Are You An “Efficient” Worshiper?


I remember many years ago my grandpa made a comment about the “7-11” songs. He couldn’t understand the purpose behind the new style of worship where we would sing “seven words eleven times.”

Like my grandpa, I am a hymn lover. I love the rich words. Sometimes I read them over and over and wonder how I sang these songs so many times growing up but never stopped to think about what I was singing. If you come to worship and I am leading, there is a good chance you will sing a hymn with me.

So what about these so-called “7-11” songs? Don’t they seem a little…inefficient? I know the debate between traditional and modern worship is an old one and that is not at all what my purpose is. I want us to think about how we worship when it’s uncomfortable or repetitive or not exactly ‘my style’.

I have been the one to give a blank look to the worship leader as if to say, “OK, we beat this one to death…time to move on!” I like the meaty hymns where every verse has substance and the chorus is strong and familiar.

I confess that “lingering” on a worship song has felt like an inefficient use of my time. What are we doing right now? We already sang this. Is the worship leader making up words as we go? Can he do that?

The past few years I have been challenged to look at worship in a different way. It started when I watched people around me worship. Some of them looked so free, and sometimes, they weren’t even singing along!

They were enjoying Jesus.

I began to want that and I asked God to teach me to worship. I soon discovered that the time when we gather and sing songs is not just something we check off the list at church. It doesn’t have to be done in a certain way to be “right.”

It’s time with Jesus. Whether modern or traditional, our eyes are set on Jesus. The words we sing and the time we spend are for His glory.

How many of us have said that we don’t have time to just sit at His feet and worship?

Embrace the time most of us get at the beginning of our worship services when we join together to open our hymnals or read lyrics from a screen in front of us. Forget about the fact that you don’t like this song or the instrumental part is getting too long and take captive your thoughts. Use the time to pray, ask Him to lay someone on your heart, let the song lead you into a time of praising His name and listening.

Our Father sees our hearts, He longs for us to spend time with Him.

Next time you feel distracted during worship, close your eyes, stop singing for a moment, and ask God to give you a heart of worship. Maybe you won’t utter another word of song and instead He’ll lead you to pray for your church, your city, or the person sitting in front of you.

It’s not about the repetitive lyrics or the guitar that’s out of tune or the lighting in the room. It’s about Jesus. What a gift to be able to freely gather and praise His name with our church family.

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you….and help me to remember it’s not about me.


Jaymi Vandewater is a mother of five beautiful children and worship leader. She serves in worship and children’s ministry and her husband Justin serves as an elder in their church, Arise, in Harrisburg, SD. You can follow Jaymi on her journey with Jesus at her blog, here.

Republished with permission. Originally posted at