Friday, February 11, 2011


Because of the traveling part of my preaching and teaching ministry, I worship the Lord in a different church most Sundays of the year. My experiences in churches nationwide, together with my years of teaching a seminary course on worship, cause me to think a great deal about the worship of God in the local church.

One observation I have made is that most churches could make dramatic improvements in the quality of their worship event by making some changes that are relatively simple. After a quarter-century of pastoral ministry and leading worship services, I do realize why "simple" changes are sometimes difficult to make. However, if you are a leader who senses the need for freshness in worship, you should consider these recommendations because (a) they each have a direct or indirect biblical basis, (b) they are specific enough to be practical, and (c) they can be accommodated to any church, regardless of size, location, culture, or worship style.

Focus on God in every element in worship.
Worship is, by definition, the worship of God. So why would you include something in your worship service that doesn't focus on God? Go through your order of service and ask of every element, "Does this focus on God?" If not, either remove that element or push it to the beginning or end of the worship gathering. Specifically, items like the announcements, the welcome of guests, and greeting one another may have a legitimate place, but they should be accomplished in a way where they won't break people's focus on the Lord. Schedule them just before or after the time when God is the exclusive focus.

Have clear Biblical support for every element in worship.
Go through the order of service once more and ask of every element, "Is there a Biblical basis for doing this in worship?" (An element of worship is a worship activity, such as singing, preaching, praying, etc. This differs from a circumstance of worship, such as the time the service begins, its length, the color of the carpet, whether you use air conditioning or microphones, etc. The Bible doesn't speak to these issues, but it does address the activities of worship.)

Don't settle for generalities like, "The Bible tells us to reach people, and I think this aspect of our worship helps us do that." Require stronger scriptural warrant than that. God knows better than we how He wants to be worshiped, and He hasn't left us to guess what He wants us to do. Come before the Lord with the confidence that everything you do in worship has a Biblical command, example, or clear inference which supports it as a worship activity. Discontinue every part of your public worship for which you can find no solid scriptural foundation. If churches practiced just these first two principles, great reformation would occur in their worship.

Read more at Biblical

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