Worship and Church Part 1

May 19, 2007

If you were to miss the first part of a Sunday’s Church service, what would you say you have missed? The Worship?

Are worship and Church music the same thing? Is worship just the first part of a typical Sunday service or does it encompass a much larger area of our time with God?

In fact, how should we distinguish between such words as ‘worship’, ‘praise’, ‘thanksgiving’, or even ‘prayer’? Although these words are used often, there is much depth into each one of them and each have a unique meaning and practical aspect.

Let’s stay with the term ‘worship’ for now. Is worship something to be done merely corporately or is it as equally personal, to be done in the privacy of our own lives and times of ‘devotion’?

Let me conclude for now with another challenging question: is worship something that the Body of Christ does unto the Lord or does God, Himself, play a big role in it and somehow initiate it?

Please share any thought/comments and we will continue on with this fantastic and important topic…

7 Comments. Leave new

Are you suggesting that everything we do should be called worship? If this is the case, what happens to corporate worship?

Hi anonymous,

thanks for writing. in my little note I had posed more questions than comments!! so I didn’t suggest anything, really.. but I was trying to challenge the question of what “worship” is and how does music relate to it?

I’ve been focusing on worship in terms of the actual “time set apart specifically-for-God” aspect of it.


Never attended Southpoint, but I am a member at one your sister churches.

In the church vernacular of today, worship has become synonomous with music. I think it is obvious that worship is more than just music, and that music is simply a form of worship.

Worship is really something that we as God’s creation owe to Him. He is due all of our praise, adoration, honor, and glory because only He is the holy and divine creator. The Bible teaches that worship is for God only (Matt 4:10).

So while it is something that we offer to God, He plays a huge role, the central role, in worship as He is what is being worshipped. It should not be centered on us, and what we might “get out” of worship.

Clearly these are not things we only do at church. Praying to God is giving him glory, obeying him with how live our lives gives him honor.

God does initiate the worship in the sense that it is His holiness that is the reason for our worship of him. If He were not Holy God, why would he deserve our praise and adoration?

I think of Psalm 100:
“Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful singing.
3Know that the Lord Himself is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving, And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him; bless His name.
5 For the Lord is good; His loving kindness is everlasting, And His faithfulness to all generations.”

Can’t go into total detail on those verses, but they do mention “songs” so singing seems to be a good way to worship God 🙂

Serving with gladness – that’s something that you would aspire to everyday, right?

Also, talks about our own attitudes on approaching worship (gladness, joy, thanksgiving, reverence for who God is), so that talks about something individual.

The verses also say this worship is done together (using the word “us” and “we”).

Lots more to talk about on this, but only so much time….

Katie Adams
May 28, 2007 3:14 pm

I also find the words we use in Christianity, such as “worship,” to be full of deep meaning. If I use this word with my non-church going friends, they are either creeped out by it or just don’t know what it means. I have to admit that I have a hard time explaining it.

However, after reading “Postmodern children’s ministry” by Beckwith, I have a better understanding of worship. She tells a story of a parishioner who was against including children in the worship service. This person’s argument was that “her” worship time was being interrupted by these children. This taught me two things: Worship is not designed to enrich our spiritual lives but a thing we do for God – God being the main focus of our worship. Of course we are enriched as a result of giving God this gift, but it is not the reason we gather and praise Him. Secondly, including the whole community in worship is pleasing to God – I would say then that excluding some of the community would be displeasing to God. Is that too harsh? I know that I am biased, but I would like to see us include the children more in worship. We should not see their noises (within reason) as disruption but as a part of community life and as a part of worshiping God. I know that this is hard, but who ever said that community would be easy!

O.K. that’s it
My kids are awake from their naps

Mark C Tubbs
May 29, 2007 1:09 pm

If I’m out of line in posting here, as an ex-BUWCer, I’m sure the bald one will let me know…

Katie, I think you raise an excellent point. My wife and I have struggled in Sunday meetings to ‘hold down’ an extremely active 2 1/2 year-old son. We’ve used every parenting in the pew technique, we’ve plied him with toys and snacks, and we’ve taught him some of the worship songs, but the fidgets continue – btw, this boy is sweet-natured apart from his original sin!

It came to me during one Sunday meeting that parenting in the pew IS worship. It is a ‘whatever you do’ from I Cor. 10:31. Consider how important our children are to God. Are they not infinitely more valuable than being able to fully concentrate during the time of singing?

There’s an apocryphal tale about the Baptist preacher John Piper, who instructed a mother – from the pulpit – not to remove a crying child from the message.

And lest I be accused of wandering from the main point, music is merely a means of worshiping God. A wonderful, heavenly means, but still only a means. To idolize music as worship is to take focus off of God. Lyrics that testifies to the wonder of God’s attributes are the noblest of all, but honoring God with our lips plays second fiddle to drawing near to God in our hearts – whether in song, parenting, etc.

I love these discussions about children’s involvement in the community of worshippers. I also struggle to know how to make it work, and I really think that the answer lies somewhere in the changing of our mindset about what corporate/community worship is in itself. That it’s a gathering of God’s people to be together and to offer him something of beauty seems right, and doesn’t lend itself to the exclusion of children.

Worship-wise, I find that, like Mark said, it is a means of worship, not an end in itself.

More interesting discussion. I originally posted as anonymous (second one).

The whole idea of offering something of beauty, and doing whatever we do the glory of God as worship raises some questions for me.

If we consider parenting as a means for worship (and I think we can), doesn’t it follow that there is such a thing as God glorifying parenting, and non God glorifying parenting? To answer this question, I would, say yes. Scripture outlines for parents what is expected.

So, if any means of worship can be glorifying or non-glorifying (beatiful or non-beautiful), who or what determines what is glorifying and beautiful? Is scripture the guide? Is it our hearts, our motives, society, experts in a certain discipline?

Also, if it is our hearts, can we offer something that we in our hearts think is beautiful, but God does not? (I’m reminded of Cain in Genesis)

More questions less answers…

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