Up early this morning, working on my worship book, I was struck that the starting point for asking about effective worship should be how worshippers themselves understand and talk about worship. Isn't that very revealing?
The way people talk about worship shows how much of them is involved. It's a great sign if they are able to say:
We understand that worship is not:
Just going to church on Sundays
Just singing our favorite songs and hymns
Just following through the liturgy
Just listening to sermons.
We understand that worship is:
About who God is and what he has done and is doing.
About everything we do and every day we live in response to him.
About offering lives as living sacrifices ( Rom. 12:1 , 2).
About belonging with brothers and sisters in Christian family.
About being changed to be more like Christ together.
About living different kinds of lives from our neighbors.
We gather because God loves us and longs for fellowship with us , so we bring the best of our praise , love , commitment , money , time to share together. We prepare to be sent out to take the best of our praise , love , commitment , money and time to share in the world.
Leading them , preachers need to be worshippers, and everyone who worships needs to be proclaimers. Qualities of heart and mind should dare to see big-picture worship beyond our imagining. Worshippers should declare:
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine , according to his power that is at work within us , to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations , for ever and ever! Amen. (Eph. 3:20 , 21).
When worshippers have an understanding of worship that reaches wider than any of us can imagine, its a sure sign they are going to deeper places together. Isn't it?