Do You Struggle With Your Church Worship Experience? I’ve Got The Secret Sauce To Turn It Around

Photo by Ani's Photography

Photo by Ani’s Photography

Mass Confusion On Worship

I believe Christianity today is severely confused on the true meaning of worshiping God, and this true meaning has been really distorted in recent years.

My observation over the last 20 years as a church worship leader has been that perhaps our Christian Contemporary Music (CCM) culture has made worship out to be some warm, fuzzy, existential, out-of-body experience. If you don’t have that experience, then you haven’t really worshiped! You could maybe compare it to chasing the high feeling from a drug.

But, nowhere in Scripture do I see that worship is about me, my personal feelings, or my experience. Worship is about God. Worship was created by Him, for Him, and for Him alone.

Worship is more than just a one-day-a-week experience as well. It should be part of the daily lifestyle of a mature believer.

Definitions

Let’s get a little technical and dig into what the worship terminology really means.

The actual definition of the word “worship” is somewhat vague at best. The Bible never clearly defines the word.

Here’s how the Free Dictionary defines it:

wor·ship (wûr′shĭp)

as a noun:
1. The reverent love and devotion accorded a deity, an idol, or a sacred object.
2. The ceremonies, prayers, or other religious forms by which this love is expressed.
3. Ardent devotion; adoration.

as a verb: (wor·shiped or wor·shipped, wor·ship·ing or wor·ship·ping, wor·ships)
1. To honor and love as a deity.
2. To regard with ardent or adoring esteem or devotion.
3. To participate in religious rites of worship.
4. To perform an act of worship.

There are two primary forms of worship: public, corporate worship and private, individual worship. In a wonderful web article at www.gotquestions.org, S. Michael Houdmann addresses these two parts of Christian worship:

Question: “What is the meaning of Christian worship?”

Answer: The meaning of the New Testament Greek word most often translated “worship” (proskuneo) is “to fall down before” or “bow down before.” Worship is a state (an attitude) of spirit. Since it’s an internal, individual action, it could/should be done most of the time (or all the time) in our lives, regardless of place or situation (John 4:21-24). Therefore, Christians worship all the time, seven days a week. When Christians formally gather together in worship, still the emphasis should be on individually worshiping the Lord. Even in a congregation, participants need to be aware that they are worshiping God fully on an individual basis …

… Since external actions are unimportant in Christian worship, there is no rule regarding whether we should sit, stand, fall down, be quiet, or sing praises loudly while in corporate worship. These things should be decided based on the nature of the congregation. The most important thing is that we worship God in spirit (in our hearts) and in truth (in our minds).

The Secret Sauce Of Christian Worship

When we are able to get our individual, private worship in alignment with God’s Word, then we open the door of possibility for an amazing corporate church worship experience.

Here are some of my thoughts on what can make a better church worship experience for all of us.

First, acknowledge that worship is not for us, it is for God. The very definition of the word centers on giving God honor, love, and adoration. Worship is not about us getting to sing our most favorite K-LOVE worship songs and in the process receiving some kind of warm, tingly feeling. Worship is an action. Worship is about giving to God, not receiving from God.

Second, understand that worship should be a solely individual, 7-days-a-week, every minute of every day, type of experience. Then, on the first day of the week (Sunday), the local Body of Christ should gather to worship individually, but all together in the same location.

Third, recognize that worship can take place through a variety of means at anyplace and at anytime. The Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” Paul also states in Romans 12:1, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” According to God’s Word, I can worship Him through eating a steak dinner, kneeling on the floor in prayer, cleaning a bathroom, playing a musical instrument, doing my job in the workplace, writing this blog post, or singing in the choir. If our attitudes, if our hearts and minds, if our physical bodies are focused on God in all that we do, then these are acts of worship as well. Live a lifestyle that centers on worshiping God every minute of every day.

Fourth, accept that if you struggle in your corporate worship on Sundays, then your other six-days-a-week, individual, private worship must be lacking. The most incredible corporate worship experiences I’ve ever encountered have been when I have worshiped with other mature, Christian leaders. And why would that be? Because, they already have a strong, daily attitude of worship. Our Sunday services lack passionate worship because the individual church members are lacking passionate personal worship the other six days of the week.

