Elements of Worship – Series

Many of my articles on worship are based on re-thinking, or challenging our thinking, about worship and related topics.  I try to balance theory and practice, but I know that my tendency is to spend more time on theological and philosophical matters than on the practical matters of how our actual practice of worship should be affected.

With that in mind, I will begin a series considering what I call the elements of worship.  Just so we’re all on the same page, I’d like to define elements as the particular ingredients or pieces that make up a worship service.  When we bake a cake, we use many ingredients (plural) to ultimately create a cake (singular).  When we assemble a car, there are many pieces and parts that go into making one vehicle.  When we plan a worship service, there are many elements that result in a singular event.

The need for planning is obvious, and certainly the Apostle Paul teaches us that public worship in the church is to be “done properly and in an orderly manner” (1 Corinthians 14:40).  But what does that really mean when we come to think about the various elements of a worship service?  How do we know what these parts of the service should be?  And, once we figure out what pieces should be included in worship, how do we know what makes up any particular piece of the service?

In coming weeks I will discuss these ideas, with the intention of looking at specific elements each week.  Some of these will include:  the prelude, prayer, announcements, call to worship, the sermon, Scripture reading, special music, congregational singing, and more.  In doing so, I would like to dismantle each carefully with the idea that once we put things back together, we will have a more complete, integrated worship experience

Let me preface this series to remind my readers that each specific aspect of a worship service serves a greater purpose.  Although many feel that the sermon is the main point of worship, this is not a biblical or balanced view.  Even the sermon serves the greater purpose of the worship service.  It is part of the whole.  There may be a focus on a theme, or a specific doctrine, but ultimately worship is for helping the gathered community connect with Christ through the Word (Him to Us), for responding to His Word (Us to Him), and to encourage and admonish one another (Us to Each Other).  See my post here for a full consideration of this concept (or visit my bookstore here and order “The Life of Worship”).

 

For more of Mark’s writing, see his book list at http://www.marksooy.com/books_store/

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Posted on January 12, 2015, in Christian Worldview, Content of Worship, Corporate Worship, Leadership, theology, Worship Leader and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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