Experiencing passionate worship is perhaps the most thought about aspect of fruitful congregations. When one thinks about going to church, one first plans to attend a worship service. With Bishop Robert Schnase’s choice of passionate to describe the worship, you may first think of praise services. However, passionate worship may be experienced in many forms.
I experience passionate worship in a variety of settings, but there are certain aspects that help me most in connected with God and my neighbor. What is best for me may not be the same for you. Prayer, music, Scripture and its interpretation are the basic aspects. There needs to be time where I participate in the prayer and music, but I also appreciate the time of silent prayer and listening to music.
Worship includes proclamation of the Word. This is the reading and interpretation of Scripture. While personal stories are helpful in understanding the relevancy of Scripture, I do not experience God when the preacher becomes the center of the time together. The preacher and other worship leaders need to be constantly pointing to God.
Passionate worship also connects me to my neighbor. When I travel and visit other congregations, I may experience worship in such a way that I do not feel like a stranger. Furthermore, passionate worship connects me with all of God’s people, even those on other continents and those who have since died. In partaking of the Eucharist (the Lord’s Supper), I experience a sacrament that has occurred regularly for more than 2000 years.
Now, as a leader in the church, I want to learn how others may experience passionate worship. What helps you to connect with God and all of God’s people? How is your congregation focused on the Word and not on individual leaders or particular parts of worship or types of music?