contemporary worship

What Worship Means to Me

by: Bobby Collins

Worship is us giving God his breath back. In the story of Ezekiel and the dry bones, God raises an army of dry bones by giving them life. He gives them breath and not just lungs absorbing oxygen. He fills them with true life and spiritual breath which opens their eyes to see and know him in a more personal way. But if worship is only us giving God this awe-filled worship back, we will eventually run dry, and when we run out of spiritual breath we drift away from God resulting in nothing good. 

Worship is a feeling that is created by God and a worship leader with the purpose of creating a time and place for God to work. Without God present in worship, we are simply pouring out emotion with an audience to harmonic noise. When we realize this, it sets the stage with the mindset of eager expectation for what God will do, not how good our guitar solo is or how loud we sing. This opens the door for the true power of Worship to be encountered. But there is one last part to worship.

Worship is an experience created when we as worshipers approach God with a mindset of awe and with open, honest, vulnerable hearts and with a spirit yearning to encounter God. The true purpose or goal (or at least what we should want) is to see God transform our lives and hearts so that we are better equipped to carry his renown to the world. This is accomplished when we approach God and only God with the intent to bring him glory and praise. But if it ends there, it is all in vain, because we need God to fill us back up with more breath and renew us and our hearts. If we fail to open our hearts he will knock on our hearts to fill us but we will deny him access. So for worship to be true and powerful, we must give God, and only God, praise for what he has done and do it with open, honest, vulnerable hearts and with no walls between him and us. If we approach God with open, honest, vulnerable hearts and minds filled with the eager expectation that he will do immeasurably more than we can hope for, only then will God be able to fill us more and more until we are overflowing with his glory and oozing the love of Christ from every pore. And what this does is it opens the door for worship to be more than hymns or contemporary worship songs or the raising our hands when the praise band plays The Stand. It makes worship an encounter with God at any time or place in any circumstance or any way! 

John in the book of Revelation prophesies that when all believers are gathered in heaven we will worship God with all that we are. And so what we typically limit to Sunday morning is simply a foretaste of heaven. And that alone is the truest and most accurate description of why we were created. When we give God his breath back he will fill us with even more! So over time as we grow closer and deeper in love with God, we will be filled more with his presence allowing us to pour it back to God and shine his glory to all the nations, getting us closer to fulfilling our eternal purpose of never ceasing to worship our creator, sustainer, and God.

Finally a quote from John Piper, “Our worship is the subjective echo of God’s objective worth, the immensity of his worth is reflected in the intensity of your worship, we were made for the admiration of the excellence of Jesus. And the greater your admiration the greater the revelation of Christ’s glorification!”

About the Author
Bobby Collins has been a member of First Lutheran church for 21 years, has been playing guitar for eight years, has played with the worship band for five years, and has been growing out his beard for six years. In 2011-12, he spent a year travelling with Youth Encounter Ministry playing music and sharing the gospel with youth around the United States.