Greetings WTR peps!
At my church we are currently working on the development of our theology of worship. In other words we are seeking to flesh out on paper what we believe the Bible has to tell us about the practice of worship. For those of you who have already worked through this process I would love to see your work... That is if you don't mind sharing it. It would be helpful to us to see what others have developed.
I sometimes think it's not that people are hostile to music outside their sphere (or "box", a square sphere); it's more that we fear that if someone puts different music on us it's the first step to "taking our music away from us." If we can learn to trust others more in the music area, it will help.
Daniel, do you know who at BBC&S put that together?
I don't recall seeing it while I was there, but I can certainly see it being incorporated into our church's theology and practice of worship.
My guess would be David Harris or Jim Jeffery. Or a combination of the two.
As I came to the church this after work today, a rare crisp blue-sky sunset greeted me, a fresh breeze, and thoughts about one of the most beautiful theologies of worship I have heard began to fill my mind and heart.
Specifically, I was hearing in my head the song from "Mary Poppins": "Feed the Birds, Tuppence a Bag."
A widow lady is shown, selling bags of bird feed for 2 small coins, likely the cost of the seed itself, with birds gathering all around her. The saints and apostles (shown as carvings on the nearby cathedral) are watching the scene; God's presence is heavy. "Listen! Listen! She's calling to you." It seems a good deal of what is important about how to freely worship God is contained in this little lyric.
There's another thread regarding repetitive choruses currently active. I don't want to interrupt their discussion by getting all clinical and critical. What I want to bring up, and I don't know if this could be shoehorned into our discussion of theology and method, is this: There is a phenomenon called semantic satiation, though perhaps semantic fatigue is more descriptive. Repeat a single phrase long enough and one quits paying attention to anything but the progression of syllables, as though the recognition of meaning is shut off until some new input occurs. It's harder for me not coming from a charismatic background to separate that trancelike response, perhaps enhanced by the presence of musical accompaniment, from what others might perceive as the moving of the Holy Spirit. Is it possible that included in what many experience as the flowing of the Holy Spirit is a phenomenon common to eastern traditions as a result of meditative repetition? I've wondered about this in relation to "practicing the presence" types of prayer as well. At what point do these things become vain repetition? Any comment (or correction or condemnation) ?
We pulled together a small committee that included the Pastor, myself (Minister of Music) and a few others, and took a stab at this a few years ago. Here's what we came up with. Thanks for posting this question. I look forward to reviewing the responses posted from others.
We believe in one triune God and our worship to Him is the central activity of the church. Worship is meeting with God in our daily lives and in the regular gathering of believers. Since God is the "audience" for our worship, our primary goal is bringing honor and pleasure to Him. That which honors and brings Him pleasure is directed by our knowledge of His attributes as communicated through His Word, Divine revelation, and His work among us. In worship we will meet with God. Fully aware of His presence, we will engage physically, emotionally, spiritually and intellectually by responding to His glory with reverence, joy and thanksgiving through prayer, music, celebration, the teaching of the Word, stewardship of our resources and lives of obedience. Our worship is not limited by style; it has much more to do with people truly engaging their hearts and minds in exalting God. In spirit and in truth, our worship involves a variety of expressions honoring God, motivating us to spiritual change and maturity, evangelizing the lost and encouraging the believer. We strive to make our reflection of Christ creative, relevant, understandable, memorable and engaging. For the believer, we offer personal worship experiences, prayer and communion. For the seeker, we offer a welcoming place to come to know Christ.
Amen Michelle! It looks like you guys did a great job! Thanks so much for sharing! I'm looking forward to studying it. Thanks so much!
Praise God Daniel! Again, thanks for posting this question. We actually developed several core value statements for our congregation. Check them out at:
Really good, sound content, Michelle! Do you print this out with paragraphing, or bullets, or indents or colors or something to help people to read it more easily?
The first line of the core value is bolded and in color - as the key statement. Then the supporting statements are in paragraph form. We even had banners designed for each core value that hang around our sanctuary. The banners just have the core value (i.e., Worship, Discipleship, Christian Education, etc.) and a key text, and the graphic ties into the core value. We also developed a small pamphlet (5.5 x 8), one page for each Core Value, that also lists our ministry goals associated with each Core Value. So for instance, for our Core Value of Outreach, our ministry goal is to move from fellowship to evangelism, and we are identifying some intentional efforts we can make (with prayer and the Lord's leading) in this area. For our core value Worship, one of our ministry goals was broadening our whole congregation's (we have a multi-generational congregation) appreciation of hymns. January was "Hymns of Our Faith" month and we did hymns (in all styles - traditional, contemporary, gospel, etc.) throughout the entire worship service - for all congregational responses, for praise and worship, and for the choir or soloist selections - for the entire month. It was received very well by all ages.
From her study of biblical worship, Dr. Bridges extracted the following principles:
Wow, thanks for the outline! Are there scripture verses offered to support this? Maybe too much to share here?