Photo Credit: risingsunchurch.org

Recently a church leadership team asked me the following question: “What is the purpose of the church weekly gatherings? “ As I thought about their question, I realized that the New Testament has much to say about the worship of God’s people on a weekly gathering. Among those statements,

  • Whatever else is done, worship must be done in spirit and in truth. (John 4.23-24) Many churches worship with lots of spirit but little truth – this can lead to fanatical heresy. Many other churches worship with lots of truth and little spirit – this can lead to Phariseeism. Every worship celebration should be a time of raving worship in spirit and passionate application of truth.
  • Whatever else is done, worship should provide an opportunity for the following elements from time to time. The following is exemplary, not exhaustive …

o   Explanation of our justification in Jesus (Romans 1-4; Galatians 3; Ephesians 1-3)

o   Encouragement in our sanctification process (Romans 5-8)

o   Reminder of the consequences of rejecting Christ (Romans 9-11; Galatians 4)

o   Call to total commitment to Christ (Romans 12)

o   Honoring of government in all we do (Romans 13)

o   Joy / responsibility of our liberty in Christ (Romans 14; Galatians 5)

o   Commitment to the nurture and unity of the congregation (Romans 15-16; 1 Corinthians 1; 3;  Ephesians 4.1-16; Galatians 6; Ephesians 4)

o   Focus on the pathway of humility as Christ’s follower (1 Corinthians 2; 8-9)

o   Calling of the congregation to maturity (1 Corinthians 3; Ephesians 5)

o   Reminder of the mission we are on (1 Corinthians 4)

o   Call to individual spiritual purity (1 Corinthians 5-7; 2 Corinthians 6-7)

o   Honoring of marriage and families (1 Corinthians 7; Romans 9; Ephesians 5-6; Hebrews 13)

o   Communion (1 Corinthians 12.17-26)

o   Spiritual examination (1 Corinthians 12.27-34)

o   Opportunity to utilize spiritual gifts when they are appropriate to the worship experience (1 Corinthians 12.1-11)

o   Diversity in worship expression (1 Corinthians 12.12-31; 14)

o   Centrality of loving God and all members by sacrificing one’s personal desires for the benefit of others (1 Corinthians 13)

o   Focus on the resurrected Lord (1 Corinthians 15; 2 Corinthians 2-5)

o   Generosity in giving (1 Corinthians 16; 2 Corinthians 8-9)

o   Forgiveness of the repentant (2 Corinthians 2)

o   Equipping for daily spiritual warfare (2 Corinthians 10; Ephesians 6)

o   Reminders of the glory in suffering (2 Corinthians 11-12)

o   Emphasis on God grace as the measure of life (Galatians 2)

So why do we worship? Here is a partial list of the purposes of worship from my worship pastor, Rick Munchow of Saddleback Church …

  • Worship is a time to be informed – so the message must clarify God’s purposes. (1 John 5.13; Luke 5.27-28; John 16.12)
  • Worship is a time to be inspired – so the messenger must cast the vision and raise the bar. (1 Corinthians 4.16)
  • Worship is a time to be influenced – so the worship team must lead them to their next spiritual step. (1 Corinthians 18.6; John 14.5-6; Mark 5.18-19; Proverbs 13.20)
  • Worship is a time to be invigorated – so the service must empower those who have gathered in Jesus’ name. (Matthew 18.20; 1 Thessalonians 2.11)
  • Worship is a time to be invested in – so the service must equip our people for purposeful living. (Acts 1.8; Romans 15.13; Proverbs 14.12; Ephesians 3.16, 20-21
  • Worship is a time to integrate faith and practice – so people need to be able to see practical application of biblical principles. (James 1.22-24; 1 Corinthians 4.20; 1 John 3.18; 2 Peter 1.7)
  • Worship is a time to initiate newcomers into the community – so we need to welcome guests and tell them they can belong here. (Romans 15.7; Ephesians 1.3; Romans 6.3-4; 2 Peter 1.12-13
  • In worship, we are trying to create an atmosphere of: 1) Expectation (Matthew 9.29); 2) Celebration (Psalm 100.2); 3) Affirmation (Hebrews 10.25); 4) Incorporation (1 Peter 3.8); 5) Restoration (Psalm 51.10, 12); and 6) Liberation (2 Corinthians 3.17).

When you gather this weekend, with God’s people, remember YOU are not the audience. We come to address an audience of ONE! Since He knows all about you, go ahead and share ALL of you with Him in the worship center. He will so appreciate your testimony of intimacy.

If you would like help with designing worship, leadership development or the discipleship process, we are here to help you with all of your leadership needs. Contact us for individual, leadership team or corporate consultation.