A Safe Place to Worship

July 14, 2015


Each week, people all over America (and probably the world) struggle with how to express themselves in worship when they go to church:

“Do I raise my hands when I sing?”

“Am I supposed to close my eyes, or maybe just squint a little since I don’t know all the words?”

“Do I have to sing? This was a horrible week for me and I’m not sure I’m up for this.”

While this post is not the end-all-be-all about worship, I do want to share few thoughts about worship at New Life.

1. New Life is a Safe Place to Discover God.

We know a lot of people feel like outsiders when they come to New Life for the first time. Whether they’ve never set foot in a church building before or are just coming from another church down the street, they don’t know what to expect so they often have a little (or a lot of) apprehension. So, at New Life we strive to ALWAYS be a safe place for people to discover God. Worship is no different. We simply want to be a safe place for people to worship God together. If you’d like to raise your hands, that’s great. If you’d like to stand there and reflect quietly on the words in the songs, that is fine as well. If you haven’t been to church ever, and you just want to observe, that’s fine too.

2. Corporate Worship

When we sing songs together on Sunday morning, we call it corporate worship. The idea is that by singing these songs as a group, it brings us together as a church. The point isn’t just that we are all singing the same words on a screen. No, the lyrics glorify and honor God as we sing about and to Him. That’s a fancy way of saying we declare to ourselves and everyone who is present, how good and great God is. How? By both celebrating the great things God did throughout our week, as well as grieving with one another about the bad things that happened. Through it all we worship God through the joy and the pain.

As a side note, we choose songs each week that convey some part of what we will be talking about in the message. This provides continuity to the entire service and prepares us for the message God wants us to hear.

3. Private Worship

As a worship leader, I have a lot of things going through my mind on a Sunday morning. If I’m not careful, all of those things, even if they have to do with something about church, can be a huge distraction for me. You probably have a lot of things going through your mind as well on any given Sunday. What has helped me the most in battling these distractions is to make sure that I am also worshiping throughout the week and preparing my heart for Sunday morning. This is one of the things that I remind the worship team of from time to time. We all have lots going on throughout the week, but we must understand that in addition to corporate worship, we worship God through how we live our lives. As Paul says in Romans 12:1-2, Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. When we worship God throughout the week, with the way that we live, we are more prepared to come and worship Him on Sunday with others who have been doing the same thing in their lives.

FullBandWorship1If you’ve been concerned about how to act during worship, I hoped this has helped you a little bit. Even when we sing together corporately, we are also privately worshiping God through what He has done through us, and in us, and for us through His son, Jesus Christ. And if you want to raise your hands, or reflect on lyrics, my prayer is simply that your heart is ready each week for God to speak to you through His Word.

-Brennan Loveless

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