Which of the following is true worship?

  • A mega church rocking with amped-up music and a talented team of professional musicians jamming on instruments.
  • Finely dressed churchgoers sitting mildly in rows of wooden pews while soft organ music plays a slow, sad song.
  • A coffee shop group of young people wearing designer jeans, sipping lattes, and sitting around discussing what the Bible means to them.
  • Thirty people in a crumbling mud hut in Sub-Saharan Africa, holding a group discussion as to how they might be able to obtain a copy of the Bible for their “church.”

I’m not going to answer the question as to which of those scenarios is true worship. Instead, we need to talk about worship and what constitutes true worship. So often, we think more about what to do in worship rather than what worship is. Specifically, we want to understand how to keep God at the center of our worship.

Enhance, Not Distract

Everything about worship—music, video, amplification, attire, decorations, atmosphere, climate, seating, length, content—must serve to enhance worship, not distract from it.

Creative, Not Distractive

One of the biggest distractions to worship is one that is really hard to spot. It’s the distraction of the absent mind. Let me explain. So often, we think of “distraction” in worship as something that takes our attention away from one thing and turns it onto something that is noticeably distracting, such as major feedback from the sound system, a typo in the bulletin, or the pastor wearing mismatched socks. But “distraction” is also the absence of anything interesting. It is worship that allows our minds to check out and just go along with the flow. If the worship fails to engage minds, it is distracting. A distraction is anything that causes minds to be disengage from where those minds ought to be. A boring worship service is just as distracting as a vocalist who forgot the words to the song or a microphone pole falling over in the middle of a song. The distraction of the disengaged mind is a detriment to worship.

For that reason, worship should be interesting.

Which leads us to a big question—how do we keep worship interesting? Great question. Without answering it directly, here is one point you must remember:

Worship Is All About God.

Keep in mind that worship is not a human-devised event that we can manipulate. Worship can take place anywhere and anytime—regardless of the setting or religious accoutrements. Worship can be just as meaningful and God honoring in a mud hut in Tanzania as it can be in a soaring cathedral in Germany. Worship can take place as when ten believers sing (inharmoniously) to the accompaniment of a leather drum. Worship can also take place when 120 trained musicians, decked out in beautiful robes, sing gloriously with a full orchestra and multimillion dollar pipe organ.

The Main Ingredient of Worship is Focus on God

Worship is adoration. Worship is ascribing to God His worth. Worship is reverencing God. Worship is exalting God. Worship is thanking God. Worship is praising God. Worship is honoring God. Worship is glorifying God. Worship is treasuring God. Worship is extolling God.

Worship is a big deal to God, and it’s important that we make Him a big deal if we claim to be worshipping Him.

In Short, Worship Is Not about Us. It’s All About God.

Worship is a theme worth spending some time on. Keep posted this week as we discuss more about worship.

About The Author

Daniel Threlfall

Daniel Threlfall has been writing church ministry articles for more than 10 years. With his background and training (M.A., M.Div.), Daniel is passionate about inspiring pastors and volunteers in their service to the King. Daniel is devoted to his family, nerdy about SEO, and drinks coffee with no cream or sugar. Learn more about Daniel at his blog and twitter.

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2 Responses

  1. Florence Johnson

    This was absolutely awesome article. It expressed my sentiments exactly. I really love your site. I joined totally on my own as the person in my former church who took care of all of the media for our church, bulletins,programs etc. I have experienced both examples you suggested in the above article Being God centered is the only way. I am currently living in another state and haven’t found a church home yet nevertheless I want to maintain my membership and will rejoin again soon. Keep up the good work.

    Minister Florence Carlene Johnson

  2. Virginia Gilbert

    I see worship as maintaining a relationship with God. I don’t see God “demanding” praise or adoration, but I do agree that worship is important to God, because God wants a relationship with each of us. And we need a relationship with God.
    The manifestations of worship are as varied as individuals and culture in humanity, and our individual and cultural understandings of God. “True” worship varies with the context. But “true” God is constant (although our understanding of God varies).