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The Five Words of Worship

The Five Words of Worship

Chuck Fromm

“Music is the handmaiden of theology.”  

Martin Luther’s simple saying speaks volumes about the way in which  a song can reveal the truth of God to the human heart more clearly and  completely than any theological treatise.

At the same time, the Great Reformer provided a profound insight into  the role of today’s worship leaders in shaping and directing the unique  expression of that truth for individual church communities, from their  hometown to the farthest corners of the world.

Simply put, and whether they know it or not, musicians, songwriters  and worship leaders are functioning as teachers and theologians wherever  and whenever their music embodies the unity of the faith within the rich  diversity of Christ’s Body. Today’s worship music, in all its variety, gives  voice to the many ways God reveals Himself within a church, a city or a  culture.

In an age when information is transmitted and received through  a myriad of different mediums, the stereotypical contrast between  the scholarly, erudite and intellectual theologian and the emotional,  instinctive and inspired musician has lost its distinction. Ready or not,  worship leaders have become theologians, creating webs of meaning and  connection through lyrics and melodies.  

And, while music may encompass an encyclopedic array of styles  and sensibilities, its ability to convey deep theological truth can best be  expressed in five rich and resonant words, deeply rooted in the history of  the church and continually relevant to its future.

Those Five Words Of Worship are the subject of this Worship Leader  Resource Guide, a practical introduction to the way in which their meaning  and significance is essential to any well-balanced worship experience.  

Hallelujah 

Hosanna 

Abba 

Maranatha 

Amen 

These five words together comprise the full range of worship music’s  theological function and, by extension, all the devotional arts. Worship  leaders who seek to understand and embrace their role as theologians  can find no better place to begin than with a thoroughgoing study of these  five words. Within them are the riches of worship as first expressed in  Scripture. 

And from that understanding arises our creatively distinctive  expressions of modern worship. To say that the Five Words of Worship  are the basis for music’s theological value is not to say that such value is  expressed the same way in every place, at all times. Quite the opposite:  the impact of worship is most effectively expressed at a local level, in  communities bound by unique experiences and expectations. Authentic  worship rises in that context and expresses universal truth in the words  and music of that specific locality.  

The role of the worship leader as theologian is simple but not easy: it  is to worship in a manner pleasing to God and meaningful to the people.  And it all begins with five powerful words.

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The 5 Words of Worship Articles: 

  1.  Hallelujah

  2.  Abba

  3.  Maranatha

  4.  Hosanna

  5. Amen

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