I have read countless books on worship. I have taken several classes on the subject. I have preached sermon series  and taught Bible Classes on it. Even after all that I still feel that I can not adequately define what we are talking about when we use the term, Worship.

Are we talking about what we do “in the auditorium” on Sundays? Are we limiting our discussion to the so-called “five acts of worship” that some insist are the biblical indicators for distinguishing between false churches and the One True Church? (Singing, Prayer, Preaching/Teaching, Giving, and the Lord’s Supper). This, it seems to me, is a pretty narrow view of worship.

On the other hand, are we taking a broad view of worship? Are we willing to go along with the thinking that, “Everything we do is worship?” Is that statement true biblically? Can I wash my car and offer that act as worship to God? Is it true that I am worshiping God when I am polite to others? Help a stranded motorist? Buy a meal for a homeless person? This, it seems to me, is a pretty broad view of worship.

Wherever we come down on this issue of definition, the important thing is that as we discuss Christian Worship we be extremely careful to insure that we are all talking about the same thing. How well we define worship will govern how well we understand one another. So that you understand my effort at coherence on the subject, consider my definition: Christian Worship is

  • An appropriate (it is “authorized” for and in the context in which it is being offered);
  • God-honoring (it involves our consciousness of and our esteem for God’s Holiness);
  • Self-evaluating (it involves our awareness of, confession of, and repentance from personal sin);
  • Kingdom-embracing (it involves our acceptance of and commitment to the mission of God);
  • Holistic human response (it involves our entire being: heart, mind, soul, and strength);
  • To the self-revelation of God (as He reveals Himself in various ways to us);
  • Offered through and upon the authority of Jesus Christ.

I’m not sure that I’ve adequately defined it but this is at least a starting point for future discussions of Christian Worship.