After concluding a conference devoted to the theme of worship and reading for a full year in preparation for this past G3—I’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking about how we worship, why we worship, when we worship, and the ultimate goal of worship. As we study the subject of worship from the pages of Scripture, necessary alterations and adjustments will be necessary in our worship services if we are seeking to honor God. As I pressed, in my sermon at G3, it is the calling of the pastor to reform what the culture is seeking to deform In the life of the church on a weekly basis.
In 1 Timothy 3:14-16, we find Paul talking directly to Timothy about the behavior of the local church in Ephesus. Apparently something needed to be corrected. It was Timothy’s job as the overseer to address the deficiencies and make necessary adjustments. Each week, as the church goes about life in a broken society, there will be attempts made by the enemies of God to deform the church’s understanding of the church and the functionality of the church (relationally and corporate worship). Weekly reformation is required in order to stay on track.
As we think about worship, it would do us well to consider the fact that God has called us to be worshippers. He has rescued us through the blood of his Son, identified us with himself through the waters of baptism, and placed us within the context of a community of the redeemed (known as a local church) for the purpose of worship.
I made the following statement in my sermon at the 2020 G3 Conference:
We must not raise another generation of young people who will grow up with the false idea that they come to church to:
Watch the worship
Watch the preaching
Watch the singing
Watch the praying
We are to be participants—not spectators in worship!
When we treat worship services like the movie theater or a sporting event, it turns it into something other than what God intends a worship service to be in the first place. When you hear people talking about going to a church because they’re attracted to their “worship” or their “singing” you should have red flags going up all in your mind. For instance, when was the last time you heard someone say they were going to a church because of their praying or the depth of their sermons? Remember, God has not called you to ecclesiastical spectatorship—he’s called you to church membership. Such membership involves personal engagement and participation in worship.
At the end of the day, we must have this firm understanding that Christians are worshippers of the one true and living God. We must gather and participate in worship. We should never gather with the idea that we watch other people do the singing or the worship that makes us feel a certain way. Worship is not about us. Worship is about God and his glory.
This week, as you prepare to attend worship with your family, have a conversation with your family about how you intend to participate in various ways through engaging your mind, heart, voices, and even finances through giving. Worship is about God receiving the glory that he deserves from his people. It’s not about us, our preferences, our desires, and our feelings. Christian maturity will lead us away from such a consumerism mentality to weekly worship.
As you return home after a profitable week studying the theme of worship, don’t be ashamed to make necessary adjustments in the church’s worship. Sometimes such adjustments will be opportunities for the church to see them and hear the reasoning—which will produce spiritual growth in the church.