Why I write…the making of a worshipper
Some may wonder, “Why does Chris write these articles? What is he trying to accomplish?” Those would be good questions. I would hope that some people would be probing to make a connection between these articles and my specific call to create worshippers.
What is worship? How is worship developed?
Nowhere in Scripture do we find explicit descriptions of worship, yet we find commands to worship. We are commanded to sing, yet this is never called worship. When Jesus tells the woman at the well, he was not talking about singing.
“…believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. …Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”(John 4:21-24)
To cut to the point, worship is not rooted in actions, but is an inner heart condition.
This heart condition can be described in phases very closely related to repentance. 1. Brokenness, 2. Desire, and 3. Satisfaction. In other words, the goal is satisfaction in God alone, which cannot be found without a deep desire for God, which is not realized without a discovery of our lack of the presence of God and need for him.
So, if I am to help people to “worship”, I must attempt to walk them through these phases. Sharing my stories reminds me and others of our need for God and grace and salvation and community. Painting a picture of the beauty of God intensifies our desire to be with God, communicate with him and to reflect him. Knowledge of God and an unbreakable trust in him creates a deep satisfaction in God alone, a “peace of God, which transcends all understanding”(Philippians 4:7) that just might bring us to a point where we can “take up [our] cross[es] daily and follow [Jesus].”(Luke 9:23),to “Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;” (Martin Luther)
So, if the inner essence of worship is primarily a spiritual thing, how does this singing stuff fit in? Well, first of all, singing is commanded:
“Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.”(Colossians 3:16).
This singing, however, is not worship in itself. So, when does it become worship? Maybe a story will help.
While on missions trips I used to be puzzled by the experience of intensely emotional singing. We would conclude most of our days in sharing, prayer and singing. During the singing we would often be moved toward flowing tears. These tears would be both from joy and laughter as well as profound brokenness. I would wonder why we don’t experience this in our Sunday services. My answer to this dilemma is that we aren’t serving in our daily lives. We aren’t struggling to make Christ known throughout the week. We aren’t living serving one another in our immediate community. Basically, when we live our Christian lives in ways that are looking for the work of God around us, depending on like-minded believers to prop us up with the grace of God, and seeking to serve the needy and be witnesses of the truth of Christ, then we need an outlet for all of these experiences. Singing and the arts give us just this.
I want our churches to be full of “true worshipers” who “worship in spirit AND truth“. If I can help fill your minds with truths of God that so touch your hearts that you spring up in obedience through service to one another and outreach to others, then you will have something to bring to the table at our regular gatherings of believers. Our singing will not be fake emotionalism, but an overflow of experiences that have to be shared in the context of the community we call the local church.
Categories: Worship in Community