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The significance of worship for the Great Commission

This article first appeared on The Artistic Theologian, the online theological journal of Southwestern Seminary’s School of Church Music.

The Lord Jesus Christ gave the church its commission before he ascended to his Father:

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matt 28:19–20)

How public worship fits into this commission is often a matter of confusion. On the one hand are those who make every church service an evangelistic meeting and consider worship something we’ll do in heaven some day. On the other hand are those who insist that the purpose of a church service is for believers to authentically worship God, and evangelism should happen outside the four walls of the church building.

I would like to suggest that the relationship between worship and evangelism is actually more complementary than either of these perspectives imply. Rather than pitting worship and evangelism against each other, we should shape corporate worship in such a way that it is itself profoundly evangelistic.

What is Worship?

I should begin with a brief explanation of the nature of worship. Worship is drawing near to God in fellowship with him and obedience to him such that he is magnified and glorified.

This idea of drawing near to God in worship permeates the storyline of Scripture. It is what Adam and Eve enjoyed as they walked with God in the cool the day (Gen. 2:8). It is described in Exodus 19:17 when Moses “brought the people out of the camp to meet God” at the foot of Mt. Sinai. He had told Pharaoh to let the people go so that they might worship their God in the wilderness, and this is exactly what they intended to do at Sinai. It is what Psalm 100 commands of the Hebrews in Temple worship when it says, “Come into his presence with singing and into his courts with praise.” It is what Isaiah experienced as he entered the heavenly throne room of God and saw him high and lifted up. To draw near to God is to enter his very presence in fellowship and obedience.

God created people to worship him.

Ultimately, this is why God created people. God created the world to put on display the excellencies of his own glory, and he created people therein that they might witness that glory and praise him for it. In Isaiah 43:6–7 God proclaims,

Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.

READ
Music is for people, not God

Likewise, Paul commands in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “Whether you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do all for the glory of God.”

Worship—magnifying God’s worth and glory—is the reason God made us.

Sin is failure to worship God.

Adam and Eve’s fall into sin—their disobedience of God’s commandments—was essentially failure to magnify the worthiness of God to be their master and bring him glory, and thus it was a failure to worship him acceptably. This broke the communion they enjoyed with God and propelled them out from the sanctuary of his presence. After they sinned, and they heard God walking in the garden, “the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God” (Gen 3:8)—they recognized their unworthiness to walk with him. Their sin created a separation between them and their Creator, and they were forced to leave the sanctuary (Gen 3:23–24), never again able to draw near to the presence of God.

All sin is essentially failure to bring God glory (Rom 3:23)—it is failure to worship him. This failure creates barriers from drawing near to God in worship, and it brings with it severe punishment: eternal separation from the presence of God in hell.

Christ’s sacrifice enables those who trust in him to worship rightly once again.

Sin prevents us from drawing near to God in worship; it prevents us from doing what we were created to do.

However, worship is possible through a sacrifice, the vicarious, substitutionary atonement of the Son of God. Sacrifices in the Mosaic system pictured this kind of atonement, but they were unable to “make perfect those who draw near” (Heb 10:1).

But this sacrifice can perfect those who draw near. Jesus is fully man, and thus he can stand as our substitute, and he is fully God, and thus he can pay an eternal punishment to an eternal, holy God that no normal man could. And because of the perfection and eternality of this sacrifice, it need not be offered day after day after day to atone for sin; it is offered one time and the complete wrath of God is fully appeased.

This is what God pictured when he slew the animal in the garden and covered Adam and Eve’s guilt. This is what was pictured when Moses offered a sacrifice at the foot of Mt. Sinai so that the elders of the people could approach God. This is what was pictured each year in Israel on the Day of Atonement when an animal was sacrificed and the high priest entered the holy place to sprinkle blood on the mercy seat. This is what was pictured when the seraph took a burning coal from the altar and placed it on Isaiah’s lips, saying, “your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”

READ
How corporate worship is and is not like a baseball game

And this is pictured no more beautifully than with what happened at the moment of Christ’s death. The gospel accounts of the crucifixion tell us that Jesus cried out with a loud voice and gave up his spirit, and at that exact moment, the veil of the temple was torn in two, as if that veil was the body of the Son of God himself prohibiting entrance into the presence of a holy God, and that access that had been lost by the fall of man is now restored! There is now a new and living way (Heb 10:20) to draw near to God, and that way is his Son.

