I recently wrote about Worship: What’s Your Style? and was intrigued by how many people contacted me about that post. So I thought I would take a moment to share with you some more thoughts about worship. I will never forget what one of my mentors said while giving a lesson to the youth group at his previous church ( he was the worship pastor there at the time). He told them a definition of worship that now comes to mind every time I hear the term used.
“Worship is giving worth to God. Or giving God worth”
WOW! What a simple definition, yet packed full of good insight.
One book I highly recommend on worship was written in the mid-1960 by Jean-Jacques von Allmen, called Worship: Its Theology and Practice. Even though it was written in the mid-1960, the aspects of worship that he covers are still found today. Not to mention the fact that his views about these aspects of worship would be very helpful in many of our worship services today in the Twenty-First Century. NOTE: It is out of print, and will cost you $$$, But you should be able to find it at a good Christian school library)
I have traveled to Hungary, Slovakia, Budapest, London, Romania, and many (almost all) of the US States. I have gone to many worship services, in many different denominations and styles. The thing I have found to be true in the US, is that our worship services tend to be treated as an “observational” sport rather than a “participation” sport. As worship leaders, worship team members, choir members, we MUST tune our minds, actions, and “worship service” to anything that discourages someone (not just Christians, or those who are like you) from participating with you in the songs, prayers to God the creator of the universe (who deserves our worship).
Unfortunately, I have seen many worship services at churches turn into a performance. With lit-stages, rock-band led music, organ and choir led, (non of which are directly bad) but they CAN and ARE a major deterrent. The reason this is a dangerous way to lead a group of people into worship of the creator of the universe, is because in doing so, we are acting like a mediator between the congregation and God. Jesus is the only mediator between humankind and God the Father! (1 Tim. 2:5). Von Allmen talks about the “vicarious representative” in worship. This is what he was referring to. While we may become the “vicarious representative,” we MUST do everything in our power to put ALL (YES, it’s all or nothing) our worship toward God the Father.
If you get the privilege of leading worship at a church for any period of time, you get the honor of looking out at the faces of the congregation. This can be a good or a bad thing. You will definitely see those who are yawning, disinterested, and playing on their phone (yes I have seen this). However, you must know that if you continue to be intentional about how you approach ‘worship,’ sensitive to those who are (or may be) there, lead with a pastoral spirit, and are persistent, you will begin to see more people participate with you in worship (as opposed to watching you worship).
So I must ask you these questions:
What type of worship culture are you currently leading and creating?
What can you intentionally do (EACH WEEK) to mobilize others to worship the creator of the Universe?
Leave a comment at the bottom of this post to share your answers. I’m excited to hear what you have to say.