I need to clarify what I mean when I talk about Worship. In a broadly defined sense “Worship” is the entire Christian life. Everything we do in response to God is worship. In both the Old Testament and New Testament the word most often translated as “worship” means to bow down, face down, and submit ourselves to God. Everything. Our whole life.
Recently many people refer to the music portion of a church service as “worship.” The “worship leader” Is the hipster who does the music—the Worshipsters.
In some traditional contexts the word “worship” has specific historical implications attached to it, because of this the word has become theologically dividing. There is historical worship and modern worship.
For this discussion I’m using the word “worship” to refer to gathered church events where there is word and sacrament. Everything that happens in the Sunday morning gathered worship service.
WORSHIP = GIVING GLORY TO GOD AND BLESSING TO OTHERS.
Let me go ahead and tell you where I stand on all of this. I don’t believe worship is about honoring historical traditions or keeping up with cultural trends in an attempt to be relevant. I believe it’s about responding to God’s grace and giving Him glory when we gather together, and doing this in a way that will be a blessing to the people in the room as well as to the people outside our church walls in the surrounding community. It’s about honoring God in a way that does not repel nonbelievers, and maybe even attracts them—then leading those people to real faith and real commitment in following Jesus.
I have been part of CrossPoint Community Church in Katy, Texas for over eleven years. It’s a ministry strategically designed to connect Godless families—like the one I came from—with a Heavenly Father they don’t acknowledge exists. It’s a ministry that’s trying to love people who are not already connected to a church. We know that people are dead in their sin, hostile to God and can only be made alive by a miraculous work of the Holy Spirit through Word and sacrament. We believe the local church is the best hope the world has to find out about Jesus. God knew what He was doing when He brought me here because He has been preparing me for this job my entire life. He knew what He was doing when He put you where you are, too.
In the next several articles we will be considering the idea that worship is not only for the glory of God and the edification of the Church, but also for the blessing of the unbelievers who are watching. This will likely raise many questions and need for clarification and I request that we try to understand the other side and put the best construction on what is said.
Who knows, maybe we’ll actually find some common ground.