Practical Theology Of Worship Series

The epic series continues ...

This post is a continuation of the Practical Theology Of Worship Series.

7 Big Ideas builds upon the introductory concepts that everybody worships something all the time from the context of some story.  There are 3 organizing scriptures from the Biblical narrative that summarize the essential understanding of Christian worship.

The 7 Big Ideas present a framework for organizing the major biblical themes regarding worship. While not exhaustive (the bible is a big book!) they represent a comprehensive overview.

What follows is a brief introduction of each idea, I’ll have future series posts per topic in more depth.

Biblical Foundations of Worship: 7 Big Ideas

1. It’s All About God

Seems so obvious doesn’t it? Of course Christian worship should be all about God. Not about music. Not about pleasing the people who come. Not about attracting people who are not yet coming.

Worship is the love language God wants to hear. It’s how we relate to Him. Worship is when humans give God glory by praising and thanking Him for His goodness, holiness, power and mercy.

One purpose of God-centered worship is to transform the human heart. Worship by design should direct the worshipers focus off of self and onto the One worthy of full attention. That’s honor.

Worship is all about God.

Question: Is our expression of worship all about God?

2. Worship is Trinitarian

Christian worship centers on God’s specific revelation as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Not some vague generic “lord” or ethereal force. How this all works and makes sense is a mystery. The Trinity describes the relational essence of God which is love.

Question: Is our expression of worship Trinitarian?

3. Worship is Christo-centric

The major point of differentiation and defining characteristic of Christian worship is the centrality of Jesus Christ as Son of God, King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Simply put, every Christian worship service should boldly declare in some manner, Jesus is Lord.

Question: Is our expression of worship Christo-centric?

4. The Holy Spirit is alive & well and bigger than our boxes

God is Spirit and worship must be in Spirit and in truth. (John 4:24) It is the presence of the Spirit of God that inspires, enables and empowers Christian worship.

We can produce a technologically awesome, impressive, emotional, audio visual experience, but that doesn’t mean God is in it. We can participate in a theologically perfect liturgy or worship service, but that doesn’t mean God is in it. Casual contemporary or formal tradition makes no difference to the Holy Spirit. He can be present or absent in either.

Question: Is the Holy Spirit leading our expression of worship? How would you know?

5. Patterns & Rhythms

Our lives flow in rhythms and seasons. He designed the patterns of time – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 12 months, 4 seasons to the year, and so on. God is revealed in sacred time and sacred space.

The Biblical narrative prescribes worship at specific times and places. We see this manifest as a weekly Sabbath,  “Remember the Lords day and keep it Holy.” Special times of worship in the Old Testament festivals and the Christian calendar help us deepen our awareness of God throughout the year.

Simply put, God is into calendar.

Question: How is our expression of worship oriented or influenced by the calendar?

6. Actions & Attitudes

It’s not just about what you think, it’s about what you do. Throughout scripture there are specific heart attitudes to be expressed outwardly. “Give thanks” “Shout for joy” “Clap your hands” and so forth.

Sincere participation in the actions of worship helps to change, transform and humble our hearts to produce the attitudes of reverence, faith and joy.

Question: Is our expression of worship rich in biblical actions and attitudes?

7. We Remember & Anticipate (Ancient / Future)

When God’s people gathered together, they re-called the history of God at work in their lives. They remembered “his mighty saving acts.” We remember what God has done.

We remind ourselves who we are , “new creations.”

We anticipate what God is going to do. Jesus is returning. Satan will be defeated.  There will be a new heaven and a new earth. “The Spirit and the bride say come.”

Question: How does our expression of worship remember the past and anticipate the future?

This post represents the tip of the iceberg  regarding these topics. Relationship with God is intended to be enjoyable. I hope this study of biblical worship is a delight for you. It’s certainly helped me in my journey.

Join the conversation as we explore a Practical Theology of Worship.

Question: How would you answer some of these questions?  What would you add or remove from this list? Thanks for sharing in the comments.