I’ve been wondering lately what it is we mean by ‘worship.’ I’ve heard a lot of people talk about this over the years and noticed an interesting paradox. Well, it’s not really a paradox, but there does seem to be a contradiction at work.
Point One: ‘worship teachers’ all insist that ‘worship’ involves more than just singing. They point to verses like Romans 12:1 to make their point:
I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
This is very true. In fact, I like to marry this verse with Mark 8:34-35:
[Jesus] called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.”
Our worship is more than just singing. It encapsulates every part of who we are and what we do. It is the act of sacrificing our very lives for the sake of Jesus.
Point Two: ‘worship teachers’ are invariably well known song writers, musicians or ‘worship leaders.’ By ‘worship leader’ I mean ‘person who has a reputation for being good at leading congregational singing.’
Here’s the paradox: worship is not just about congregational singing, but its teachers are. Hmm.
This isn’t a complaint or even a criticism—it’s an observation. What it means I don’t know. If you think you do, please do me a favour and leave a comment.
3 thoughts on “Worship”
Interesting BLOG post today.
My 2 cents:
Perhaps our “‘worship teachers’ are well known song writers, musicians” because there are so few well known ‘worship preachers.’
Just a thought.
Thanks again, Cameron.
Encouraging the daily praise and worship of Jesus Christ because worship is a daily lifestyle… not just a weekly event!
I guess that depends what we mean by ‘worship preachers.’ I know many preachers who live worshipful lifestyles and who teach people to do the same. Yet they never seem to be the ones who get asked to specifically teach on worship at conferences and such.
Those invitations go to those who lead singing. I wonder if we’ve found ourselves going in a circle here: the song leaders are the ones who get to teach about worship the most, so we naturally associate ‘worship’ with ‘singing’ (or whatever else we put in the ‘worship’ segment of our services.) However, since there’s now an association between the two we think of those sorts of people when we want teaching on worship.
Thanks for your comment. I’d value any more thoughts you might have!
I agree with you, Cameron. As a worship leader, I’d much rather just shut up and lead worship. I don’t think I’m necessarily more qualified than a good “worship preacher” to teach on making worship of God the subject of our entire lives.
I can say this: as a worship leader who desires to be sincere – that is, to have my life say “I love you, Lord”, before my lips do – I am always thinking about what it means to truly worship God in my whole life. When I get asked to speak on worship (which is rare), I usually make this my main point.