Worship is a challenging topic and one that is at the center of much debate in the Church. We debate over musical styles, song choices, and aesthetics. Some of the debate is even based around whether or not the worship service is emotional enough. I once heard someone say to me, “Pastor, I’m leaving the church because I don’t feel moved.” And believe it or not, they left the church in search of a greater spiritual and emotional encounter. Unfortunately, this was not the only conversation like this that I have had. Many folks are simply searching for their next emotional or spiritual high.
Now, you might be thinking, “John, what’s wrong with that?” And my answer is that it is not a Biblical understanding of worship, or of what it means to follow Jesus or the Church. I believe that we have confused who the object of our worship should be. And as a result our participation in the Church is focused on self. This can be seen by our lack of involvement in the mission of the church to the popular songs we hear on Christian radio.
Mike Cosper defines worship as, “ascribing worth to God by participating in His own glory-sharing life.” We see in the Bible from the first page to the last that God is the main character, therefore, God should be at the center of our worship. He is the single most beautiful and glorious thing in the whole universe.
We see in Scripture that God created the world revealing His glory to creation. Later when sin corrupted creation, God promised to redeem it and restore it. We see in the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:1-5), God declared to us that He is the center of our worship. God also made it clear that He will not share His glory and our worship with anyone or anything else (Isaiah 48). As the story of God redeeming His creation begins to unfold, we see Him lift up His Son as the central focus of worship (Col. 1:5-20) and in return Jesus glorifies the Father.
You see, God created worship and He has renewed it in Jesus. God is not only the object of our worship, but He is also the author of worship. God is the one who has given us eyes, ears and mouths with the sole purpose that we would shout out His goodness to the world. Friends, worship is about God. From the beginning to the end, it’s all about God. He is the one who deserves to be the center of our worship.
Here are three ways we can keep God at the center of our Sunday worship gatherings at Grace Point Northwest.
- Call To Worship: We begin with recognizing that God initiates our worship. We respond by proclaiming His goodness and by recognizing how holy, righteous, and good He is.
- Scripture: The Bible plays a vital role from the beginning of our gatherings to the end. Scripture is read for a call to worship, confession, assurance, and peace. Scripture is on the screens when there is an instrumental part of a song. Scripture is read before the sermon is preached, and Scripture is in our benediction. In the culture of today’s non-liturgical church, this idea may seem foreign, but allowing Scripture to shape our practice of worship keeps us tethered to God’s Word.
- Song Choice: We choose songs not based on an emotional curve or on Christian music charts; rather we choose songs that are strongly rooted in Scripture.
So, let us refocus. Not only our Sunday gatherings, but our entire lives upon the truth that God initiates worship and we respond. He is the one who should be and deserves to be the center of our worship. Let’s allow this truth to propel us to participate in our gatherings by being present, by singing and participating in the gathering regardless of whether or not the song moves us emotionally. Instead, allow Scripture to form us and shape us as disciples of Jesus who live in community for the community.
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________Cosper, Mike, Rhythms of Grace, 75