This entry begins a week-long series from guest blogger Doug Lee on whole life worship.
When I was leading worship at a large church, I could see how people connected with God in the moment during a worship service. People could worship well in that hour on Sunday, but I found myself wondering how their Monday thru Saturday lives are changed by the experience. Many people were passionate worshippers during the services, but their lives were stalled out, stuck, or somehow superficial with a spirituality that didn’t go very deep. That was my frustration as a worship pastor, and was the impetus for my thinking about whole life worship.
Rom 12:1-2 forms the basis for whole life worship: Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Many people equate worship with music—the style of the songs, the skill of the musicians. Music is a tool, but it’s not synonymous with worship. Equating the quality of the music with worship is actually a very narcissistic way of looking it at. In fact, it’s the opposite of what worship is supposed to be. Worship is a giving of ourselves, not a taking in. Worship is about transformation—in us, in our surroundings, an experience of God’s power to transform and change.
Worship is an inside-out process, and problems arise with any church that is looking at worship as an outward manifestation. That’s the struggle in many traditional churches: we need a product that’s attractive to people trying to find God as well as to people who already know God. Too much focuses on the outside, but the inside remains untouched.
I’ve come up with four different facets or types of worship to try to help us think of worship in a more holistic way: personal worship time, worship in the everyday ordinary, whole life community, and the congregational worship gathering. I look forward to sharing a bit more about each one of these with you over the next few days here on Bob’s blog.