By Jeff Arnette
Have you ever heard someone say, “all your church does is worship and study the Bible?”
From their perspective, a church that is not doing some activity every day isn’t doing what it’s supposed to do and is failing in some way. From this perspective, a church that isn’t busy doing what everyone else is doing has somehow missed the boat. I could spend a lot of time talking about cultural expectations and the expectations of those who know very little of God or his will. Yet, what I want you to get is that most people simply don’t understand worship.
Such attitudes prove that they haven’t spent time in the word of God and don’t understand the glory and magnificence of worship. Too many today, have allowed cultural expectations to dictate what worship should be like. They expect worship to be loud, flashy, filled with overwhelming emotions, and leaving you feeling supercharged. The problem is that it isn’t biblical. Plus, if worship is meant to get you excited and wound up and charged up; each service would have to be increasingly more to continue to meet those expectations.
Let me share something from my own experience. When I first became a member of the Lord’s church, my expectation was that worship would be like what I was accustomed to seeing in other churches, especially the Baptist church. That was all I knew and don’t misunderstand me: I am not saying that it was all bad, it had its good parts. I am simply saying that it appealed to the emotional and worldly side of me. It was more like a music concert than a church.
The first worship service I attended in a church of Christ seemed so calm, simple, and to be frank; a little boring. At first, I didn’t like it; simply because it didn’t meet my expectations of what worship was supposed to be. Yet, with a little time, instruction, and respect for God’s will, not mine, I fell in love with a simple and pure approach to worship.
Worship is not a side effect of the church! It is one of the biggest reasons for the church.
I would contend that worship is one of the greatest things a church can do. While the works of the church are an expression of its faith in Jesus and obedience to Him, it is not the primary purpose of a church. Things like evangelism and benevolence are important to our work. Jesus said in Matt. 25, that doing such things was the equivalent of doing them to Him. Yet that is not why the church gathers together.
We gather together to worship, praise and exalt our great Lord and Savior. In fact, Jesus said that God the Father was actively looking for people like this (John 4:23-24). Let me encourage you to read a few passages about this. Read Acts 2:42-46; 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:23-26; 14:16; Heb. 10:24-25.
These are just a few of the wonderful passages that teach us that worship is about the heart, the Spirit, the building up and encouragement of each other, and most importantly, glorifying God for who He is and what He has done for us. Every great thing done by the church, throughout history, started because someone was inspired and set ablaze by the fires of worship. Anytime God’s people came out of her lethargy and pushed forward into Spiritual revival, it was done by worshipers of God.
- Jeff Arnette preaches for the Central Haywood church of Christ, Clyde, NC. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: https://centralhaywoodcoc.com/