It’s often said that worship is our response to God. In practice, that response is often limited to what God has done in the past, revealed in Scripture. That’s a good place to start, but it falls short.
In addition to responding to what God has done, we are also invited to respond to what God is doing, and to what God will do.
So what’s God doing in the church I serve? And how are we responding?
Over the past two years a new vision for ministry at Redwood has emerged: “We seek a future where people of all ages will find new life in Christ and grow as disciples of Jesus in communities that join God’s mission in the world.”
There are three big elements that support our vision: discipleship, mission and community. As we pursue those elements we hope to become a healthy disciple-making church doing mission through communities we call Community Groups. These mid-size communities meet in homes for fellowship and mission.
What does all that have to do with worship?
We tend to compartmentalize worship into a service comprised of music, singing, a sermon and prayer. After the service ends, our worship ends, or does it? Isn’t worship more than a service? Isn’t it our whole life a response of worship?
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.” Romans 12:1-2 (Message)
The practice of worship in Scripture is both event and life. The events of worship—festivals, synagogue gatherings, and feasts–are events that support a lifestyle of worship that seeks to live in response to what God has done, and is doing.
A church that is intent on growing disciples who disciple others will have a positive impact on the Sunday worship event. As disciples multiply, fewer will see the worship as a compartmentalized service to be consumed. More will experience worship as an extension of their lives. And as Community Groups gain traction to engage in fellowship and mission, there will be more stories of life change to tell in worship, as a response to what God is doing.
Designing a worship service that responds to what God has done and is doing and will do is not easy! But it can be done. What elements do you think are important in a worship service that is responsive to all of God, past, present and future?