The Perfect Worship Service

When it comes to music, everyone has an opinion. Worship has the power to draw people closer together. It can build a bridge between differences in race, gender, age, etc. It also can cause division. It can drive a wedge between whole churches. It can create an “us vs. them” divide. In light of this fact, this month I want to share a fun excerpt from Tom Kraeuter’s book, Guiding Your Church Through a Worship Transition.
 
 

The Perfect Worship Service

            After listening carefully over the past several years, we believe we have finally determined what those who attend our church really want in music. Following are the items that come up most frequently whenever this topic is discussed:

  • More fast songs in the opening praise time and more slow songs in the opening praise time
  • More of those wonderful, lovely old hymns and less of those stupid, dead old hymns
  • A longer and shorter time of praise at the beginning of the service, and a shorter and longer time at the end
  • Songs to flow quickly into each other and long periods of time between songs for reflection
  • More repetition of songs so they can be learned and meditated upon while singing, and less repetition of songs because it gets boring singing the same thing over and over
  • More of those lovely arrangements with extra instruments and less of those showy arrangements with all those instruments
  • To sing the good old songs more often and to stop always singing those same old songs
  • Songs to be sung in higher and lower keys
  • The band to play in the middle of the platform where they can be seen, back behind the plants where they won’t be a distraction, louder, softer, faster, slower, more often, and not all

 

Grace and peace,
Daniel Hazel
 
Source:
Guiding Your Church Through a Worship Transition by Tom Kraeuter

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What Is Worship

Psalm 66:4 says, “the earth worships you and sings praises to you; they sing praises to your name.” Nature sings praises to the Creator, Yahweh. Creation worships God. And similarly, so do we as people. Humans and creation both praise the Creator. It reminds me of a professor I had that would consistently describe worshiping as “experiencing God.” To put it another way, worship is our response to experiencing God. This is powerful. This is meaningful.
 
This
 
Is
 
Important.
 
So what are we talking about when we talk about worship? Realizing that worship is our response to God should change how we talk about worship. It means worship is not confined to our humanness. Worship is rooted in scripture. In the Old Testament, the writers often speak of singing to and exalting the name of God (1 Chronicles 16:23-31 and Psalm 99). Worship is something we do because it is a part of us. And because it is part of us, worship is intertwined with our lives. Worship is not confined to certain moments, it is found in our dark and light days. This means worship can be found in lament and praise.
 
Worship is about aligning our hearts with the Creator of all things. This requires less of us and more of God. In the song, Heart of Worship, Matt Redman articulates this perfectly. He writes,
 
“I’ll bring you more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what you have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You’re looking into my heart”
 
God is continually searching and looking deeper than the surface (1 Samuel 16:7). God is not only looking for songs. God is looking for hearts that are fully abandoned and ready to be used to further the kingdom of heaven. God wants a life that is striving to be aligned with God’s will. God wants lives of worship. Worship is thoroughly entangled in our spirit. Worship that permeates the aperture of our mundanity. That is what worship is. Doesn’t that make you excited? It should, and I hope it does. The best part is that this is only the beginning, the surface, level 1, of what worship is.
 
Grace and peace,
Daniel Hazel

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