Tuesday, September 08, 2015

4 Ways to be a Prepared and Passionate Worshiper

Written by Lauren Sullivan and Matt Wooley

Here is the bottom line from our last post on the purpose of spiritual growth:

The purpose of spiritual growth as a follower of Jesus is to be free to make much of God and to make much of others.

One of the main ways we make much of God is by worshiping Him. (Worship is much more than singing in church, but that’s the expression of it we’re discussing here).

Many discussions about worship in the Christian church revolve around personal experience and personal preference. At some point, we have probably all evaluated corporate worship based on what we get out of it. But what if corporate worship wasn’t about us--at least not in the way we might think?

What if our perspective changed completely,
and we began to ask ourselves if
God was pleased with our worship
rather than if we were pleased with our worship?

And what if we asked if God was pleased
not with the sound of our voices,
but with the posture of our own hearts
as we worshiped?

Seriously… think about that.

What if we recognized
that there are real forces (seen and unseen)
working against us as we worship God
and seek to be prepared and engaged worshipers?

What if the point of gathering
to worship was to sing these timeless, beautiful truths
to the people around us
--to remind and encourage one another?

Seriously… think about that too! 

How are you doing with all these rhetorical questions?  Too many?  One more?

If spiritual growth is about being free to make much of God... and corporate worship is fundamentally about making much of God... doesn’t it make sense that preparing for and engaging in worship well will help shape us and grow us as the people of God?

Hopefully these questions are a starting point to think differently about corporate worship.

For some practical application, here are 4 things you can try to be a more prepared and passionate worshiper:

1.  PRAY -- God desires for His people to worship Him! To worship Him well, we need His help (cf. John 15:4-5). So, ask God to help you enter into worship!

Pray Saturday night. Pray Sunday morning. Pray when you’re driving to church. Pray when the service starts. Pray as you sing. Basically, never stop praying! Prayer keeps us connected to our Father and prepares our hearts to worship Him.

2.  PUMP UP THE VOLUME -- Or don’t. But play music that focuses your heart and mind on Jesus throughout the week! Music is a powerful conduit for connection with God. In his book Worship Matters, Bob Kauflin says,
“Music stirs up and expresses God-glorifying emotions. Our deepest, strongest, purest affections should be reserved for God himself, and he gave us singing to help us express them.”
So, don’t let Sunday morning be the only time you hear and sing worship songs! Here is a link to a Spotify playlist with some of the songs we sing at Hillside on Sunday mornings, and you can look for other links to new songs on our Facebook page.

3.  REMEMBER WHY YOU’RE SINGING -- There is a reason why we gather on Sunday mornings and use our voices to sing praise to God. The reason is, “Christ died for our sins to bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). That’s it!  The most life-changing truth there will ever be. It is because of the good news of the Gospel that we can now worship the living God! After leading worship for over 30 years, Kauflin says,
“I have never found a truth that more consistently, powerfully, or rightly calls forth the passionate praises of God’s people.” 
Passionate worship isn’t just a feeling or physical expression, it comes from the transformed hearts of God’s people who have been saved through Christ.

There is a cross up front at Hillside for a reason! This symbol reminds us of why we gather: because of what Jesus has done. As we focus on the cross and remember the good news of the Gospel, we can respond with passionate praise and humble worship, offering our hearts to God once again.

4.  SING FOR THE SAKE OF THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU -- It’s likely that some of the people around you on any given Sunday need to be reminded of the truth of the Gospel and the greatness of the God. You’re not singing just for yourself--you can do that in the shower or in your car! But when we gather with others to worship, we are singing to God and we’re singing to one another.  We all need to hear the truth you're singing.

Bless those around you by engaging in gathered worship. Maybe you know them, maybe you don’t. Maybe they know the Gospel, maybe they don’t. Our gathered worship is a witness to one another and to a watching world. God is worthy of our praise!

  • What kind of help do we all need to grow? 
  • Are discipleship and outreach really two separate things? 

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