Tag Archives: Worship

What is Worship?

Worship is one’s emotional, spiritual and practical expression of reverence, allegiance and submission to God/a god/gods, that is shaped by one’s understanding of who this God/god is.

Based on this definition, worship could have a variety of expressions. If one’s understanding of God is that he/she is a hostile entity, worship might take the form of seeking to appease this Being by various acts or rituals. If one’s view is that God is represented somewhere on this earth by a physical image, one might make a pilgrimage to this place and present offerings and make requests of such an image or representation. If one’s view is that this God/god has provided clear directions for how to express one’s allegiance, one might study those directives and seek to follow them to the letter. The stronger one’s allegiance to one’s God/god, the more intense those expressions of worship will be.

On this sight the God we speak of is God as He is revealed in the Christian Scriptures. These Scriptures are understood to be consisting of the Old and New Testaments. Christian worship then consists of one’s expressions of reverence, allegiance and submission to this God of the Bible.


12 Practical Pointers for Praise Teams

If I were to summarize what the most important factors in making for an enjoyable experience of praise and worship are, I would list the following:


1. Please keep the beat!!!!! 

2. Try not to let the volume of the playing/singing of the PT dominate the congregation’s singing. It is beneficial for the congregation to be able to hear not only the singing and playing of the PT, but also its own singing.

3. Teach the congregation music that is singable. Try to avoid complex rhythms and melody lines. Remember: The congregation is not made up of musical professionals.

4. Chose songs with texts that are meaningful and theologically accurate.

5. Avoid meaningless repetition.

6. Remember to balance the learning of new songs with the singing of better/well-known songs. People get more pleasure out of singing songs they know. It is hard to put one’s heart into songs one hardly knows.

7. Be more concerned about the content of the songs (the words) than about the style of the music. God is more concerned that we worship him in spirit and in truth than that we worship him according to the latest style. Teach the congregation this principle.

8. Seek to approach the singing and worship time with an attitude of reverence and awe. We are worshiping the Holy One.

9. Discourage “showmanship” by the musicians. We are not here to impress anyone, but to lead others in worship.

10. Seek to avoid dress that draws the worshipers’ attention away from the music and  to the musician. God should be the primary focus of everyone present.

11. Remember the elderly when standing for long periods of time. Show solidarity with them by adopting a sitting posture from time to time. Let them know that you are aware that it may be difficult for them to stand with the rest of the worshipers.

12. Let everything be done in love.


Seven Pointers for the Heart

Leading the People of God in worship is more than merely a musical venture. It is also a venture of the heart. Here are some pointers for the “heart”, that innermost seat of the emotions and attitudes.


1. Members of the PT are committed followers of Jesus Christ whose main desire is to glorify God with their voices and instruments.

2. Members of the PT desire to work together with and in submission to the leadership of the church.

3. Members of the PT will seek to preserve a spirit of unity within their group.

4. Members of the PT will see themselves as partners in worship with the congregation.

5. Members of the PT will realize that success depends on the blessing of God on their endeavors and will ask God for his blessing on their work. They will remember to thank God when he answers their prayers.

6. Members of the PT will maintain an attitude of dependence on the Lord while they lead the congregation in praise and worship.

7. Members of the PT will maintain an attitude of humility toward God and others when success comes their way.


Measuring Success

How do we know when our worship in song has been successful?

I believe that the simple answer is, when God is pleased.

We have already indicated that God is the primary audience of our singing. So the question is, what does God think about our singing, our worship? What is it that pleases him about our worship in song?

This is a very weighty question! Of course it is hard to get direct feedback from God. But that does not mean that we do not have a whole handful of indications from his word about what might be pleasing to him in our worship and what might not be.

If my answer is true, and God’s pleasure in our singing is the ultimate key to success, then we can infer from this, that everything else is secondary.

We have already seen that true worship is a matter of the heart (see “A Serious Word about Worship“). The quality of music, and of the performance of the music and the singing, the style of the music, the outward enthusiasm of the worshipers, all these things are secondary to this great question: Is (was) God pleased?

