Many times when we use the word, “Worship” the thought of music comes to mind. I know I do, music is a part of who I am. I have been a musician/singer for years, matter of fact I was named after a rock-a-billy guitar player from the 1950’s and my first name means “singing”. So you would think it would be nature for me to think about music when we are talking about worship.
Yet when we look at the word worship from a biblical perspective it means so much more than just music. When you think about verses like John 4:24 that says, “God is spirit and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth.” Deuteronomy 11:13, “If you carefully obey my commands I am giving you today, to love the Lord you God and worship Him with all you heart and your soul…” you began to see this all inclusive attitude and activity of oneself in complete obedience to almighty God.
In the book Transformational Church one of the seven elements was Worship. In the book it describes this balance between community service and personal worship that comes together and explodes in corporate service. There is this firm understanding to have transformational worship in public there has to be personal devotion.
I like how Henry Blackaby put it, “Worship anticipates not only an encounter with God, but also a clear next word from God. Worship is totally God-centered! God-focused! Out of worship comes a clearer and more focused relationship of faith and obedience with God. Worship is God’s way of developing character and directing life into the center of His will.” From the book entitled, “Created to be God’s Friend”
That is where Sunday School can play a great part in bridging the gap of those that are missing out on those God-centered moments. In his book, High Expectations, Dr. Thom Rainer pointed out that after tracking people for five years, 84% of those who where in a Sunday School class were still active after 5 years as opposed to those who only attended a worship service…only 16% of those people were still active.
With our corporate worship services still playing the role of most of our churches entry points, assimilation is absolutely key for people getting connected and understanding biblical worship. Sunday School classes and teachers need to create an atmosphere of worship. Stop dispensing biblical information only (that’s easy), but prayerfully create this element of reflection, biblical perspective, authentic community that culminates in worship. There are suggestions that could be made to help your class through the week as they create their own personal study time. Materials that could be offered or online study helps that would take them on their own walk with God.
So remember, worship is not just music but it is you as a follower of Jesus Christ surrendering yourself to Him in your daily walk, being emptied of self and filled with Him. Then as a teacher or a group leader of a class to create an atmosphere (or an opportunity) for God to show up and transform you group!
God is spirit and those that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth!
Dwayne Lee is the associate team leader of the Bible Teaching/Leadership Resource Group of the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio.