Every Christian knows that they are meant to worship in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:24) but why is it that so often we leave the ‘worship’ to the worship leader or worship pastor? For the sake of this blog post, I’m not going to be concentrating on the Church as a whole so much, but on those of you who are in church leadership, especially pastors, vicars, priests and ministers.
God has called you guys to be imitators of Christ, first and foremost. It is that imitation of Christ which makes you a church leader. You can give talks and counsel people and arrange meetings and go through the motions without God. But it is the very fact that your heart, mind, soul and strength are directed towards Christ and are full of love for him that make you a vicar, priest, pastor or whatever. And because you’re called to be imitators of Christ, then you should, naturally, be as Christ is. And Christ is full of worship; because he only does what he sees his father doing.
Worship is direct communication between man and God, and church leaders have the privilege of leading this in church. In fact, it comes with great responsibility. When a man or woman meets God, they are forever changed, and the divine heart of God mixing with the human heart can only have unknown (because all men and women are affected by God in different ways), but life changing consequences. And it’s the job of church leaders to handle worship in a way which doesn’t kill any one (spiritually) or blow them up (because of their ungodly actions), if you see what I mean.
Please can we get away from worship meaning worship songs? It’s silly and completely wrong. Worship is that, but it’s the “Four S’s” that make up worship:
Song: Yes, worship is song directed towards God. It connects the soul and emotions with heavenly things and the worship song is always about God and his wonderful deeds.
Scripture: The reading of Scripture and the exposition of it is also worship. It teaches us about Christ and teaches us doctrine. It brings us closer to God as it teaches us the things that God has chosen to reveal about himself and his plans.
Sacrament: Worship is also sacrament – taking part in the heavenly meal of Communion, being Baptised into God’s family, the Church. Obviously some churches have more than two sacraments, but sacraments in general are pictures and symbols of what Christ is doing in our lives as we draw close to him.
Sacrifice: Ultimately, our worship is full of sacrifice, a living sacrifice. As I said originally, we are to be imitators of Christ if we are to worship in spirit and in truth. This can’t happen without sacrifice. It means laying ourselves down, and picking up Christ and everything that comes with him. I don’t have to tell you what this means, because when we truly worship, we definitely know what it means, and it doesn’t come easy!
As Church leaders, we need to be very sure that we are keeping the Four S’s as our daily practice. It’s so easy to neglect worship to the point that we rock up to church and just go through the motions. And believe me, church congregations know when clergy are going through the motions. We have a great privilege, whatever church leadership position we are in, to lead God’s people into worship. We must never take it for granted. And the minute we do, it is the start of the end of our church leadership. I’m serious. Because being in church leadership is all about worship. And the ‘leading’ is getting others, our church community to worship too.
We’ll have a mightily difficult job to enthuse our churches to worship if we ourselves aren’t worshipping in Spirit and in Truth. So my challenge for myself and to you today is to take stock of where we’re at in worship. Do you need to say sorry? Are we missing one of the four S’s? If so, then sort it out. I need to sort myself out every day. And it’s not a bad thing to do. Because we all need sorting out!
But in the sorting out, remember that you’ll be worshipping. Worship involves a lot of breaking and repairing. Next time you are at the front and God’s presence fills your church, just look around. You’ll see breaking and repairing happening all over the place, because when the Divine meets the Human, there can only be life changing, but unknown consequences!
What do you have difficulty with in worship? Have I left something out? Let me know in the comments!
Dean is a Minister in the Anglican Church. Currently he is Curate in the parishes of Bedwas, Machen, Michaelston-y-Fedw and Rudry in South Wales. He was born and bred in Wales, is married to Megan, and has two dogs called Taliesin and Melyn, and two cats named Sinsir and Hâf. He graduated from Cardiff University with a BA Hons. in Theology & Religious Studies, and has studied for an MA in Theology, Ministry & Mission at Trinity College Bristol. He also holds a Cert.RSCM from the Royal School of Church Music. He loves playing music, walking, reading, blogging and horse riding as well as going to the cinema and theatre.
Read More @ http://deanroberts.net/about
(Came across your blog via the Christian New Media Finalists page… we’re going head to head, it would seem. In an entirely Christian way…)
Just a comment regarding worshiping ‘in Spirit and in Truth’ – what do you think that means? How does it work?
Also, one of the delights of discovering liturgy, for me, was finding that it allows us to worship even when we’re not feeling particularly holy, or enthusiastic. It’s a good thing God knows us, right?
Thanks for your thoughts – and keep up the good work!
Hey mate! Ahh wow! Congratulations! I totally wasn’t expecting to be in the final, but there we go. God works in mysterious ways! I wish you all the best 🙂 Also subscribed to your blog too! 🙂
So what do I think worshipping in Spirit and in Truth means?
I think both words have double meanings. So, to worship in Spirit is to worship in the Spirit, i.e, to worship with the heart that Christ has. To worship him with the aid of the Holy Spirit. But it also means to worship with a spirit of integrity and willingness of the soul.
To worship in Truth is, for me, to worship in Christ who is our truth, but also to worship with honesty and sincerity. That we say what we mean etc.
I guess this links to your comment about liturgy, and that sometimes we don’t feel passionate. It’s crazy how God knows us, isn’t it?! But I think part of our worship is being honest with God when we aren’t ‘feeling it’. Our whole lives are to be a sacrifice, even the rubbish parts. And to surrender all that to God is a very intimate act of worship for me!
Thanks for commenting, David. 🙂
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