In my other post, A New Definition Of Worship Big Enough To Live In, I unpacked a way of defining worship that wasn’t limited to Sunday mornings, music, or worship conferences. Based on that definition, we have 4 fresh ways we can begin to talk about worship. In my view, any pastor or worship leader who is not expanding their way of talking about worship beyond music and services is inadvertently malforming the communities they lead. The Christian worship music industry is not, in many ways, helping.
A Refresher On Our New Definition Of Worship
For the Christian, we are responding with loving allegiance to God the Father, by expressing our allegiance to the Son, Jesus Christ. We express this by focusing our daily, and corporate activities, on elevating God and making Him famous.
“Worship is a response of loving allegiance (the reason)
To God (our Loving Father and Creator of Life),
The Lord Jesus Christ (the Resurrected Son of God and Returning Savior),
And the Holy Spirit (the Indwelling Comforter and Advocate)
By focusing all activities of the human spectrum (the action)
On His ultimate honor (the result).”
Here, worship is a response to God’s approach of love to us in Christ Jesus. For the Christian, the worship relationship is initiated by the Father, through the work of the Son, and Christ Himself acts toward us in love through the Holy Spirit (Webber).
4 Fresh Ways Of Talking About Worship
Armed with this wider, more expansive definition, four fresh terms will now help us distinguish between the various expressions through which we have the privilege of responding to God’s initiative of love.
These clarifications, I hope, will allow us to keep the melody of worship the melody, and the accompaniment of worship in its rightful place. These terms are not all “new,” but they are clarified and categorized in this list of terms to help us find fresh and meaningful language with which to speak about worship.
Those terms are:
1) Life Worship (the melody of worship, what God is after),
2) Gathered Worship (the harmony to Life Worship, what supports our life offering),
3) Family Worship (the harmony to Life Worship, what supports our family’s devotion), and
4) Personal Worship (the harmony to Life Worship, what supports our own devotion).
Language changes everything, and I believe, if we will shift our language to something that approximates these 4 categories, we will get out of some of the wayward patterns and practices we have related to worship, and get back to something more magical, more human, and more expansive than we ever dreamed.
[For those who want to go deeper, I unpack all of these in Worship White Noise, and their implications for every pastor, worship leader, songwriter, radio, music industry, Christian college, and other Christian leader.]