Lately I’ve been mulling over the question “what is the purpose of a church service?” I have the privilege of leading the worship team at the church I attend so this question is quite relevant to me at the moment.
I believe God has been working in my life recently and teaching me about Worship. I’ve spent quite some time lately looking at what is worship, why do we do it, how should we do it and what does God require of us in worship. I’m finding that God is asking me to look deep into the reasons and motives I have for worship and why it is that I worship Him.
As I read through the Bible, especially the Psalms, I am confronted with the rawness of worship. There is no hidden agenda, there is no holding anything back… it’s all laid out there in front of God. There is praise, worship, adoration and commitment but there is also anger, despair, frustration, regret and shame. Nothing is held back from God, He knows it all anyway, but He waits for us to express it to Him.
I started to wonder are we that authentic in our worship today? Am I that authentic? Am I willing to let it all hang out there before God and other believers? Do we actually encourage this in our worship/church services? Do we provide a space where people can authentically worship God, offering to Him their entire lives, warts and all?
Let me clarify that by ‘worship’ I don’t purely mean ‘singing’. Yes songs and music are a huge part of worship but the worship I’m talking about is the time we consciously take to stand before God and offer Him, praise, adoration, confession, prayer and ultimately ourselves. To me, this is our ‘worship’ to God in a service and it needs to happen together, uninterrupted for us to get in tune with God.
That is why I’m pondering the question “what is the purpose of a church service?”
I’m not pointing the finger here at anyone or any place. I want to genuinely ask this question and receive some genuine, well thought out responses. I want to know what the purpose is of the church services I serve at and attend.
Are we coming together to offer God authentic worship, to lay our lives before Him, open and honest, and seek His will for our lives and allow Him to speak to us? Or are we there to hear a sermon and worship happens as a support act to the message? Or is it an information sharing exercise where we come to hear about all the activities going on in the church, to hear from God’s word and catch up with friends?
I’m not advocating that we ditch everything else in our church services and replace it all with ‘worship time’ that would be pointless, but we need to ask the question “are we deliberately taking time to worship God before we ask Him for anything?” God doesn’t want our attention so we can bring our shopping list of requests to Him. God wants our praise first, our lives first, then He will give to us as we need:
Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, then all these things will be given to you as well.
Matthew 6:33 – The Bible
I’m being challenged to look at the reasons why we do things the way we currently do. I want to ask the tough questions because I believe that through the answers we truly grow. My heart feels that currently we are neglecting God in our church services, we are not taking the necessary time to focus on God and offer our lives to Him. I feel that the worship component of our services is somewhat a poor second to all the ‘other’ things that ‘need’ to be in our church service. We must give God the praise and honour He deserves.
Unless we offer ourselves to God through worship we are not going to hear from Him. God requires us to be willing and available in order to be taught by Him. Worship is the key that unlocks our heart, soul and mind and allows us to hear from God. We must seek Him first, and then we will be in a place where we are ready to hear all that He has for us. Our hearts will be ready to hear, our minds ready to understand and our souls ready to respond.
We must look at what we do and ask ourselves “what is the purpose of our church service?”
Am I on the right track, do I have it completely wrong? Your thoughts are greatly appreciated