People often complain that evangelical worship is susceptible to being a concert-well, this is a concert. In fact, most intimate concert setting I have been in have shown more decorum and respect than this experience did.
It strikes me that for all our evangelical experimenting with worship styles, this has to be one of the lowest forms on the food chain. Take traditional church hymnody, remove 80% of the theology, simplify the melody and chord structure, never stress reverence and awe, encourage an incredibly privatized form of experience, open the aisles for “meet-and-greets,” and viola you have ADHD worship.
I am interested in the sensibilities this creates in people, especially young people. Will they have the capacity to encounter God in worship in reverence and respect? Will they learn that encountering God is always a matter of emotional highs-even if they have to manufacture it? Will they deepen their grasp of doctrine or will they develop only a devotional relationship with God?
What happened to God’s still, small voice? Don’t we need to be quiet, focused, and attentive to hear that?