Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Meditations on Corporate Worship

Worship is the joyful response of people to the glorious God who has revealed Himself in Jesus Christ. Worship is to be an active part of a Christian’s life, both personally and corporately. All of life is to be lived for the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31); and, the local church is to gather regularly, uniting a congregation of worshipers into a unified body to respond to God, engage with God, exhort one another, and be an example to unbelievers.

Here are a few guiding principles for corporate worship.
Corporate worship should be:

God-focused – Worship is to be focused on the Triune God of the Bible. Believers should boldly and humbly approach the throne of God with confidence through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We were created by God for God. We exist to glorify God by enjoying God.

Christ-exalting – Worship is to be specifically focused on exalting the person and work of Jesus Christ. All good things come to us by virtue of the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ. Thus, we are to celebrate our Savior each time we gather to worship.

Spirit-empowered – Worship is to be empowered by the Holy Spirit. In worship, we are to yield ourselves to the power of the Spirit and allow Him to say and do whatever He pleases

Bible-saturated – Worship is to be informed by God’s Word. The Bible contains God’s instructions for how we are to worship Him. Thus, we are to saturate our worship gatherings with His Word. The songs, prayers, readings, preaching, and ordinances should be permeated with Scriptural truth. When we gather to sing praise to God, the content of the songs is more important than the particular style in which they are sung.

Joyfully-reverent – Worship is to be both joyful and reverent. The Bible says that God is pleased when we find our greatest joy in Him and when we have a proper reverence in His presence. God is holy and should be praised in the way He has ordained in His Word.

Participatory/Congregational – Worship is to be congregational in nature. When the church gathers, we must guard against a spectator mindset. Each believer should fully participate in every aspect of the worship service. We do not gather to all individually meet with God. We gather to corporately worship our great God with one heart and one voice.

Practically, at Christ Baptist Church, these guiding principles are cultivated in these ways:

· We intentionally choose each song according to whether it is biblically accurate, theologically rich, God-centered, and helpful for building up the church.

· We don’t mind breaking the “flow” of a service by including Scripture readings and prayers. We are far more interested in hearing from God’s Word than we are in creating an artificial feeling.

· We prefer our music to be simple in order not to distract from the content of the songs. Our volume is intentionally low in order to allow the voices of the people to drive the worship of God.

· We are intentionally and overwhelmingly in favor of participatory singing (all the congregation singing together).

· We read a lot of Bible in our services.

For the Glory of Christ,
Pastor Justin

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