Thus those who repent of their sin—their failure to worship—and put their faith and trust in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on their behalf are saved from separation from God and enabled once again to draw near to him in worship!

The gospel is a call to return to right worship.

What should be apparent is that the essence of worship is itself the language of the gospel—a drawing near to God in relationship with him, made impossible because of sin that demands eternal judgment, yet restored through the substitutionary atonement of the God-man for those who place their faith in him. The gospel of Jesus Christ makes worship possible.

The gospel—the good news of Christ’s death on our behalf—is a call for people return to the reason for their existence; it is a plea to accept the simple truths, repent of failure to worship God aright, and call out for forgiveness.

This is what we are called to do as we make disciples of all nations. When we preach the gospel, we are proclaiming the worthiness of God to be praised, the inability of sinners to draw near to a holy God, and the forgiveness that is possible through faith in Christ’s atoning work.

In corporate worship, believers reenact this gospel.

Because this faith in Christ requires belief in facts about Christ and his work and trust in him as Savior and Lord, evangelism requires preaching the gospel:

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? (Rom 10:14)

But corporate worship also proclaims the gospel, not that the sermon and hymns will necessarily always be explicitly evangelistic, but in the act of corporate worship itself. Corporate worship is the public acting out of the spiritual realities of worship; it is a dramatic re-creation of drawing near to God through Christ by faith.

READ
Worship isn't just something we do; it is where God does something to us.

In other words, a worship service can be structured so that it proclaims the gospel simply in its order, whether or not the content of the hymns or sermon is explicitly evangelistic. Such a gospel-shaped worship order will look something like this:

  1. Revelation: God Making Himself Known to Us
  2. Adoration: Exalting Our Glorious God
  3. Confession: Lifting Contrite Hearts to the Lord
  4. Assurance of Pardon: Forgiveness Through Jesus Christ
  5. Proclamation: God Speaking Through His Word
  6. Dedication: Responding to the Word of God
  7. Supplication Praying for the Church and the World
  8. Commission: God Sending Us Forth to Serve Him

This basic flow of a worship service (one that has characterized worship in many traditions for centuries) reflects the flow of the gospel: God reveals himself in his Word (Revelation), which leads a person to recognize God’s greatness (Adoration) and his own sinfulness. He then confesses his sin and puts his faith in Christ (Confession), which leads to forgiveness in the gospel through the merits of Christ (Assurance of Pardon). This Christian is now ready to hear God’s Word (Proclamation) and obey (Dedication), bringing his burdens before the Lord (Supplication) and ready to go into the world to serve God and fulfill the Great Commission (Commission).

This reenactment of the Gospel in corporate worship is profoundly evangelistic.

Structuring worship services in this way both allows believers to truly draw near to God through Christ by faith, which is the primary purpose of a worship service, and ensures that unbelievers who attend the service will always be confronted with the gospel.

Corporate worship and evangelism are, therefore, not mutually exclusive. The gospel is what makes worship possible, and gospel-shaped corporate worship is evangelistic.

If churches would return to this kind of corporate worship, they might see more examples of what Paul hoped for the Corinthian church when an unbeliever witnessed their worship:

He is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you. (1 Cor 14:24–25)

Scott Aniol

About Scott Aniol

Scott Aniol is the founder and Executive Director of Religious Affections Ministries. He is Chair of the Worship Ministry Department at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he teaches courses in ministry, worship, hymnology, aesthetics, culture, and philosophy. He is the author of Worship in Song: A Biblical Approach to Music and Worship, Sound Worship: A Guide to Making Musical Choices in a Noisy World, and By the Waters of Babylon: Worship in a Post-Christian Cutlure, and speaks around the country in churches and conferences. He is an elder in his church in Fort Worth, TX where he resides with his wife and three children.

38 Responses to The significance of worship for the Great Commission

  1. I agree when it is said that “corporate worship and evangelism, are therefore, not mutually exclusive.” It should be a balanced service focusing on the transcendence of God the Father and the immanence of Jesus Christ, always remembering that there is no worship except through the blood of Jesus.
    Paul thought that nonbelievers might “hear the gospel, become aware of his sin” (1 Cor 14) but if they didn’t was it because the nonbelievers don’t see how the believers reverence Him? Is it because they do not see believers in the service engaged in worship?

  2. Amen. The 1 Corinthians 14 passage was part of what I referred to in the last discussion. It tells us that edification/understanding for believers and unbelievers is really important. This Gospel-shaped worship order is great. It also reiterates what I was discussing with Martin in the last discussion. Having these Gospel “pieces” is a wonderful way to keep it implanted in our worship practices, but also not to be the exact same message week after week. God desires for all to come to know Him, (1 Timothy 2:4) for the first time, and He also desires for us to grow deeper in our knowledge of Him/theology (Hebrews 6:1).

    Krystle–further up in the passage, Paul is discussing the value of prophecy. The people are speaking in different languages (tongues) without interpretation, and that is really confusing, especially to an unbeliever who may walk into the church gathering. In verse 23, he says that if everyone was speaking in different languages, then some unbeliever would think they were cray cray. So, Paul is saying that prophecy, as opposed to uninterpreted speaking in tongues, is not only comprehensive for the unbeliever, but is also full of God’s truth that can convict the unbeliever of his sin! Awesomeness!

  3. This dramatic recreation of worship is spot on for a biblical liturgy of worship. The end all purpose is glorifying God and evangelism is something God then does through us. How can we properly evangelize a God we don’t know? I believe this model, also seen in the Isaiah 6 model, so properly balances and shapes worship after a reenactment of the gospel.

    The core really is the gospel. If our liturgy is shaped around the reenactment of the gospel than every Sunday we are training our minds to stay focused on the purpose and the essentials of worship and that illustrate drawing near to God by the grace of his son’s propitiation for our sins. This model really puts purpose behind everything we do in worship as the body of Christ. It is not based on our personal preferences or popular culture but biblical reenactment. It is so intentional and focused on God and God alone.

    I agree with you Laura about worship being intelligible. The Isaiah 6 model really brings the core of the gospel front and center. Reenacting the Gospel is a consistent reminder of truth and brings us to worship not based on how we are feeling that day but worshipping in obedience and glorifying our creator. It is a witness in it of itself for non-believers in attendance. I do not see the need to trick non-believers into Christianity because it’s cool-just like the world. This concept of attraction is simply denying the power of the Holy Spirit to move the hearts and minds of those of the world witnessing worship that is supposed to be something completely separate from the world.

    I was discussing with my husband last night on where we stood in our beliefs in regards to governing purpose, purpose of worship, doctrinal content, view of culture and liturgy. We were convicted that God truly cares about how He wants to be worshipped according to scripture and even though worship isn’t as clearly laid out in scripture as 1, 2, 3, there are many examples of what 1, 2, 3, could look like. I shared with him my two fears. One being that on judgment day Jesus would say to me that I missed the whole point in worship and the specifics of worship weren’t as critical as I made them out to be, or two, I worshipped Him in vain and knowing truth from scripture on how God calls us to worship, I didn’t obey God’s instructions.

    My goal is to worship God in spirit and in truth; to continue to test my actions in worship and my purpose in it all. As soon as my worship practices or heart strays from God’s clear design for worship (Bringing glory to His name) I must come back to Him in prayer, with a willing heart to worship Him in the way he has called me to.

    Relating this to evangelism- I see it as fruit of this true worship. It is a result not an action (in regards to the worship of a corporate body of believers). The act of evangelism was designed not for worship but for going out and proclaiming God. However it doesn’t mean evangelism can’t happen in a service. Even if God chooses to bring people to faith in a service, it’s simply not the purpose of worship; it’s the result of worship.

  4. During last week discussion, I posted that a true worship will reflect gospel. While I was writing it, I was thinking of how should worship be structured in order to reflect the gospel in a logical sequence. Thank You Dr. Aniol for outlining it for us.
    Laura, I believe .that if a pastor or a worship leader follows this structure, using the same message week after week will not happen. There are so much to teach about the gospel. On top of these, we all are a BIG BIG SINNER. A pastor just needs to teach about one sin a week he will already has more than enough of topic to preach on.

  5. This is a great outline of biblical worship! I really believe that nowadays the church tries so hard to be “cutting edge” in our evangelism that we miss the mark in worship. Evangelism should be considered, but should not be the sole focus of worship. This “letting the tail wag the dog” should be the byproduct of correct worship.

