VALUES FOR CORPORATE WORSHIP, VALUE # 6

This is the sixth in a series of columns I’m writing to describe our goals and values for corporate worship. So far, I’ve said that we want our worship gatherings to be God-centered, cross-centered, and Scripture-saturated. We also value congregational engagement and cultural sensitivity. Two more this week: creative excellence and expressiveness.

Regarding creative excellence, we believe our worship should express the worthiness of God more than the worthiness of our worship. Nonetheless, we believe excellence and creativity help worshipers behold more of God’s glory than shoddiness and monotony.

Additionally, we believe our pursuit of excellence must be kept in balance, avoiding ostentatious display on the one hand and mediocre half-heartedness on the other. Practically, the value we place on creative excellence means:

  • We utilize musical styles and arrangements that draw attention to the song lyrics, rather than to the music or the musicians.
  • Our musicians, preachers, and other worship leaders prepare thoroughly and rigorously, intending to use their gifts to bring maximum glory to the God who gave them.
  • We endeavor not to settle into a single mold, desiring to reflect the resplendent display of God’s own creativity.

Regarding expressiveness in worship, we believe our all-worthy God calls forth whole-person responses. Worship requires us to be engaged with our whole person—mind, emotions, will, and body—at every moment.

We also believe what we do with our bodies both reflects and informs what is going on in our heart. Sometimes our body responds to our emotions and thoughts; at other times, we must act with our bodies in order to stir up our mind and heart. Practically, this value of expressiveness means:

  • We encourage worshipers to respond to God with all of their being, resisting the tendency to emphasize one aspect of personhood over another.
  • We instruct worshipers on biblical forms of expression, striving to conform our preferences and traditions to the word of God.