If everyone reading this article were to write down the definition of worship in your own words, have no doubt that no two definitions would look exactly alike. That’s because worship is kind of a big word! Christian worship has many faces and applications in the Christian life, such as corporate worship on Sundays, family worship, worship in all of life – all topics that I want to explore in future articles. But for this month, and through the remainder of this fall, I want to delve deep into the topic of corporate worship and examine both its structure and its purpose for us as believers.
Let’s start with a simple, working definition. Worship, according to the Bible, is the act (yes, worship is a verb, not a noun) of responding to the one true and living God in the ways He has prescribed for His glory. So, if worship is our response to our Creator and Savior through the actions God has prescribed for us in His Word, then corporate worship is doing that same thing, only with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ in a specific location at a specific time. It is the gathering of a local body of Christ-followers on a Sunday, a gathering prescribed by God (cf. Hebrews 10:25) for us to observe for the good of the Church and for His glory.
Now in these gatherings for corporate worship each week we do many different things, but all of these things are related to and help to shape our worship liturgy. You may have heard the word liturgy before but may not know what it means. Liturgy simply refers to the order of our corporate worship. Every church, no matter how fancy or plain, big or small, has a liturgy. In our corporate worship services each week here at Trinity we sing, we pray, we hear from God’s Word, we confess our sin, we observe the ordinances of the Lord’s Supper and Baptism, we fellowship and encourage one another, and we praise and thank our great God and Savior, Jesus for His death and resurrection for our salvation. Each of these elements of our corporate worship service, of our liturgy, are vitally important to our Christian life, as we will see in the coming months’ articles. But the most important aspect of our liturgy, in our singing, praying, preaching, and fellowshipping, is that we are re-telling the gospel and pointing each other to Jesus. Therefore, Christ-centered corporate worship only happens when we make our weekly corporate worship as Bible-saturated and Bible-influenced as we possibly can. Thankfully God has given us a guide in His Word on how we are to make our liturgy Christ-centered and biblically sound, and that’s what we’ll spend the next few articles exploring.
The local church needs corporate worship. Like Bible reading and prayer, corporate worship is a fundamental necessity to the believer, and as we’ll see in upcoming articles, there is oxygen for our spiritual lungs that can only be found in the corporate worship gathering each week and through the elements of our liturgy we exercise together. I hope you’ll enjoy learning with me in the coming months and beyond as we not only learn these truths in our minds but treasure them in our hearts and practice them with our actions each and every week!
See you Sunday.
In Christ alone,