Worshipping God requires movement. I don’t mean swaying and snapping your fingers (acceptable church of Christ dancing). Moving worship is not just about expressiveness it is about God and the formation of our lives into the likeness of Jesus. I believe worship should be spirited and emotive but more than that it must be spiritual. This involves moving with the Spirit. Here are four movements required for spiritual, Christ-centered, life-changing worship.
- Worship must move from expression to formation.
The Holy Spirit is heavily involved in what goes on in corporate worship but the territory in which he wants charge of is the life that you live each day.
Corporate worship is a safe place to express your affections to God in praise. Yet we tend to limit worship. The way we may describe worship is in the context of singing in a worship service. The picture we give of worship has much to do with outward appearances and less to do with the heart.
Depending on your church culture, we judge faithful, sincere worship by how emotive we are or how emotive we aren’t. If someone is too expressive we might consider they are faking it (you know it’s true).
Corporate worship was never intended to be a place where we judge men’s hearts but where we give God ours.
Worship is all about the heart!
That means worship moves beyond expressiveness.
Worship is not for extroverts it is for converts.
This is good news for me because I am an INFP (Myers-Briggs). During a difficult time in my ministry I shared with my leaders that I was an introvert. One person said, “If we would have known that before, we may not have hired you.” In his mind, extroverts were best at ministering God’s word effectively.
Worshipping God changes you.
The corporate worship service is transformative for everyone who comes back to the heart of worship, Jesus, giving their hearts to God.
“The best thing that you can add to your community is your transforming self.” – Ruth Haley Barton
- Worship must move from experience to encounter.
Worship is not simply an experience. We can create a good experience (lights, sound, fog machine, lasers – secretly I think lasers are pretty cool). Worship is not simply aesthetic or environmental.
Worship is an encounter with the living Son of God.
When the disciples encountered the power of Jesus after he commanded the winds and waves to obey him, they worshipped him in the middle of a boat in the middle of the sea.
When he returned from the grave and he instructed them to teach others about him they worshipped him.
I love creating experiences but experiences are not to be equated with encounters. Creating meaningful worship experiences should lead someone into a deeper love for God.
Experience driven worship says, “Wow, what an experience.” An encounter driven worship says, “Wow, what a God!”
- Worship must move from environment to embodiment.
Worship is for followers who seek to live out the good news of God’s grace, love, and mercy in the world.
We offer our bodies as living sacrifices. This is our true and proper worship, our spiritual act of service (Romans 12:1).
Transformative worship considers your family and neighbors. It is for your community and your city. It is for the life of the world.
It’s not any particular environment that is essential for worship Full-embodied worship is in whichever environment we find ourselves.
Try this, on your way to work say, “I am going to worship.”
- Worship must move from “my preference” to mission.
Worship is not about me, it’s not about you, it’s not about the preferences of any one person.
Worship is not preference driven but Christ centered.
What happens in the corporate setting matters but when confined to a place worship can become about preference and not mission. My worship to God must not only connect with me but to the person who does not follow Jesus.
It is not about my preferences but the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.
The cross was Jesus’ ultimate act of service.
Like Christ, I take up my own cross. I must die to my own preferences in service to others.
How else do you think worship needs to be moving?
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