I’m thankful to be one of the pastors here and praying for God to continue to grow a depth to our worship. We as a family are eager to get to know more of you in the coming weeks, and are praying that God will continue to give us favor as our church seeks to know Christ and make Him known in our city.
As we begin this journey together, I wanted to share a basic vision for worship ministry. Briefly, worship is a word that has come to mean many things and conjure up various emotions. We will say, “I can only worship if _____,” or “real worship happens when ____ and I worship best in this environment.” Worship has been used so often to describe service elements or to market Christian albums, that it has lost its meaning because it has been used so generally. If we aren’t careful, we can be passionate about worship in a way that is not rooted to anything except our opinion and experiences. This is the why behind the what, that I’m praying God will grow us in at Illuminate:
1. Worship is Vertical
David wrote in Psalm 96:7-8 , “Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength! Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts.”
Worship, biblical worship, is defined as ascribing infinite worth or value to God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We sing to the Lord. The songs we sing when we meet together will be and should be Vertical in their nature. When God’s people meet together, it’s for the purpose of ascribing worth to God and declaring who He is and what He has done. Singing about how we feel about who God is will leave us anemic and unfulfilled. Giving glory to God alone while singing passionately about Him will grow us deeper as true worshipers.
2. Worship is Biblical
When we meet together we want to sing songs that make sense Biblically. I’ve been hiking in the mountains and listening to scripture daily. During these times, I’ve listened to several books in the OT. In these books, there is a Biblical pattern of worship that occurs that I’ve found so encouraging as a Christian. God’s goodness, faithfulness, and promises are declared…then God’s word is read out loud. Psalm 145:4 “One generation shall commend your works to another and shall declare your mighty acts.” “He (Jesus) became sin that knew no sin that we might become the righteousness of God,” 2 Corinthians 5:21. When we sing these gospel truths. God receives glory and changes us for our good. What a great Biblical model for us to embrace for our worship services.
In corporate worship, we will sing songs that are Biblical. Biblical songs are gospel centered, simply put. As a worship pastor, it’s critical to consider, “Can the congregation sing this song?” but the better question is, “Should we be singing this song?”
3. Worship is Personal
In Psalm 145:1-3 David’s song is one that models a Biblical worship that’s important for us to each consider and implement as a church family. He begins with, “I will extol you my God and king and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. For great is the Lord and greatly to be praised.”
Worship is personal. It is up to us to be ready when we meet as a church family. Is your heart prepared when you walk into church? Are you in the room early and ready to participate in each aspect of the worship service? As we plan services our desire is to worship through vertical ascriptive singing. But the people that are meeting together are to take worship personally and to prepare themselves before worship together.
4. Worship is Practical
In John 4, Jesus was approached by a Samaritan woman and asked a question about worship. His response to her was honest and very specific about worship. Jesus response was, “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:23-24.
True worshipers will worship God in spirit and truth. God is seeking such people (my emphasis) to worship Him. What if we were the people who sought after God in this way? Can you imagine what would happen? Think of it, in our preparation before we met for corporate worship. In our times together, we are known as the people who worship in spirit. We are known as a place that worships in truth. These are practical effects of a church that has been radically impacted by the Gospel.
I am praying that God will stir a passion in our church for vertical, biblical, personal and practical worship.
-Chris Herrington, Worship Pastor