“Alternative service,” “Contemporary service,” “Saturday-night service,” “Multi-congregational church,” “Youth service,” “Seeker sensitive,” “Seeker targeted,” “Taizé worship”, etc.. The list of worship options is long, and is getting bigger every day. Our generation is experiencing a revolution in worship that we never saw before.
The worship war now is not only Traditional versus Contemporary. It is so fragmented that it is hard to understand what is going on. We have the traditional stream that has been present in the church for a long time; then we witnessed the rise of contemporary services with different instruments, music styles, media, etc.. Now we have the emergent church coming up strongly, bringing some aspects from Christian Spirituality, such as personal piety, internal devotion, and spiritual formation
In the middle of this battle we have a church, formed by people who are following Jesus to sometimes have no idea of what is going on. They like to worship, and they also have their preferences. When a church decides to change or adopt only one type of service, they normally stay unhappy or they go to other churches. In any case nobody wins.
The first thing that we must understand is that we worship God, and God alone. God is the center of our worship, no matter the style, the lights, the music, or lack of them. God is the person who attracts us to worship. Everything that we do, not only during the Sunday service, but in our whole life must be an expression of adoration to Him. He is the Creator, the Savior, the Sustainer, the Provider, the King, the Lord, and the one who loves us more than anything else. So we worship God, the Triune God.
The second thing that we must understand is that worship is dictated by God through His Word. Even though I believe we have some liberty to be creative, the basic elements of a worship must be present in the service. Here are some of them: Music, Prayer, Koinonia – Spiritual Fellowship, Scripture reading, and Scripture exposition. Of course you can add something here and there, depending on your tradition but those elements are essential to worship.
The third thing that we must understand is that worship is from inside out. Worship must come from our heart and spirit. This is what Jesus told the Samaritan woman: “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” John 4:24.” Our worship is not only based in the truth of God’s Word, but it must come from inside of us. That tells us that the most important thing in the worship is not the kind of music, the place, the decoration, the style. It is the hearts, the docile spirits recognizing the presence of their creator and expressing their gratitude for who He is, what He has done, and submitting to His teaching.
So next time that you attend a worship service, even though it may be different from what you are used to, remember, you are there to worship God and God alone. Get involved, sing, pray, have fellowship with your brothers and sisters, listen to the Word, and dedicate your life to Him.
Have a blessed week,