For the last few weeks in our worship leadership planning times we havebeen discussing the meaning of ‘worship.’ Some of the phrases that were presented were:
- Reflect the glory of God
- Ascribe to God honor and glory
- Engage in a conversation with God that includes times of listening and talking
If we were to ask the question ‘what is the purpose of a corporate worship celebration?’ many of our answers would be similar and be something like this: Our worship services exist to make God’s glory known and by our actions ascribe worth to him. Or… ‘the public declaration of God and our response to that declaration, done in a gathering of mostly believers and some non-believers in which the believers gain support for their faith and the non-believers witness an outward expression of conversation between the church and its savior.’
In February 2007, Starbuck Chairman Howard Schultz sent a memo to his CEO, that somehow found its way onto the Internet. In the memo, Schultz expresses concern that his company has veered from its original charter. He cited a series of internal decisions that eventually led to a dilution of what customers had come to expect from a visit to Starbucks.
Have we lost sight of that goal of our corporate worship experiences when we add ‘things’ of culture to make our services ‘relevant’? W.A. Tozer wrote: The Christian church was never intended to function as a current events forum.
There are many things we have added to our corporate gatherings that by themselves have tremendous value, but often take away from the conversation of worship.
Do we really need
- announcements for up-coming events to take time from the conversation?
- a movie clip that we think is cute?
- a special occasion song just because it brings warm memories to our minds?
- a skit that might have some small link to the theme of the day?
- recognitions of birthdays or anniversaries?
None of the items in this list are bad, but I believe we need to evaluate what we allow to take up time in our services that are not really worship. What we do need to reserve time for are:
- Ascribing to God Worth
- God’s spoken Word
- God’s word explained
- Opportunities for response
- Time for reflection