    Ai-chin, I think I know where you are coming from, but I would like to clarify really quickly. You say, “A pastor just needs to teach about one sin a week he will already has more than enough of topic to preach on.” However, a particular sin should be the focus of the message. Yes, it plays an important part since we are all affected by sin and should be addressed. But God’s grace is sufficient. This is the crux of the Gospel.

    Laura, I like what you had to say about how this outline gives enough guidance to worship biblically, while allowing enough freedom to shake things up week by week! Our God is fond of both variety and similarity (just look at all of creation). I believe that it is honoring to Him to worship somewhat differently from week to week and it also prevents us from mindlessly worshiping as the creatures of habit that we are.

  6. I don’t agree with “those who make every church service an evangelistic meeting and consider worship something we do in heaven some day”. As a Christian we ought to grow depth in Him day by day, so the services in church should not always stay in an evangelic level. We are made to worship Him everyday, heaven is not the only place we can worship Him. On the other hand, I don’t agree with doing evangelism completely outside the church. We should share gospel with unbelievers and invite them to our regular service as well as the special evangelistic events hold in church. I agree with Dr. Aniol’s point of the corporate worship and worship and evangelism is complementary to each other.

  7. God created us for His glory. Worship and evangelism both focus on God’s glory. Worship should be engaged the whole of our life. Worship must be connected to the mission of what God says to us. Evangelism is one of God’s great commandment and purpose for the Christian. Through our true worship in every spect of our life, people should know who is the living God. “Worship is drawing near to God in fellowship with him and obedience to him such that he is magnified and glorified.” Obey His word, this is both worship and evangelism. (Acts 1:8)

  8. I like and agree with this article!!! This article shows how corporate worship proclaims the gospel. Also, I think that this article is related with Robbie F. Castle’s idea. She says, “In order to worship “in Spirit and truth,” we must follow the Spirit into the Word of God that tells us the truth about why we do what we do the way we do it.” I also agree that corporate worship must reenact the gospel for evangelism. Worshipers need to know that the focus of worship is the gospel because most worshipers tend to understand that worship is the place that they request their needs and give their burden to God. However, gospel-shaped corporate worship calls worshipers to glorify God. Like this article reveals, “God created people to worship him.”

  9. Totally agree with this article. Every statement has challenged my mind since I first heard it in class. Before I took this class, I believe that worship is God’s children’s response to God and express their love to God. I believed that a Christian should have both personal worship and community worship in their life. And now, this following statement, “worship is drawing near to God in fellowship with him and obedience to him such that he is magnified and glorified”, has been deeply planted in my heart. In the past, I view worship from my own point of view, instead of reading through the Scripture and seek how God wants me to worship Him. Before, I thought, as along as I have the right heart for giving glory to God, no matter what I do will please Him. Now I understand that right heart and right action should be equality important. I used to think that liturgy in worship is not so important, but now I understand that we need to have a biblical liturgy to worship God, otherwise, God will not be pleased. At a point, I think I could say that the philosophy in this article has changed my worship philosophy very much. I am very thankful.

  10. When I read this article, I am really grateful to be able to worship God. We are sinners. We could neither face nor worship God due to our sin. But Jesus came to the earth as like as we are. He crucified on the cross. He completed the atonement for our sin at once and then the blocked wall between God and us from the sin was broken. It recovered the worship, which is the fellowship with God and obedience to God. We can worship God by God’s grace. It is so terrible if we can’t worship God and make a relationship with God. That means just the death. Jesus’ salvation is the gospel and that is the reason why I worship God. I believe that the assurance of gospel and the recovery of worship and the great commission for the believer is one connection in the worship that God wants.

  11. Never did I give a serious thought about whether corporate worship and evangelism are mutually exclusive or not. This article gave me a new insight. The centrality of the story of God’s salvation at the heart of the gospel should not only be the primary focus of the biblical worship but also reenactment of God’s great story of salvation.

  12. This week’s discussion reminds me of our book review and how Castleman emphasizes the importance of repetition with patterns in our life. I can see how a worship service built upon a structure that proclaims the gospel will definitely reinforce what we believe. As well, it creates a great opportunity to evangelize with non-believers when they ask: “what do you do at church?” the gospel worship outline opens the door for the non-believer to hear God’s great salvation story.

