The most important issue to us in our journey has been that of corporate worship. For thirty years now, this theme has always been at or near the center of our thinking and practice in ministry. In the last post, I summarized my critique of what passes for worship in many evangelical congregations today, especially in the pacesetting megachurches. Today, I give my own definition of worship.
Of course, worship can be defined or described in various ways. In its broadest sense, we worship God whenever we faithfully respond to his grace and live for his glory (1Cor 10.31). Paul also uses worship language to describe our total response of faith to the Gospel (Rom 12.1-3). However, we are talking about something more specific here—corporate worship—when God's people gather for what we call a "worship service."
Before giving a more detailed critique of contemporary evangelicalism's approach to worship, here is how I define it...
Worship is a meeting with God in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, in which a congregation of believers, in response to God’s revealed character and acts, presents offerings of...What do you think of this definition?
For his part, when his people gather to meet with him, God applies the benefits of his saving grace in Christ to them through...
- confessions of faith
- confessions of sin
- prayers of petition and intercession
- vows of obedience
- readiness to hear and respond to God’s Word.
- the living Word, by which the Holy Spirit renews and transforms his people
- his Sacraments, by which the Holy Spirit reassures and sustains his people
- the koinonia of the Holy Spirit, which produces unity and mutual edification among his people
- the filling of the Holy Spirit, which empowers his people for love and service.