Worship and evangelism: Do they go together?God is
seeking worshipers, and He desires for the church to fulfill its purpose of
making more and better worshipers. When a nonbeliever comes to a worship
service, he should experience Gods presence and be transformed from the inside
out. A true encounter with God leaves us with changed hearts. A worship service
is not the only place where such an encounter can occur, but its where people
expect it to happen. Worship is an essential part of Gods strategy for building
His kingdom and drawing others to it.
Worship comes in a thousand forms
There are those at one end of the spectrum who prefer to worship in silence,
grasping the glory of God in their minds. At the other end are those who prefer
the full-out, roof-raising worship. Some prefer the grandeur of the pipe organ,
and others prefer the energy of a praise band. Worship is so much bigger than
the style adopted for the service. Theres no one correct style for worshiping
God. It doesnt matter if its at one end of the spectrum or somewhere in
between; God inhabits the praises of His people regardless of genre.
In his book, The Purpose-Driven Life, Rick Warren emphasizes that
worship is more than music, its a lifestyle. While many churches today segment
their Sunday services into times of worship and times of teaching, Warren says
every part of a church service is an act of worship, not intended for personal
benefit but for bringing pleasure to God. He also notes that Christians worship
by the way they liveits not just a Sunday morning event.
Essentially, churches are going to have a distinct style of worship. Many
churches have even been successful in mixing the traditional and the
non-traditional forms of adoring God (traditional hymn, liturgical prayer,
contemporary song, drama, multi-media or solemn silence). Whats important is
that non-Christians who visit our services witness an authentic encounter with
I dont think the Lord really cares what style of music we worship Him with.
If its in the guys gut, and hes really crying out to the Lordits worship, says
contemporary Christian artist Michael W. Smith [What to do about the Worship
Wars, Moody, July/August 2002]. In the end, musical styles and
preferences are secondary. Worship is more than a song service or lip service.
Its the heart-felt response to the supreme worthiness of Christ. Its the
encounter that changes hearts. Its an opportunity to experience God and choose
to follow Him.
Worship evangelism includes two groups of peopleworshipers and observers.
Many unchurched persons are very open and interested in spiritual things. They
want an authentic approach to God, to go beyond the programs, the social
interaction, the music and the message; they want to be touched by God. The
purpose of worship isnt evangelism. The purpose of worship is to glorify God.
But evangelism is the natural fruit of authentic worship.
Paul teaches us that worship is an offering. Therefore, I urge you,
brothers, in view of Gods mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices,
holy and pleasing to Godthis is your spiritual act of worship (Romans
12:1). Christian worship is not only an offering to a Holy God, its a response
of praise, thanksgiving and adoration to the God Who became accessible to us in
Jesus Christ Who died on the cross so that we may have eternal life.
So what is worship?Simply put, worship means to
attribute worth to someone or something. We are all worshipersChristians and
non-Christians alike. Each of us was created with an inner drive to worship,
and whatever we value most is what we worship. Whether its money, career,
sports, self or God, there is something or someone that each person
Since the beginning of time there has never been a shortage of objects of
worship. People are going to worship something or someone their entire lives,
says Louie Giglio, founder of Choice Resources and Passion Ministries.
Nonbelievers spend their lives worshiping something thats less than worthy.
As Christians it is our calling to point nonbelievers to the One Who is
truly worthy of worship. God is the only One Who is worthy of all praise and
glory from all people.
The heart of Christian worship is simply to recognize Gods presence and
acknowledge Him as Lord. Worship is about God and how we respond to Him. Its
the spirit and truth interaction between God and His people. Yet a time is
coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in
spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks
(John 4:24). Its our whole-hearted response to Gods self-revelation in ways
that please him, says Bob Kauflin, worship pastor at Covenant Life Church in
Gaithersburg, Maryland, and worship columnist for Crosswalk.com.
In order for worship to evangelize it needs to be more than just one hour of
one day out of the week. Worship that speaks to Gods majesty and transforming
power is a lifestyle. Its a 24/7 kind of worship. We cant expect non-Christians
to understand the concept of a new life in Christ if they see Christians in
church on Sunday morning worshiping a holy God and then worshiping the mighty
dollar and living a lifestyle during the week that is no different from a
non-Christian lifestyle. Our worship of God has to carry over into every aspect
of our lives.
