When we gather on a weekend, there are many things that are considered: what songs will best connect with the congregation, which ones of those best help to support the message, what does the Lord want to say through worship, how can we make the experience excellent and on and on.
Within that, however, I have a deep desire for the church to know certain things about corporate worship - what it is and what it isn’t. So since you asked (!)… here’s my little list:
1) It’s not about them.
We are so glad that they have come, but if worship is only about pleasing them with the style, the song, the number of songs, the sound, the video… then we’re worshipping those that have come and not Jesus.
2) It’s not about us.
Yes, we work diligently and put a lot of prayer equity, rehearsal and intentional planning into our worship sets and the weekends, but if it is only to showcase our musicianship or vocal ability… then we’re worshipping ourselves and not Jesus.
3) It’s not about the songs.
Worship is a living-it-out demonstration of our relationship with Jesus. While music is one way we can express that, it is certainly not the only way. If worship is focused only on the latest song or the most reverent hymn… then we’re worshipping the song and not Jesus.
4) It’s not about the experience.
Creating an environment where people can freely worship and can do so free from distraction is a certainly an important goal, but if it's only about the lights, or the sound, or the cameras… then we’re worshipping the production and not Jesus.
5) It is all about Him.
A corporate gathering is a time for us to come together to express our love for Him and experience His power and presence. It’s an opportunity to say, ‘Thank you for your goodness in that situation’, or ‘I can see your faithfulness this week’, or ‘I need you, this situation is hard, but it’s drawing me closer to you’. Singing loudly or reverently listening, it’s about connecting our hearts with His, acknowledging His holiness, and allowing Him to specifically speak to us.
While we certainly can have different expressions within corporate worship that include a variety of styles and preferences, it is key that at the core of all of those, details are laid aside and the focus be connecting with Jesus. It is all about Him.
Tara is Greg's girl, mom to two sons of thunder, a hunger fighter, big dreamer and worship pastor at seacoast church.