What is—and is not—Christ-centered worship?
Christ-centered worship is not just talking or singing about Jesus a lot. Christ-centered worship reflects the contours of the gospel. In the individual life of a believer, the gospel progresses through recognition of the greatness and goodness of God, the acknowledgment of our sin and need of grace, assurance of God's forgiveness through Christ, thankful acknowledgment of God's blessing, desire for greater knowledge of him through his Word, grateful obedience in response to his grace, and a life devoted to his purposes with assurance of his blessing.
In the corporate life of the church this same gospel pattern is reflected in worship. Opening moments offer recognition of the greatness and goodness of God that naturally folds into confession, assurance of pardon, thanksgiving, instruction, and a charge to serve God in response to his grace in Christ. This is not a novel idea but, in fact, is the way most churches have organized their worship across the centuries. Only in recent times have we lost sight of these gospel contours and substituted pragmatic preferences for Christ-centered worship. My goal is to re-acquaint the church with the gospel-shape of its worship so that we are united around Christ's purposes rather than arguing about stylistic preferences.
How does liturgy facilitate corporate worship in a Sunday morning service?
Liturgy is simply another term for the order of worship. Every church has a liturgy, although it may vary from being quite simple to very ornate. Understanding the gospel-shape of worship allows us to make Christ-centered choices about how the aspects of each church's liturgy—an opening song, a prayer of confession, or a benediction—are furthering the gospel message in our services. There is no "one right way" to acknowledge the goodness and greatness of God. But knowing that the beginning of the service has this goal allows us to make appropriate liturgical choices about the songs sung, the scriptures read, and/or the prayers offered in the opening phases of a worship service. The same will be true for those aspects of worship that involve confession, assurance, thanksgiving, etc.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Bryan Chapell on Christ-Centered Worship
I have Bryan Chapell's new book Christ-Centered Worship coming my way soon thanks to the goodness of a friend, and I can't wait to read it. Here is an excerpt from a great interview CT conducted with Chapell. (Don't freak out when you see the word "liturgy;" as Chapell helpfully points out, every church has one:
Posted by Jared at 8:49 AM