Worship is the central event in the life of the church. From dynamic worship will come a zeal for missions, cheerful generosity, steadfast discipleship, and passionate service for the Lord and His kingdom. God has saved us that we may proclaim His excellencies (1 Peter 2:9) by singing His praises, preaching His word, giving tithes and offerings, communing with Him at His table, and edifying His body as we assemble each Lord’s day for public worship. In the Scripture we see several general principles to guide our worship:
- Worship must be truthful. The Lord delights in truth and says we must worship in spirit and in truth. Worship should engage us intellectually without being dry and lifeless. His word is truth and consequently His word must saturate our services.
- Worship must be emotional. That is, worship must involve our hearts and emotions. God often criticized His people for honoring Him with their lips while their hearts were far from Him. Worship need not be wildly emotional but true worship will always touch the heart and have a strong affective influence.
- Worship must be corporate. While not diminishing the importance of individual worship, it is corporate worship that we are commanded to observe (Hebrews 10:25). We need each other and we need to see each other worshiping God. We stimulate each other to love and good deeds when we assemble for worship. The visual and emotional impact upon our lives is immense as we look around the room and see our brothers and sisters and parents and children actively, vocally, and personally giving God the glory due His name.
- Worship should be active. Worship is not a time for the congregation to watch the preacher “do his thing.” It is a time when all of us heed the summons of Almighty God to gather before Him, in both humility and joy, and “crown Him with many crowns.” He is the spectator and we are the active worshipers. The Shorter Catechism says that our chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. John Piper says we glorify God best when we enjoy Him. Therefore, while our services are serious times of “reverence and awe” we always strive to be happy and joyful as we worship our Savior and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ!