Worship is really about an audience of ONE – God. We, the actors, carry on the “work,” the liturgy. As followers of Christ, it is the reason we gather. We gather not be a part of some performance but conscious connection to the One who is greater than we can imagine or comprehend. We come and leave changed by this incomprehensible encounter.
Planning and executing worship is a challenge. Balance between new scholarship, ancient texts, compelling visuals, transformational preaching, and stirring music must lay the groundwork for a stable God-connection. Prior to worship, prayer, scriptural and thematic research, and consideration for what elements will be present foster a Holy Spirit led plan. In the end, the scripture, sermon, music, prayers, and even announcements must reflect connection with the worshippers heart, soul, mind, and strength. (Matthew 12:30) And, finally, much comes down to the worship personnel’s execution of the planned event and the receptivity of the worshipper to enter into dialogue with God.
Finally, as quoted in scripture, faith without works is dead. (James 2:17) When people depart worship, what works will a congregation participate in that will become the embodiment of Christ in the world? What will move faith from worshipping safely away from the world to becoming the hands and feet of Christ? We try to offer something missional that each worshipper can participate in outside the walls of the church.
If you aren’t a United Methodist, perhaps this seems a bit over-thought. Thinking is in the D-N-A of a United Methodist. As a United Methodist, we use the Wesleyan quadrilateral as our guide in all that we do, including the planning and execution of worship.
What helps you connect with the Holy?