Paul put it like this: and whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do
it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through
him (Colossians 3:17). We call this a lifestyle of worship.
Authentic worship invites responseMusical
performances, drama, testimonies, messages and apologetics about God and faith
are all wonderful tools God can use to touch the mind and heart of a
non-Christian. But they are all examples of presentation and dont require
people to give anything of themselves back to God. Corporate worship should do
more than inspireit should provide opportunities for response.
Worship is the key to evangelism because worship is experienced. In
worship we embody truth, proclaim it, sing it, pray it, teach it and enact
Robert E. Webber
Worship evangelism happens in two ways: first, unbelievers hear the truth
about God and second, they observe the real relationship between worshipers and
God. The Truth rings out when we emphasize the gospel and highlight the Word of
God in our songs and in our worship.
Nonbelievers may not be able to worship in spirit and in truth, but they can
gain understanding of the gospel by observing it in motion as those around them
respond to a magnificent God Who sent His Son to die a cruel death for our
salvation. We need to allow the supernatural God of the Bible to show up and
interact with people in the congregation. Our time together in corporate
worship should be spent presenting a clear picture of Who Jesus is and what Hes
done for us, says Bob Kauflin.
The value of our worship experience correlates to the value of Who it is we
worship. How Christians worship God will directly affect a non-Christians image
of God. Through our worship we can show nonbelievers how big our God is. We
need to show visitors to our services that we worship a holy and magnificent
God. A non-Christian should be able to come into a gathering of Christians who
are worshiping in song and come away with two things, why God is so great and
why these people are so passionate about Him, says Bob.
Worship rises or falls with our concept of God.
A. W. Tozer
Here are three suggestions for gearing a worship service for believers and
1. Make sure everything in the service is grounded and supported by
scripture. We want to let Gods Word do the work and not rely on our own
cleverness and creativity.
2. Center the service around God, the Trinity and the gospel. Apart from
Christs redemptive work on the cross we are not able to come into Gods
presence. Our worship should be centered around the greatness and holiness of
God, Christs death on the cross and His triumphant return from the grave.
Magnify Gods worth, and magnify Christs death on the cross.
3. Think about ways it can be edifying and accessible to everyone who is
there. Keep in mind that you may need to take time to explain spiritual
concepts to the unbeliever within the flow of the worship service. Be careful
when using Christianese or concepts that may be foreign to nonbelievers. You
may need to explain a word like justification. If you sing a song with words
the unchurched probably wont understand, take time to explain them. Also, dont
assume that everyone in your congregation is familiar with the Bible.
Next to theology only music deserves to be the mistress and the
governess of the feelings of the human heart.
When a worship service is accessible to everyone, its an open doorway to an
encounter with God. Most unbelievers will probably not participate in worship,
and thats fine. They can watch worship. They can learn deep biblical truths
from the words of songs, drama, video and the message and how God transforms
lives through testimonies and baptisms. They also will see how Christians
respond to this great God. When an unbeliever sees the life of a worshiper of
God, the optimum response would be, Wow, I want this.
In his book, Let the Nations Be Glad, John Piper says, God is
pursuing with omnipotent passion a worldwide purpose of gathering joyful
worshipers for himself from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.
Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. But worship is the
fuel and goal of missions.
Keith Pipes is minister of music and education at Rolling Hills Baptist
Church in Buford, Georgia. Carol Pipes is managing editor of On
Worship ResourcesSo where does a worship leader find
music to which both believers and unbelievers can respond? To many that may not
seem important, but lets face it, aside from the Holy Spirit, music is probably
the most moving element in a worship service.
Worship Leader magazine
Choice Resources www.268store.com
More resources about worship
Real Life Real Worship (Back to the Bible) by Tony Beckett
The Complete Worship Leader (Baker) by Kevin Navarro
Reaching out Without Dumbing Down (Eerdmans) by Marva J. Dawn
Experience God in Worship (Group) Michael D. Warden, editor
Worship Evangelism: Inviting Unbelievers into the Presence of God
(Zondervan) by Sally Morgenthaler
Engaging with God: A Biblical Theology of Worship (IVP) by David
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC