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One has defined worship as "that honor and adoration which are rendered to God because of what He is in Himself, and what He means to those who render it" (jnd). We desire to take a look at effective corporate worship in contrast with modern practices where that which is paramount includes:

  • The lighting
  • The mood & atmosphere
  • The music and its tempo
  • The big crowd
  • The emotion & feelings
  • The worship leader
  • The favorite preacher/speaker
  • The worship band
  • The "performance"
  • The lyrics that emphasize "wanting more"
  • The hypnotic repetition of phrases and cadence

One would be hard pressed to see much of this at all in scripture.  One person who came out of a movement that used music in such "worship meetings" as a method of crowd control has said, "I will not sing repetitive short verses any more because of what I have seen and heard in .....(that movement)...."


We would emphasize instead two aspects important in the corporate worship meetings, and in doing so we first point out that only regenerate (saved) people can worship.


1. Substance matters   Colossians 3:16   "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord"  It is clear that sound doctrine and even admonition are part of appropriate worship lyrics. In a day where the hymnal is frequently jettisoned, perhaps a great deal is being lost.  When popular music types, or a worship team or leader are the center of worship, it is difficult to have Christ as the center, and even more difficult to meet the tests of Col 3:16. One may suggest that a worship leader isn't the center, one merely has to gaze with the eyelids open to see it is otherwise.


2. Congregational singing matters  Revelation 5:11 "then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, they said with a loud voice:  “Worthy is the Lamb..."  That which comes from a band limits much to itself and usually exalts the band and its "performance".  That which is led of the worship leader often centers on him (not to mention the even less biblical her in such a role) and can be the snare of pride and self exaltation.


There is a pathway that is simpler. Let us consider a return to the basics. Consider the following:

  • The saints all come together at the appointed time and place of meeting
  • They enter in reverence, preparing to bring forth that which they have fed on during the week.
  • They gather in simplicity around the bread and wine for remembrance
  • The Holy Spirit is depended upon to lead in what is said, what is sung, and what is read
  • The brothers respond and stand, one here, one there...
  • One speaks to the Father about the Son on behalf of the congregation
  • Another reads a scripture portion and comments (not in teaching mode but in lifting up the Son)
  • Yet another asks that a hymn be sung, a song that the congregation can and does sing in unison, even a-capella, for it is not essential to have accompaniment.
  • There is no human pastor leading this time
  • There is no human worship leader directing this time
  • The sisters do not lead nor speak, but sing & worship with covered heads testifying to the angelic host of the glory and headship of Christ, a testimony that the men cannot give. What a precious role.
  • All is done decently and in order..despite no human "leader"
  • Christ is the centre
  • The elements of the Lord's Supper are passed around
  • After the time of worship and remembrance is a time of exhortation from scripture, followed by preaching from them so gifted.

Think this is impossible?  It is not. But when we desire and then allow human pride & practices and our human preferences to intrude, they become permanent fixtures that tend to an eventual dead ritual. For a season it pleases the senses and emotions like a concert, but its end is far from worship. 


Beware of pride.




article adapted from several sources.