5. Worship

CORe churches worship God with relevant teaching, expression, and application.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:16–17)


Additional Bible texts:

Genesis 4:1-16 (Conflict about worship)

John 4:19-26 (Spirit and truth)

Revelation 4:1-11 (Worship in heaven)

Revelation 14:6-13 (Call to worship)

Humans were created for worship. The church worships together and individually. Worship focuses a person on God, but it also needs to remain grounded in the life of the individual. Often churches only allow worship to take place in way that is applicable to the lives of the older members of the church. In this way young people are not allowed to experience true worship.

CORe churches focus on inclusive worship. They understand that different groups have different needs and create worship that is relevant for all. The teachings in this worship are applicable to the daily life of the members, and their expression is understandable and meaningful.

CORe churches make sure that young people are included in worship.

CORe churches worship God with relevant teaching, expression, and application.

Thought

Thomas Rasmussen, Denmark

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do every-thing in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:16–17)


When we open our Bibles it does not take long to discover that worship is at the centre of our human experience. Even the very first conflict is about worship. Often worship can turn into a matter of conflict in our churches, but what if our focus was not on each other, but rather on God?

Throughout the Bible we read how a worship experience leads people to God. It is not meant to divide and to make people question each other. Look at the story of Solomon building the temple. When in awe they stand and look at the temple filled with the presence of God, Solomon prays, and when he prays the people are reminded that God is a God who hears and forgives.

One of the things that pains the Jews during the Exile is being separated from their centre of worship – the temple. But during the conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan woman, Jesus explains how the time is coming when it is not about where we worship, but how we worship – in spirit and in truth. That time is now. What does that mean? It means that worship must be about more than the Sabbath morning service. We no longer have a temple, we are living temples, and so when people meet us, do they experience people who hear them, who forgive them, who love them? Just like Solomon said reminded the Israelites when he built the original temple.

It also means that when we worship on Sabbath morning, we must be relevant in our teaching, expression and application. How do we do this? That is up to you to figure out in your local church. Through conversation, find out why people come to church. Figure out why some people do not come to church:

  • Has what we do become irrelevant? Are we no longer leading people to God?
  • Why do we sing the songs we do? And do we understand the songs that we sing?
  • Are we just going through the motions? Or are we thanking and praising God?
  • Why do we pray? Do we come before God with thankfulness in our hearts? Or are we full of requests of what we want Him to do next?

When I was in my late teens, I remember inviting a couple of my friends to church. It took me a while to gather the courage to do so, and it was years after that before I thought about doing it again. It was so embarrassing. The entire sermon was just meaningless. And it certainly was not about God. One of my friends actually asked me – is it usually like this? And thankfully I could say: No, it’s not. I’m sorry.

How do you worship? And why? How would young people in your church answer that question? What can you do to truly worship in spirit and truth?

Discussion

  • What types of worship can you name (music is not the only type worship)?
  • What does Jesus' words 'worship in spirit and in truth' mean? (John 4)
  • What does God ask of us when it comes to worship?
  • Is your worship relevant to all your members?

Implementation questions

  • What do you already do to worship God relevantly?
  • Are there elements of your church’s culture that need changing to achieve relevant worship in your ministry?
  • Can you implement at least 3 of the suggestions below?
  • What is achievable to make your worship more relevant within the next 12 months?

Suggestions for implementation

  • Intentionally include as many young people as possible in the worship of the church.
  • Create a varied worship experience that appeals to wide audience.
  • Be intentional in choosing the lyrics in song selection, make sure the members can understand what they are singing.
  • Create a worship committee that is responsible for leading the church in worship.
  • Involve young people in planning your teaching plan and its evaluation.
  • Instruct preachers to remain relevant and include practical teachings.
  • Involve young people in planning visitor services.
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