MAKING WORSHIP A WAY OF LIFE

We were made for worship. God created us to find our satisfaction in Him, as we enter into the joy of His goodness and greatness (Psalm 9:1-2; Psalm 37:4; Romans 5:11; Revelation 4:9-11).

Worship is our response to who God is.

  • The essence of worship is encountering God, comprehending truth about His greatness, holiness, justice, and grace, and experiencing the fullness of His love for us in Christ. This is an inward, spiritual experience of the heart that comes from fearing God and finding fullness in His truth and unfailing love (John 4:23-24; Mark 7:6-7). A heart filled with the truth and love of God will naturally seek ways to express adoration, praise, and thanks.
  • The expression of worship is an outward and relational response to God. This response includes singing praises to God, generously giving of our resources, and eagerly growing in a relationship with God. However, the fundamental expression of worship is an intentional surrender of our whole selves to God. In offering ourselves completely to God, we make every act of obedience and service, in every moment of life, an expression of worship to God. In other words, worship is a way of life (Romans 12:1-2).
  • The motivation for worship includes heartfelt gratitude for what God has done for us in Christ, delight in Jesus and the gospel, and a desire to know and reflect Christ more fully (Psalm 16:2 & 11; Psalm 27:4; Psalm 32:11; Psalm 37:4; Psalm 100:2; Ephesians 4:13; Philippians 4:4).

As culture changes, the outward expressions of worship vary and change. However, the inner reality of worship remains the same.
It’s about knowing and experiencing God’s unchanging love for us in Christ and expressing our love back to Him. Because we value the truth of God and the reality of relationship with Him, our goal in corporate worship is to meaningfully connect as many people as possible to God. On this common ground we stand united, regardless of preferences, personalities, gender, or age. We embrace the inherent awkwardness of worshiping together as a multi-generational church. This Christ-focused unity in worship is worth pursuing.

Implications about Worship

  1. It’s about God. Our teaching and admonishing, whether in speech or in song, should be thoroughly God-centered. Because our culture tends to equate worship with music and the sentimental or transcendent feelings music can evoke, we need to remember that God is the object of our worship and not music or the feelings associated with it, as good as they may be (Matthew 6:33; Psalm 16:8; Psalm 42:1).
  2. It’s about our whole lives. We have to continually work against the limiting perception that worship has to do with a certain place, time, or form or that worship is solely music. Therefore, it is vital that we continue focusing on the truth that worship is an everyday lifestyle, characterized by dependence on the Spirit (Romans 12:1-2; Hebrews 13:15-16; 1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:17; Ephesians 5:18-20).
  3. It’s about the truth of God’s Word. Central to worship is Spirit-filled teaching and preaching of the Bible, which is the clearest revelation of God’s nature, character, and acts (Colossians 3:16-17; John 17:17).
  4. It’s about faith–expressing it and helping others see it. By definition a “worship service” is intended primarily for those who know God and worship Him in faith. However, genuine praise is also evangelistic, because it focuses people’s attention on God and His grace (1 Corinthians 14:23-25).
  5. It’s about a heart attitude. The essence of worship is not in a form but in the attitude of the heart. Forms of worship are largely determined by history, traditions, culture, and personal preferences. The New Testament, for the most part, avoids prescribing forms; however, we cannot avoid giving form to corporate worship. While teaching that worship is an inward, heart issue, we must also provide appropriate forms which allow a variety of people to express their praise, thanks, and love to God. The goal here is not to elevate any particular form but rather to involve as many people as possible in connecting meaningfully to Jesus (1Corinthians 14:26). With that in mind, we also want to “face forward” with a desire and commitment to reaching and involving the next generations. For that reason we will emphasize music that communicates in our contemporary cultural context without neglecting our rich heritage of sacred music.
  6. It’s about preferring others. Praise in song is a command of scripture (Psalm 13:6; 30:4; 96:1-2; 98:1; 104:33; 147:7; 149:1; Colossians 3:16-17; Ephesians 5:18-20). Our choice of music will reflect sensitivity to the diverse “soils” in our church. This diversity will require each of us to obey what God asks of us: “. . . in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4). Choosing to defer to others is a far greater act of worship than singing any kind of song. We think this is so important for demonstrating the love of Christ to the family life of the church that we choose not to divide the church along music styles but rather to value every form that will help people connect to Jesus.
  7. It’s about the whole week. We take worship into the week with us, discovering ways to express praise, thanks, generosity, service, and obedience to God in the home and at work (Colossians 3:23-24; I Peter 3:15).
    Worship is . . .
    • a God-centered way of life.
    • a heartfelt expression of faith informed by the Bible and empowered by the Spirit,
    • delighting in Jesus and helping others connect to Him,
    • deferring to others,
    • glad obedience all week long.