Let me give an example, a “for instance”. What if a congregation is seriously divided? Let’s say there are factions in the congregation. Certain members in the congregation no longer talk to each other. There is bitterness and hostility. Yet on Sundays, everybody stands up and sings. The Praise Team puts a lot of effort into their practice and prayerfully selects the music for the worship service. And the congregation sings. And after the singing, the factions, and harsh words and anger continues. Would such singing please God, even if every note was played flawlessly, and everything went off without a hitch?

We know that God loves unity (not uniformity) among his people.  We know this from passages such as Ephesians 4:3, Philippians 2:2, Romans 15:5,6. Of course not everyone will be drawn into the disunity and discord. And God may well be pleased with their singing, since he sees the heart. But where there is this kind of disunity in a congregation, the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, is grieved (Ephesians 4:30-32). The congregation may be singing well enough, but God is not pleased.

What is the effect on a congregation, when God is not pleased? There will be a lack of joy. There may still be enthusiasm but it would be of an artificial kind. The music may still be beautiful, and the sound may still be harmonious and glorious, but where the Spirit of God is grieved, the enthusiasm that he generates will be quenched.  The problem will not be the Praise Team or the music, but the disunity.  While there may still be a certain kind of success, it will be in secondary matters.

I believe that where a congregation pleases God (in matters of the heart) the congregational singing will experience an infusion of joy given by the Holy Spirit to the worshipers, and there will be a sense among the congregation that they have met with God in their singing, and that they have truly worshiped him. This joy cannot be manufactured artificially. It is the gift of the Holy Spirit to a congregation that pleases God.






















A Serious Word About Worship

Is it possible that a congregation can sing songs of worship but not actually be worshiping God? Yes, sadly this is possible.

Singing is an outward act. Worship is an inward act. If there is not worship in the heart, there is no worship in the singing of a song either.

Jesus said that those who worship God must worship him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). We can see that singing, or the voice, is not mentioned here. Rather worship is described as something that comes from within – it happens in spirit and in truth.

What does Jesus mean by the word “spirit”? I believe that he uses this word in apposition to ritual. Ritual has to do with external acts. “Spirit” has to do with the “heart”, the thoughts, mind, feelings and emotions that are within a person. It is the person, the “I” of the person, that needs to be doing the worshiping. God looks at the heart, not so much at the external actions of worship.

Let’s think about posture for a moment. We may be kneeling before God, but our heart may be filled with pride. This is not worship. Or we may be standing during the singing and clapping our hands, but inwardly we may be thinking sinful thoughts. This is not worship. Whatever our outward posture might be during the act of singing, our heart needs to be in a position of kneeling before God in submission to his will, in repentance for any sins committed, in humble supplication for any help we may need from him and in humble gratitude for the many gifts we have received from him.

What does Jesus mean by the word “truth”? How do we worship in truth? We need to worship in accordance with who God is. Our understanding of who God is must constantly and increasingly be brought in line with how God is revealed in the Bible, his Word. We do not want to worship a “God” of our own making, a god who does not really exist. Also, we need to come to God by means of the way which he has provided. God has made it clear that there is only one way of approach to himself that pleases him, and that is through his Son, Jesus Christ. It is only through faith in Jesus Christ that the stain of our sin is removed from us, and that we can freely come into God’s presence. Singing songs of worship without knowing Jesus Christ as Saviour is not the worship that God desires.

So here is the question that every participant engaged in congregational singing needs to ask himself when he/she stands up (or whatever other posture is taken) for the singing: Am I worshiping in spirit and in truth? Is my heart engaged in this? Do I know what I am talking (singing) about? Do I understand what the songs are saying, and am I in agreement with what they are saying? Are my thoughts centered on God right now? Am I coming to him through Jesus Christ or in a way of my own making?

What we have said here is foundational to worship actually taking place while we are singing and the Praise Team is leading us. If there is no worship in spirit and truth taking place, there may be lots of good singing, lots of good playing, lots of clapping and beautiful voices making harmonious sounds, but there will be an absence of worship.

In my view it would be better for a congregation to be silent and to have a time of soul-searching and getting right with God than to persist in “worship-singing” that is not in spirit and truth.

Like I said,  a serious word about worship.