  13. This was a very well-written article – Thank you Dr. Aniol! I believe that corporate worship is expressly for believers, that the worship service should be designed solely to lead believers in worship of their God, the one true God. Complimentarily, I completely agree that as believers worship in spirit and in truth – perfectly outlined in the gospel-shaped worship order – non-believers will hear the gospel truth and the Holy Spirit will work on their hearts, moving them to repentance and confession of Christ.

    Danielle, I like what you said about evangelicals trying to “trick non-believers into Christianity.” Jonathan Edwards warned George Whitefield against creating “false conversions.” Dr. Aniol said, “Faith in Christ requires belief in facts about Christ and his work and trust in him as Savior and Lord.” It is critical that non-believers hear the full truth of the gospel, understand the greatness of God, the unworthiness of self, and the power of Christ to forgive, so that they put their faith in the true God of the Bible, not a god they are led to believe will lead them to happiness, prosperity, or their “best life now.”

    When we manufacture a “worship experience” to try to emotionally move people (their passions, not their affections) to God, we are, as Danielle put it, “denying the power of the Holy Spirit to move the hearts and minds of those of the world.”

  14. O I am so thankful for this article! Through reading, relationship between worship and evangelism was understood very clearly! Worship order based on the gospel is laid to my heart newly and explicitly. I am grateful for mentioned Isaiah 43:6-7 above that is God made us for His glory and praise! Also this is revelation from God, so God always initiates worship as a creator.We cannot worship him with our own desire and effort bcause we are sinner, but Jesus Christ, God’s grace enable to worship. The very first part “Revelation and Adoration” is pure Gospel. God call to His people, drawing near His children to Him first. I experienced worship in Gospel shaped worship order at Young-nok church at South Korea, and here Gambrell street baptist church. It was blessing for me. There was no any band and big sound music. Instead of that, totally the Word of God led all worshipper into His presence; that was gospel. I do agree with that “Corporate worship and evangelism are, therefore, not mutually exclusive. The gospel is what makes worship possible, and gospel-shaped corporate worship is evangelistic.”

  15. Worship and evangelism are complementary to each other because “the gospel is what makes worship possible, and gospel-shaped corporate worship is evangelistic.” Since God’s salvation is the heart of worship, I believe that every worship service is evangelistic (no matter what worship style it is).

    The evangelistic nature of Christian worship had already embedded in the basic flow of the worship services “that has characterized worship in many traditions for centuries.” It is illogical to argue that whether worship services should be evangelical or not. I think more discussions should be focused on how to shape an evangelical worship.

  16. It is important to share the gospel message, we are called to do so (and we should have a love of the gospel that breeds a sharing of it). I do believe that a worship service is for the believer and not the non believer because of the nonbeliever’s hardness of heart. This being said I agree that the gospel should be proclaimed in the message. It is important that we see God’s grace in our regeneration, justification, sanctification, and ultimately glorification. We should remind ourselves of the gospel message daily (throughout the entire day), and it is important to edify the body by the continued sharing of the gospel to one another. I do believe that both worship and witnessing occur from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (both occur only through grace). I do think that after being edified by the assembly of believers we should be better prepared to go into the world and live the life Christ called us to live (including evangelism). May we share the gospel, worship, glorify our father in heaven, and find our sabbath rest in him. I also do like the idea of reminding the body of believers of the gospel that saved them (in the process non believers will hear the gospel message that are in the church) through means such as the mentioned liturgical model.

  17. I agree with Dr. Aniol when he says that, “we should shape corporate worship in such a way that it is itself profoundly evangelistic”. This statement it is very truthful, the church service is not just about a worship meeting disconnected of evangelism because the principal root of worship it is evangelistic and is based in the proclamation of man´s necessity to praise God and glorify His name and the necessity of man to be forgiven of their sinful nature and behavior. I think these two concepts are intrinsically connected, as Dr. Aniol explains, we worship God because he has forgiven us and every time the Gospel is proclaimed in the church meeting is an act of worship. However, there are many churches today that do not have a shaped liturgy of worship and one structural order to do worship based in these evangelistic principles. Many worship services are lack of a conscious reality of this truth because they are just focus in Worship God and evangelism is out of the walls of Church, as Dr. Aniol explains. I believe that this is not right because Christians can worship God, but if they do not shape worship with a deep foundation in the evangelism message, worship act is incomplete, and the believers won´t feel a motivation to preach gospel in and out of church because they are focus in themselves rather than in God and his redemptive plan to save the world.

  18. At the other hand Dr. Aniol pointed out those who practice corporate worship services that are focus in an evangelistic meeting and not in worship at all because worship is something Christians will do in heaven. They worship but this is not there focus and this will bring some issues because the only purpose that God created mankind is to praise, worship and to proclaim the glory of God, and of course to preach the gospel that it is inserted in the ideal concept of worship. Thus, Dr. Aniol presents some suggestions of an appropriate worship service, which is based in biblical patterns that we draw near God by faith through Jesus Christ and every time we gather as the body of Christ this should be our ultimately goal. I think the liturgical structure Dr. Aniol pictured it is useful to have a guide of how to recreate worship including evangelism, but in my opinion the order can be changed and it is possible to add the altar call at the end.

  19. I am not agree with revivalism but I think the altar call can be an useful tool of evangelism to call unbelievers to pray for them at the end of the service, and I think the Lord can convicted them and leaded them to repentance for salvation

  20.         I find myself in the uncharacteristic position of agreeing with the above post.  Worship and evangelism are not exclusive.  I hope that there are not people who feel that they are, although I did get that feeling from Robbie Castleman.  Story Shaped Worship did seem to place heavy if not exclusive emphasis on glorifying God on Sunday morning.  In her defense, she acknowledges that only believers can truly worship God, but she is not clear as to the efforts of the church to bring lost people to Christ, but this is not the purpose of her book. 
            Worship, evangelism, and edification of the body can all be mutually supporting.  I would (and often do) suggest that they should always be considered in that manner.  In fact when the word is preached without reservation and the whole of the Sunday service is mutually supportive of that the preaching, a church would actually have to consciously adopt practices that exclude either worship or evangelism.
            Isaiah 6 is “a way”.  I think you will find the basic frame work of this model provides at the very least a comprehensive manner in which to consider the makeup of a worship service.  Strict adherence is not required.  There are churches that do follow this model and this is the right answer for those that prayerfully and biblically consider its application in support of worship for that individual congregation and the community in which the reside.
            I think that most services that preach the word of God without reservation and conduct all other worship practices in support of the preaching will observe most if not all of the Isaiah 6 tenants.  This will not likely be in such a detailed manner and perhaps without the deliberate consideration of Isaiah 6, but present nonetheless.  Thank you for your time

    Ryan Thiessen
    November 18, 2013

  21. Ryan, I had the same feeling when I was doing that book review, but I am not going to elaborate on that. I just came to the conclusion that she places emphasis on the centrality of the story of God’s salvation at the heart of gospel-shaped worship in order to counter the self-help theology and seeking subjective experience in worship. According to this article, it is impossible without the sacrificial atonement of Jesus Christ. We are to draw ourselves near to God through faith in Jesus, and this is the primary purpose of worship service. Therefore worship should reflect the flow of gospel, and gospel-shaped worship becomes evangelistic. Our Lord has great commission for us to spread His teachings to the nations of the world, and this is the according to gospel-shaped worship.

  22.         Daniel, I don’t think there was anything necessarily wrong with Castleman’s book.  In fact, It had some important things to consider in regards to worship.  It just a bit skewed toward glorification.  Of course if you see that as worship’s primary concern, then this is not an issue.  I like where the above post is going in that there is more to what goes on Sunday Morning.
            On a side note regarding Castleman’s book; what is “liturgical dance”.  This just seemed completely incongruent with her extremely reverent view of worship.  Thank you for your time.

    Ryan Thiessen
    November 18, 2013

  23. Cooperate worship that reenacts gospel is a Win-Win situation. Believers are able to fulfill what they are called to do and unbelievers are able to see and hear the gospel.
    I have same problem with Leyi. Before taking this class, all I know of worship are returning God’s love with thanksgiving and getting closer to Him. Now with the understanding of worship is a reenactment of the gospel, I believe this will make worship more meaningful. On top of theses, I don’t have to worry if I am worshipping God in a wrong way.
    This class has so many information to take in. I have no time to understand them throughly and apply them into my daily life yet. I feel like this article has concluded what we have learned in this semester. Thanks Dr. Aniol

  24. Ai-chin, You said that “On top of these, we all are a BIG BIG SINNER. A pastor just needs to teach about one sin a week he will already has more than enough of topic to preach on”. I do agree that we are all sinners, and I would say that we are totally depraved before God’s grace saves us. I disagreement with your statement on what the preacher should preach. A Preacher should preach the Scripture. We get caught up in what we want to hear, but Scripture tells us to Preach the Word. If a Pastor goes through the Bible vs. by vs., chapter by chapter, and book by book, He will never have nothing to preach. We must preach that we are sinners, but not only preach on sin. If we only preach on sin the full breath of the Word is not heard.

    Beyoung, thank you for going into the gospel. I love that you spoke of the grace of God saving sinful man. He did break the sin barrier allowing for true communion with himself for all of those who would believe in him. May God truly receive all of the glory, honor, and praise.

  25. I agree with Ai-Ching that this article is a good conclusion of the Worship class. I learn that the Gospel is the foundation of worship and I believe that corporate worship is Gospel reenactment.

    Gospel-shaped worship is a reminder for believers and, at the same time, it is evangelical. Evangelical events are not necessary to be separated from corporate worship. I do believe that every worship is evangelical in nature. We should expecting that there are both believers and non-believers attending the worship service.

    Church leaders, however, is not necessary to shape the worship to be emotional or entertaining. We should put our faith in the Gospel and believe that the content of the Gospel is “attractive” to people. We should know that everyone needs the forgiveness of God and people are long for salvation. It is essential for the church to elevate the Gospel in the worship and tell people about the great story of God’s salvation.

  26. God created us to worship him.The contents of evagelism is about reconciliation with God. In other words, evangelism is drawing near to God. “The gospel is a call to return to right worship.” There are two kinds of people, one is the self-directed life and the other is a Christ-directed life. The Christ-directed life is one that Christ is on the throne, the self is yielding to Christ and one’s interests are directed by Christ, resulting in harmony with God’s plan. This life is the life of a Christian who worships God. Worship and evangelism cannot be separated.

  27. I agree with what Sze Wing said that “every worship is evangelical in nature,” and “we should put our faith in the Gospel and believe that the content of the Gospel is attractive to people.” I believe if we worship according to His commands and with our right heart, He will presence in our worship even we do not feel or experience anything. God will save His chosen one in His time, so preachers and worship leaders do not need to worry about how to focus on evangelise in order to draw people back to Jesus. The content of the Gospel, God Himself, Christ Jesus and Holy spirit are the things that can draw unbelievers near to Him. In a cooprate worship service, believers can truly worship God and at the same time, unbelievers can observe how we worship God and the service itself is evangelical in nature.

  28. “Even though evangelism, discipleship training, and local and global missions are all a part of healthy congregational vision and witness, thought must be taken of how these good intensions relate to corporate worship liturgy” (108). Robbie Castleman has great insight in regards to worship and evangelism. I would agree with Castleman that, “worship has no end insight but it’s own means” (108). In other words worship is a means to bringing God glory. Worship as God has proscribed is a call to exalt his name. Ryan, I disagree with your comment, “worship and evangelism are not exclusive”. These are two very different terms with different meanings. In greek evangelism means, “to bring the good news” and worship means “to bow down or prostrate oneself before” according to BDAG. One is a vertical focus and the other is a horizontal focus. I find in my study of the scripture that worship is set apart from evangelism. For example Jesus going up the mountain in order to draw near to God. This act was completely set apart from His ministry and was a time dedicated to prayer and bringing glory to God. I find that in Jesus’ example to us and as we have learned all throughout the Old Testament, worship is something set aside and sacred for the sole reason of glorifying God.

  29. As an addition to my previous comment, if worship is considered non exclusive from evangelism than is evangelism considered worship? I would argue that evangelism is not another term for worship and therefore worship and evangelism are exclusive terms.

  30. With the understanding of “worship is drawing near to God in fellowship with him and obedience to him such that he is magnified and glorified” and the biblical worship structure, I still have a big question mark in my mind. I cannot picture a perfect example that fit in all of this worship structure (Revelation; Adoration; Confession; Assurance of Pardon; Proclamation; Dedication; Supplication Commission). I am not sure what kind of music we could use in order to please God’s ear. In this biblical worship structure, which section could involve music? In the future, if my pastor accept all this philosophy, and ask me to design a worship service, what content I fill-in in this patter? Did anyone know which church is doing this pattern in these days? I really want to go to observe their service and learn to worship God.

  31. Leyi’s response: “Did anyone know which church is doing this pattern in these days? I really want to go to observe their service and learn to worship God.”

    I go to The Village Church and yesterday, during the car ride with my friend, we were discussing the worship service structure. I believe The Village Church fits the Biblical worship structure that you described: Revelation; Adoration; Confession; Assurance of Pardon; Proclamation; Dedication; Supplication Commission. Each week, the service begins with a call to service by “passing the peace” (where one says “the peace of the Lord be with you” and the other person responds “and the peace of the Lord be with you too”), which is followed by scripture reading and this could be considered as the Revelation portion. Afterwards we sing one worship song, where I categorize this as adoration, and the sermon begins—Proclamation. Following the sermon, the Pastor would begin passing the elements for communion and I would spend a brief time in prayer and confessing my sins before I partake in communion; hence I would say this fits into Confession and Assurance of Pardon portion. Dedication follows with a time of worship in song, which then ends the service with a prayer on living our life for God and blessings as the service ends–I would consider this portion as Supplication. Lastly, I will argue that Commission is implied to the believer as I usually leave the worship service overjoyed and excited to share what I have learned with others.

    So Leyi, maybe you could check The Village Church out and see how a Biblical worship structure service is like. However, in all honesty, the first time I attended the worship service, I thought the church service structure was weird and backwards. This makes me wonder… would educating the worshipper in why the church worships the way they do make worship more authentic?

  32. My frustration is that, though we all seem to agree that the worship service should be about worshiping God, and though we’ve been reading and learning what constitutes true worship, most of us will continue to attend churches with a wrong focus and sing our favorite praise songs with vague, shallow lyrics that make us feel warm and fuzzy. I challenge each of us to think through every part of our services, every song we sing, every piece of music or prayer or any other element, and effect change in any way we can. This feel-good trajectory will not stop on its own. Those of us who have been educated must educate the body (including some of our pastors and music directors). I believe our congregations truly want to worship God, but so many have been misguided. We have a responsibility now that we have been challenged with a deeper perspective.

  33. Leyi, Church of Christ the King follows the Isaiah 6 model and is definitely not your typical evangelical church. Danielle, Brian, & I all go there, as well as Dr. Aniol and a few other SWBTS professors. “CTK” meets in the Marty Leonard Chapel of the Lena Pope Home (off Hulen & Donnelly, behind Central Market) at 10:30am. We would love for you to visit!

  34. Sarah, I love what you had to say about educating the church because of our education. It gets especially hard when it’s the pastor or music minister that needs the educating! Through this first semester I have been increasingly aware that EVERY minister of music (or minister period) needs to have a biblically founded seminary education.

    I have heard that all students here (including the ones who are wanting to be pastors) used to be required to take Worship. It is a shame that this is not the reality anymore… While exposition and outlining sermons is important and great, it seems that the training they are receiving equips them to be expositors or revivalists first, and leaders in worship second.

    Sure this is a generalization that some may disregard. But, unless the pastor has a genuine care to learn about worship, it would be very hard to help him understand this education. It is an added difficulty to present reasoning in a manner that does not come across as opinion (or at least perceived to be).

    Just some thoughts… Am I making any sense?

  35. I would completely agree with this article about….everything. But seriously the evidence is in front of us. Evangelism and Worship go hand in hand. Can the two stand alone? Sure they can but when you mix the gospel message in worship the two sides really compliment each other. I am a believer that the gospel message should be presented when the opportunity arises. I could not see the point of a service if you are not presenting the gospel message during worship. Doing that you are abiding with God by drawing near to God through worshiping him and at the same time sharing the gospel to the unbelievers in the service. This is the movement that I can get behind and would like to infect all church’s worship services so they are spreading the gospel to unbelievers; while leading the believers to draw near to God in worship.

  36. Ben I completely agree. I think its a shame that we don’t do cross degree training anymore at the seminary. I think that the MDIV students should need to do worship concentration classes like worship and congregation song. But saying that we should need to take some classes like Evangelism and Preaching just to get a taste of each other. I think that is something that I have noticed about the music degree is that there isn’t a lot of theology on it. And we are called to be ministers first then musicians. I think you are speaking loud and clear.

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