Authentic Worship (Grace Notes Issue 1.4)


Originally Written for 9/14/08

Cross Posted on Grace Notes

We’ve been looking at worship over the past few weeks, and so far we’ve given a working definition of worship and examined how we worship.  This week we’ll look at the last of the three “keys”: what authentic worship looks like.

I’ve been reading through a book entitled Worship Evangelism by Sally Morgenthaler.  As I’ve gone through the first couple of chapters there are two quotes I’d like to share that go back to what I’ve been writing about:

  • o “The most significant benefit of worship service is connecting with God.” (23)
  • o “Worship cements our preceptions of God and the world around us…Between the stained-glass windows or corporate plaster walls of our sanctuaries, our concepts of and attitudes toward God, ourselves, and others are being fashioned, for better or for worse.” (29)

If authentic worship is God-intiatiated (as I wrote three weeks ago), and the purpose of worship is connecting to God (see above quote), then the answer to the question “What does authentic worship look like” is authentic worship is anything that draws us closer to God and deepens our understanding of Him and our relationship to Him and others.  In other words, we judge this aspect of worship by the result, not the process.  Just as we judge a team by it’s winning record or the effectiveness of a company’s CEO by its income and growth at the end of the year, so we can only judge authentic worship by its end result.  We can identify authentic worship when it is worship that draws us closer to God, which then deepens our relationship with others.  This understanding explains our mission statement on the front of the newsletter.

I’m going to take us back to what Jesus said in John to the woman at the well: We must worship God in Spirit and in truth.

Our job as a choir on Sunday mornings is to lead the congregation in worship.  Whether we admit it or not, whether we like it or not, they are looking to us – all of us – for leadership.  The way we step into the loft communicates something very powerful to the congregation, the way we show our love and adoration toward God, the words we sing in the call to worship – all these things set the tone for how the congregation will worship – they take their cues for us.

Which is why it is so important for us to have a firm understanding of both the theological doctrines that influence worship and how we can effectively lead the congregation.  We’ve spent the last several weeks looking at the former and we’ve touched a little on the latter.  Now our job is to simply do it!

We’ll revisit this topic often, but I believe we’ve now got a basic understanding.

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