By Greg Jones
“What is your definition of worship?” That was a question that was asked of me during an interview for a worship leader position. At first I thought, “Where do I even start with such a question?” But then I was reminded of how well Romans 12:1-2 summarizes this subject:
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Worship is giving our all to God. It starts with the giving of our mind and heart. I often lament the fact that the church often tells us to live righteously (what theologians call ‘sanctification) but neglects to tell us how. Meditation and prayer are the keys here. This digestion of God’s very word, as revealed through Christ, is transformative. It will change our behavior (verse 2) over time allowing us to bear the fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-26). We are even promised that we will know God’s perfect will as we experience this transformation. This makes sense to me in light of the fact that our sinful proclivities bias us from knowing truth and God.
Notice the absence of a reference to music. Worship transcends music. Music is simply one vehicle, a very effective one at that, to help us paint a picture. Worship music gives us the imagery of what it looks like to make our life what Casting Crowns calls a ‘life song’.
I think of the story of Cain and Abel (see Genesis 4) where Cain slacked his offering to God but Abel gave nothing less than his very best. Worship calls us to give the best of ourselves to God.
So given these things, what should worship music look like? It should be an artistic expression which paints us the picture of loving God and loving our neighbors according to the greatest two commandments Christ challenged us to live by (see Matthew 22:36-40). It is music that calls us to give our best to God, fueled by passion and tempered by humility. There is no room for mediocrity or pride here.
When we examine worship, also notice that there is no reference to church gatherings. Worship is a 24 hr, 7 day a week calling. It is the giving of our LIVES, not merely the giving of a couple of hours a week on Sunday mornings. Einstein came up with the concept of ‘space time’ where time is tied to space. If our worship is 24/7, what does this say about WHERE we worship? Does this not suggest that our worship expressions should not be limited to the insides of church buildings but rather the true temple is in our very beings? (John 2:18-21).
The Westminster Catechism asks, “What is the chief end of man?” “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” Worship is not just something we do on Sunday mornings but it is our purpose, the very meaning of our lives.
Greg has over ten years of experience serving as a contemporary worship leader at various churches in the Dayton, Ohio area. He is currently a worship leader seeking new worship leader opportunities. Greg is also an adjunct professor of guitar at Cedarville University. He has recorded three albums, The Science of Music (with his former band The Collaboration Element), String Theory, an instrumental guitar oriented rock album and Manifest Destiny, an instrumental piano album.
For more info, check out:
website | The Pendulum Effect Blog | Twitter