If you ask any congregation that truly loves God, they will all say that they want their church to have a healthy worship culture. That doesn’t mean the latest technology and light show, that doesn’t mean the hippest songs and musicians, and it doesn’t simply mean an energetic or emotional experience. To have a healthy worship culture means God’s church is worshiping Him in spirit and truth. It doesn’t matter what your church’s musical style is, healthy worship happens when believers passionately and expressively worship God in a Christ-centered, Biblically-saturated way.
Pastors and worship leaders can only do so much to plan and orchestrate worship services. Though this is necessary for a church’s worship to be healthy, there are certain things that church leadership can’t do. In order to achieve this kind of atmosphere within a church, there are some things that fall directly on the shoulders of individual believers that make up that local church. Though this is not an exhaustive list, I wanted to note three things that believers must do that is essential for the entire congregation to be marked by healthy worship.
Private Worship. This is important because you can’t expect a room full of people to worship God on Sunday as He intended when they haven’t had much to do with Him the rest of the week. Private worship simply means that you are spending time throughout the week in which you intentionally meet with God. We are given many examples of this throughout Scripture. King David noted this private worship life in Psalm 119:62 when he said, “At midnight I rise to praise you.” And in Matthew 6:6, Jesus teaches on private worship, specifically with the element of prayer: “When you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” If believers were consistent in their private worship, it would result in a church having a thriving weekly worship gathering.
Family worship. Throughout the history of worship, family worship was essential. For many centuries in the Old Testament, worshipers didn’t have official meeting places. So, when God was worshiped, it was most often done in homes. And God is serious about this taking place among families. Deuteronomy 6:4-7 says, “The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children.” In the New Testament, we see instructions given to men in how they are to lead their homes: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:25-26, 6:4) These passages are speaking specifically of discipleship, teaching, and training. All of which are accomplishing the big picture of God being exalted, glorified, and worshiped. Imagine what Sunday morning would look like if every family in the church spent consistent time throughout the week in which they studied God’s word, prayed, and sang together.
Gathered Worship. This seems like a no-brainer. But unfortunately, in our culture today, it must be said. Our churches can’t have the healthy worship culture that God desires of us, if most of its members are inconsistent in showing up. We are shown in the book of Acts that the early church was marked with a commitment to worship gatherings: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And day by day, attending the temple together...praising God and having favor with all the people.” (Acts 2:42, 46-47) By the time the book of Hebrews was written, we see that there were some that were already beginning to neglect worship gatherings: “Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some.”(Hebrews 10:24-25) Much more can be said about neglecting church worship gatherings, but I’ll just leave it at this: God deserves our best expression of worship and we can’t give that to Him if we aren’t committed to gathering and worshiping Him together.