Today, I began reading a new book, Christ-Centered Worship: Letting the Gospel Shape Our Practice by Bryan Chapell. (Chapell is also the author of Christ-Centered Preaching.) I haven’t gotten very far into the book yet, but even in the early pages, something struck my eye. From the very outset of the text, Chapell aims to point us to the center of what every worship gathering should be about… Jesus. Now, you may think that is the case anyway, but it may go to remind us that everything in our worship is about Christ! From the music to the sermon, from the pew to the altar, everything in our liturgy is about Christ.
I say that to say this… A line in Chapell’s opening chapter has stuck out to me. “Because they have not been taught to think of the worship service as having gospel purposes, people instinctively think of its elements only in terms of personal preference: what makes me feel good, comfortable, or respectful.” (Chapell, 21).
With that being said, do we see everything up to the sermon as the opening “stuff” or do we see every element as worship? Are we singing for our own good, or singing to Christ for all that He has done? Are we praying to fill space in the service, or are we praying with a purpose to see the nations know Christ? Are we giving because someone passed a plate, or are we worshiping Christ with what we have been given? Are we using our fellowship time to say hi to our friends or meet someone new? Are we just filling time with the beginning of our gatherings so we can get to the good stuff – the sermon?
It’s vital for each of us to understand that what we do when we gather corporately is done for the sheer purpose of the glorification of Christ. Every aspect is for Jesus and His glory. We sing because we were created to sing. We give because we have been given much. We pray to commune with the Father. We fellowship because we are in community. We respond because the Word requires us to respond.
Every portion of our corporate gathering is for gospel purposes… We, as believers are called to take the gospel to the nations, therefore, our worship is to do the same.
How do you approach the worship gathering?