Fifth, admit that if you’re struggling in your daily, personal worship, then you may have unconfessed sin in your life. Psalm 66:18 says, “If I regard iniquity (sin) in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” Perform heart surgery and see if you have any sin in your life that needs to be confessed and forsaken.

Questions: Are you missing the “secret sauce” in your own corporate church worship? If so, what do you need to do to achieve a deeper level of worship of Almighty God?






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Doing Just Enough To Get By And Still Accomplishing Maximum Results

Photo by Andres Rueda

Photo by Andres Rueda

Minimum Effective Dose

Minimum Effective Dose or MED is one of those semi-new concepts being discussed quite a bit right now. The concept was originally developed and utilized by inventor and exercise guru Arthur Jones. Today, the MED banner is being proudly waved by none other than author Tim Ferriss.

The minimum effective dose (MED) is defined as “the smallest dose that will produce a desired outcome.”

Let’s look at some examples of MED.

Examples

First, here’s a practical, “real life” example that is often cited: boiling water. Water boils at 212° F. Raising the temperature beyond that will not make something “more boiled.” Boiled is boiled. If we do raise the temperature beyond the minimum, then we are just wasting energy and heat resources.

Second, example: bombs (I know, weird example. Follow me, though). Back in World War II days, we needed hundreds of planes with hundreds of bombs in order to “carpet bomb” cities to force an eventual surrender. But, today, with our sophisticated laser guided hardware and global satellite positioning systems, we can send up just a few planes with a few “smart bombs” and target just a few, select locations to accomplish (mostly) the same result.

Third example: music instrument practice. Now, in this example, this will vary from one musician to the other. There will be variables based on age, maturity level, concentration ability, and difficulty of music. So, each instrumentalist needs to measure their own optimal practice time frame. Again, based upon the variables, this could range from 30 minutes to 3 hours. But, there will come a point for an instrumentalist when further practice in a 24-hour period becomes a waste of time. They will hit the wall of the law of diminishing returns if they keep on practicing.

Fourth example: physical exercise. I’m all about MED on this one. I have no desire (and zero extra time) to spend hours in the gym or training for a marathon. I’m all about doing the minimal amount to achieve my desired results! Again, this varies according to each person, their metabolism, the intensity of the workout, and so on. For me, I’ve found that 4 days a week, with alternating days of cardio and strength training of about 25 minutes per day, seems to be my MED. I’ve been able to accomplish the level of physical fitness I need for maximum performance.

Fifth example: writing. There is an MED to the skill of writing. Writers like Seth Godin have become masters of it. They utilize writing techniques that use fewer filler fluff words and maximize a few select concentrated words in order to get the desired point across to the reader.

Application

I know what you’re thinking at this point. “Larry, who cares? Does the minimum effective dose really matter to me and my life?” Sure does. If you can truly grab a hold of this concept, you can use it as a filter to pass through all of your activities, actions, schedule, and even financial purchases.

We live in an excessive, over the top world. We’re all trying to out man and outgun each other. Go the opposite direction. Try the MED approach, instead.

Apply it to a house you may be looking to purchase. How much square footage do you really need? How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you really need? Use the MED approach to calculate what will get the job done effectively.

Apply it to your career. Do you really want to work 80 hours a week for $120,000 and never see your family? Or, could you see yourself in a simpler, less stressful position at 40 hours a week at $75,000, spending more time and energy on the ones you love most? Something to consider.

Apply it to your eating habits. Do you tend to consume mindless calories? Or, using an MED approach, do you consume smaller amounts of higher quality foods such as on a slow-carb diet of higher amounts of protein and vegetables? Try it. It works.

Apply it to your sleep patterns. Do you really need 8 hours to function properly, or could you actually get by on 5.5 hours if you are in great physical shape and take a 20-minute power nap every afternoon? I know that’s actually possible for a lot of people.

In my personal opinion, the MED possibilities are endless and can help you achieve amazing, maximum results if applied well.

Questions: Are you familiar with the minimum effective dose approach? Do you employ MED in your own life? In what areas do you utilize it? What kind of results do you receive with this approach?