This book has become a significant influence on my understanding of why and how the church gathers together for worship. I’ll cut to the chase and give you the take-home idea of this book: the church meets in order to celebrate and rehearse the Gospel together. And what really began to rock my world and worship was Chapell’s observation that the church has always sought to retell the Gospel story in the way it worshiped. Not just include the Gospel in the worship service, but to shape the worship service in such a way that the elements of the service told the Gospel story. The opening call for the congregation to worship a great God, confession of sin, assurance of salvation through the Gospel, offering our resources out of thanksgiving, eagerly hearing the Word of God so we can respond in obedience, being sent out with the blessing of God in the power of Gospel, the list goes on. I suddenly had a lens through which to view the various elements of service.
Ugh. That was confusing. Just go read the book.
“Failure to prepare is preparing to fail.” An adage appropriate for much of life, including the practice of our corporate worship gatherings. Jordan Kauflin shares some thoughts on how best to prepare yourself and your family for Sunday morning worship.
How do you prepare to gather with your church family? Is your preparation limited to the frenetic collecting of your children, snacks, and diapers? Do you spend your time trying to convince yourself that going is better than sleeping in? Or maybe you don’t even think to prepare, because it’s just another routine that you’ve developed? How we prepare for our Sunday gatherings is directly related to how much we benefit from our time together.
How Do We Grow in Physical Expressiveness in Worship (blog series)
This is a five-part series from Bob Kauflin on the role of physical expression in corporate worship. Lighthouse is a lot of things, but physically expressive during worship we are not. That is not say that the normal expectation is to have people rolling hysterically in the aisles and the everpresent danger that you’ll have your eye poked out by a neighbor’s Holy Spirit-fueled hand raising. But we ought to think more about the way we use (and don’t use) our bodies worshipers, and what causes (or prevents) physical expression. Whether you’re a fervent hand-raiser or a nervous arm-folder, these articles will help you think through these issues.
Our physical expression should help people see the greatness of God’s glory in Christ. It may feel uncomfortable at times. We may find ourselves on our knees, broken over our sin, while others sing on, seemingly unaffected. It will mean we have to make every effort to engage with GOD, and not simply our emotions. It will certainly mean that we’ll never think any physical expression is adequate to fully express our amazement at God’s mercy in drawing us to Himself through the Savior. It will look different at different times, in different churches, and in different cultures. But there’s no question that we have to help those in our congregations understand that God is worthy of our deepest, strongest, and purest affections. And that our bodies should show it.
Less seriously, here are some options for how to use your arms during corporate worship.
Praying Publicly (video sermon)
You were going to skip this link. I see it in your eyes. That’s because public prayer during corporate worship has fallen on hard times. Unfortunately, we’ve come to expect public prayer to be a time to quietly transition the worship team off the stage or a necessary filler between elements of worship. What a tragedy!
In this sermon from the 2013 Basics Conference, Pastor Kevin DeYoung shares some wonderful insight into the role of public prayer in the gathering of hte church. It is geared towards pastors and those who lead the prayers, but it should help us in our expectation of what prayer in the church should look like. There are also some really valuable principles that apply to how we personally pray and lead our families in prayer (different forms of prayers, how to pray through Scripture).
Sunday Morning: the Trailer (video)
This parody video is a couple of years old, but it’s still pretty hilarious/sad/contemporvant. I think it’s meant to be a self-deprecating look at the particular worship practices of specific church, but honestly, I know that I’ve done a lot these things myself! It’s definitely an opportunity to reflect on 1) what kinds of traditions and expectations we have for a “normal” worship service, 2) what motivates our traditions and expectations, and 3) whether or not
Suggested Music Resources
Finally, I wanted to leave you with some suggested music resources. These are some of my favorites!
A Louisville-based church with some serious musical flavor. Their arrangements are very Americana, blues-rock, and their musicians have some extraordinary chops. But more importantly, their songs are rich with theological reflection. This album below is one of my favorites, an assemblage of Isaac Watts hymns done in a very lo-fi, analog style.
Sovereign Grace Ministries has been on publishing Gospel-Centered, church-friendly music for a coule of decades now, but their most recent work has been particularly excellent. Their lyrics have always been wonderful in touching upon a large number of theological topics, but now their musicianship has really caught up. One of my favorite albums, “The Gathering,” is an attempt to provide music that moves through the various elements of the Gospel, and acccordingly, various elements of a worship service.
These guys really kicked off the recent resurgence in hymnody that’s benefitted the church in recent years. Their arrangements are folk-rock, pulling from some very talented Nashville based singer-songwriters. Great stuff!
David Lee (M. Div., The Master’s Seminary, Th. M., [in process] The Master’s Seminary) serves as an Associate Pastor responsible for Lighthouse’s youth ministries (6th-12th grade) and worship ministries. Though he and his wife Jamie hail from San Francisco, they have made their home in Torrance, where they are thrilled to be close to the Lighthouse church family and excellent ramen. David’s many passions include coffee, gardening, making bread, photography, and spending time with his wife and two daughters.
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