Words about worship: your turn


Walking with Jesus / Monday, February 19th, 2018

In the past year, I’ve been thinking a lot about worship.

Before I share my thoughts, I’m curious about your own experience in worshipping Jesus. What is worship like for you? If you would choose three words from the list below to describe the most shaping and memorable worship experiences of your life, what would those words be?


Corporate (you worshipped with others)

Musical (you or others were singing)

Empowering (you could do things you don’t normally do)

Private (you were alone, and glad of that)

Revelatory (you learned truth)

Prayerful

Stretching (you were slightly out of your comfort zone)

Quiet

Participatory (you joined in something that was already happening)

Surprising

Physical (your body got involved)

Voiced (you or others were speaking truth)

Led (someone else took charge and brought you to Jesus)

Impromptu

Ecclesiastical (your experience was connected to church somehow)

Loud

Refreshing

Transforming (you were different afterwards)

Regular (tied to your normal and habitual practices)

Scenic (you were moved to worship by the beauty of your surroundings)

Grateful/Responsive (you were moved to worship by an act of God)


Or choose your own words! but give me three or more if you can. Optional add-on: Does one word jump out at you as farthest from describing the worship you’ve loved?

Diversity is fine; don’t worry too much about what others are saying. And if this is an uncomfortably revealing activity for you, feel free to comment anonymously. I want to hear what you have to say.

36 Replies to “Words about worship: your turn”

  1. As I walked with Jesus and his people and studied the Word, I have landed in a perspective that hasn’t really changed for me in the past twenty years.

    Worship is about your spirit and your state of mind. Jesus points this out with the lady at the well. He also points out that there are true worshippers, which means there is a false or counterfeit.
    True worship is about deciding who you belong to, giving your heart soul and mind, and tossing everything else.
    This is worship… belonging to Jesus…. more and more each day.
    It’s not about music, or dance or mediatation or art, etc. These are expressions of worship, of that lifestyle.
    It does happen that these expressions arouse ‘worship’ in ourselves and others.
    True worship is living for God in your mind and emotions as well as actions. It’s mental faithfulness.

    There is this thing called Praise. Anyone – Christian or not- can praise God, or speak well of Him when they see His awesomeness or an act of love. This is not worship, this is praise. It is good, but it is not worship.

    As a music director, or worship leader, as they call it, my role in this position is to inspire people to praise and inspire people to express their worship. But I also recognize that I am ‘leading in worship’ when I sing, speak, or teach, or testify, etc. Not just in music and arts.

    Worship is ‘loving God with all your heart, mind, and strength’.
    Our mandate is to lead worship or make desciples : which is really just inspiring others to love God more and more, and then to grow to inspire others as well…. so the cycle continues.

    May God be with you as you truly worship Him and as you express your worship through whatever way inspires you and those around you!

    Love you, cuz!

    1. For some reason I did not see this comment until now, but wow, thanks for these great thoughts, Derek. I know that all the praise in the world doesn’t mean a thing to God (in fact, he sometimes called it a stink in his nostrils) if our hearts are not with him in truth. <3

  2. Private, stretching, transforming. The year has been intense with things I could not discuss freely, but God has led so Kindly. And for that I am grateful.

  3. Since it is too difficult for me to narrow my experience down to 3 words, I will go with the option of what I least identify with:

    loud, revelatory.

    For me, worship is a tricky mix of discipline and spontaneity. There’s the discipline of bowing of my heart and mind to what I know is true about Jesus and verbalizing that in some manner. This takes lots of focus and intentionality sometimes.

    Then there are those spontaneous moments when I am surprised and OVERCOME with worship that must find some kind of expression.

    I find both situations require a yielding of my heart and mind and body and emotions to the One who is far greater and bigger than me. When I realize His worthiness and my smallness, I worship.

    I’m expecting you to provide some answers to my questions and confusion about worship. 🙂

  4. I haven’t commented on your posts for a while but I have been reading and enjoying!
    Worship has been a bit of a bumpy road for me. Healing is coming as I give myself permission to experience Jesus outside of formal, structured prayer and worship time. That being said the “worship” that trips me up is corporate, verbal public prayer, and guilted pressure to pray for every need.
    Musical, private, and physical are my top three words for ways God has met me.

  5. Private, revelatory, prayerful, refreshing, empowering. Prayer with a friend or two is also very precious.
    Musical and corporate. Ah, scenic, too.
    It’s hard to narrow it down. 🙂
    The word that least describes most worship for me is loud. I tend to need quiet to be able to focus-closing the door, I suppose. I would like to grow in voicing praise.
    My husband would say that worship has to do with placing worth. Is God truly first and highest in my life?

  6. You asked, “what is worship like for you?” The best way I can answer is by sharing part of an email I wrote 2 1/2 weeks ago. The first part of the email was about how church is extremely painful right now because there I face my losses every Sunday as I see and hear 6 new babies. Here’s the last part of the email.
    ——————————–
    Babies cried during the service. I couldn’t stop listening to them and it tore me apart. “What’s the point of me going to church?” I asked Peter, “I can’t even worship–sing the songs, participate in the Sunday school discussion, listen to the preacher”. At that moment in our discussion, one of the boys called for daddy and Peter left me sitting in the silence.

    I wasn’t expecting to hear from God while I sat in that chair wondering how to survive church. But I heard His words in my heart:
    Right now, church for you means going into the presence of Jesus (Matt. 18:20) and offering your raw, unraveled self to Him. Give your emotions and experiences to Jesus Christ as a sacrifice.

    Then I thought about Romans 12:1, “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship”. And then I remembered Psalm 51:17, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise”.
    ———–
    Worship happens in many more places than church. But that is where I am stretched right now and where my worship of Jesus is most vulnerable

  7. Musical, tears, revelatory.

    Just two quick examples of worship…

    At my dear friend’s baby’s funeral just recently… the couple’s deep desire was that we would worship at the funeral! The church choir sang “Blessed be your name… you give and take away”, and I was overcome by worship of this God who is so faithful and so beyond our comprehension! One of the most difficult things for me was NOT raising my hands… I probably could have, but as it is not truly expected there, I didn’t want to be a distraction. (Is that quenching the spirit in my situation? I expect you to answer all questions and confusion in this regard 😉 )

    I’ve been blessed by the imagery that God has given to me occasionally when I’ve worshiped in private! He has revealed personally who He is and how He feels about me. It’s a personal, heart-felt worship experience, not a particularly easy one to talk about, but very life-changing!

    1. Here is my answer, as Biblically sound as I could scrounge on short notice: When in Rome, do as the Romans. 🙂 (I think that comes from Fourth Peter 17.)

      I think it’s entirely appropriate to consider the feelings of others in church life, and whether or not my “freedom” will cause them to stumble; I do not wear my brightest floral dress into an Amish service. You were choosing relationship over private expression.

  8. Corporate. Revelatory. Transforming. Worship for me is much like a river … alive and flowing; sometimes rushing and forceful, sometimes slow and gentle. Always fresh, new, different, changing. One of my most powerful worship moments was at my brother’s funeral. We sang “You give and take away … my heart will choose to say, Blessed be your Name.” There with my whole family, with hands lifted towards heaven, and tears streaming down our faces, hearts in pieces, we worshipped because He is still good. Worship like that changes me to my core.

  9. scenic
    academic ( scientific–studying outer space, nudibranchs, microbiology; historical–studying God’s hand in all the events of history and government)
    creative (doing the things I am good at and love is somehow intertwined with my worship)

    farthest from enjoyable worship is physical especially in public when asked to raise my hands or show some other posture. I find that so distracting that I can hardly worship at all.

  10. Grateful
    Lyrical (I made this catagory, but words are so important to me)
    Corporate
    Physical (but preferably for me not at the same time as corporate. I think it’s okay, but I’m not there now.)

  11. I know this comment is a bit late, but I want to add my two cents before I go on and read your post on public worship.

    For me, the moments that have caught me up in worship the most dramatically have been through music, scenery, or a revelation new to me. “Grateful/ responsive” gets honorable mention. 😉

    I don’t find those moments happen through regular daily habits and activities, and “loud” definitely is the opposite of what creates a moment of worship for me. Physical is not part of the picture at all, either, but I believe that is 100% due to upbringing.

    I’m a little confused by all I hear about worship being a state of being all the time, etc. In my mind worship is when my mind specifically turns to God in praise and awe, but it’s possible I don’t understand the true definition. I haven’t done a study on it. 🙂

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