“Taking Your Worship to the Next Level: A Seminar on the Meaning & Practice of Christian Worship”

Yesterday I attended a seminar put on by the Presbytery of North Central Iowa called “Taking Your Worship to the Next Level: A Seminar on the Meaning & Practice of Christian Worship” led by Rev. Dr. Thomas K. Tewell & Rev. Dr. Gray Norsworthy. Here are some of the highlights:

“Passionate Worship is not restricted to any particular style; it can be highly formal, with robes, acolytes, stained glass, organ music orchestral accompaniment, and hardwood pews with hymnals on the rack in front. Or, Passionate Worship can take place in an auditorium, gym, or storefront, with casually dressed leaders, images on screens, folding chairs, and the supporting beat of a praise team. Authentic, engaging, life-changing worship derives from the experience of God’s presence, the desire of worshippers for God’s word, and the changed heart people deliberately seek when they encounter Christ in the presence of other Christians. Worship leaves people challenged, sustained, and led by the Spirit of God, and it changes how they view themselves and their neighbors. An hour of Passionate Worship changes all the other hours of the week.” Robert Schanse, Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations, Pg. 39

Worship is not about style it is about connecting with God. Worship is about remember what God has done (Deuteronomy 6:4-12). Worship is about experiencing forgiveness and being transformed (Isaiah 6:1-8).

Three Spiritual Principles of Worship

  1. People are starving for authentic experience of the worship of God. Our worship should connect to the lives of people.
  2. Worship is the central act of the people of God, everything else flows from worship. We need to take time and effort to prepare for worship because it impacts all in the worshiping community.
  3. In worship we remember that God is sovereign and we are not. Worship is not about us it’s about God. Worship is about getting our will in tune with God’s will. The point is not to evaluate, it’s to be transformed. When we experience God our world becomes bigger

“People have a point of view, God has view” – Madeleine L’Engle

“We need to remind ourselves that even when Christian worship is at its best… it is always the work of amateurs, people who do this for love” – Thomas Long, “Beyond the Worships Wars: Building Vital and Faithful Worship”

Quotations from The Dangerous Act of Worship, Mark Labberton, 2007

“Worship names what matters most: the way human beings are created to reflect God’s glory by embodying God’s character in lives that seek righteousness and do justice. Such comprehensive worship redefines all we call ordinary. Worship turns out to be the dangerous act of waking up to God and to the purposes of God in the world, and then living lives that actually show it.”

Bibliography of References at Seminar

Mark Labberton, “The Dangerous Act of Worship”

Thomas Long, “Beyond the Worships Wars: Building Vital and Faithful Worship”

Robert Schanse, “Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations”

Craig Barnes, Sermons at Princeton Seminary

Shannon Kerschner, Sermons at Black Mountain Presbyterian Church

Gray Norsworthy, Sermons at Johns Creek Presbyterian Church

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