|A Place of Hope|
As a church body, we recently participated in a survey that measures quality characteristics that are used by God to build His church. A main area of focus in this survey was to assess whether we are providing an “inspiring worship service.” As I’ve examined the idea of “inspiring worship” more closely, I’ve had to ask myself this question: “Who is to be inspired by our worship?” After giving this some thought and spending time in study, I am able to answer this question. The one who is to be inspired by our worship is God.
Conversations that I have heard following a Sunday morning worship service are often on the topic of the effectiveness of the service based on our experience. I’ve heard comments such as “I didn’t really feel moved by the music this morning” and “I couldn’t get into the worship today” and “I was distracted by someone in the service and it really made it hard for me to worship.” The key word in all of the comments above is “I.” You see, when we evaluate our worship service through the lens of “I” we forget why we worship.
Worship is for the living God! As Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem the week before his death, his followers lined the streets shouting praises. The Pharisees among the crowd suggested that Jesus tell the people to be quiet. Jesus replied, “If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers!” (Luke 19:40 NLT)
Lest the church at New Vision becomes self-centered and start believing that the worship service is designed to meet our needs, we have implemented some changes to create an environment where our focus as we enter our Worship Center (the Community Room) is on the commission that we have as Jesus’ followers to express the worship God deserves, commands, and expects from us. These changes include moving the entry doors to the main hallway so that when the worship service begins the focus can be on God, not on who else is coming through the doors. We have moved the coffee and snack table to the hallway. The reason behind this decision is to allow all of us to connect with our friends and church family and then, in essence, enter the Worship Center together as friends as we come to God with hearts of worship. We have also incorporated the act of giving of our tithes and offerings during the time we are singing so that it flows as part of our worship and isn’t something that stands out as being separate. God deserves our reverence, thus we have made these changes so that the “I” is taken out of the experience on Sunday morning and we refocus our “eyes” on the sovereign God.
In addition, there is a misnomer that the singing we do is what defines worship. In truth, every aspect of our Sunday morning service encompasses our worship. A very basic way to categorize our corporate worship meeting is to think of it as an opportunity to Worship through Song, Worship through Offering/Giving, and Worship through the Word. This simply describes the singing, giving, and teaching in which we engage each Sunday – all for the glory of God.
Each week, when we gather for our Sunday morning service, our purpose is to focus on the greatness of God. Worship is about giving praise to God because he is deserving of our adoration, reverence, devotion, and honor. In Romans 12:1, we find this directive: “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him [emphasis added].”