Christain worship is wide-spread, but not an entirely complex concept. As a Christian myself, I have been involved in many aspects of worship. I am continually growing in what it means to live a personal life of worship, in addition to serving as a worship leader. In this blog, I have answered some of the most common questions that I have been asked, as well as the questions I have asked myself.
How do Christians worship? Christians worship both individually and collectively. They worship with their entire lives, in all that they do. Additionally, they worship with a pure and willing heart. Christian worship includes music, singing, prayer, helping others, generous living and many other avenues.
How Christians Worship
Christain worship encompasses the entirety of a Christian’s life. Whether they are eating, sleeping, working, or taking part in any activity, all should be done for the glory of God. We see this expressed in 1 Corinthians 10:31 when the apostle Paul commands the believers, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” Therefore, worship isn’t confined to a specific place or time. Rather, worship is a holistic approach to life. There are, however, places, times, and occasions that worship is expressed in various ways, both individually and collectively.
Often times, congregated worship involving music and singing is what comes to mind for Christian worship. This is, in fact, a large part of Christian worship. There are great benefits and beauty to this style of worship. Yet, there are even greater depths that can be reached with the Lord and with others, when we identify and live out the other aspects of worship. For example, James 1:27 states, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
Furthermore, a true mark of worship is shown in the fulfillment of the first and second commandments. These are originally stated in the Old Testament and then reiterated by Jesus and the early church. Matthew 23:37-40 explains, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Places of Worship
The location of congregated worship can vary greatly depending on the surrounding environment, freedom of religion, and denomination. For example, in America, churches often are larger gatherings of fifty to hundreds of people. At times, American services are attended by thousands of people and have hundreds of members. This isn’t always the case, rather it is a generalization. There are numerous house churches and small churches across the country. The point of the matter is that America has the freedom to meet for Christian worship, resulting in the possibility of larger gatherings.
The dire contrast is within countries and nations that do not have the freedom of religion, or where Christianity is restricted or monitored. Due to this, worship gatherings are either kept extremely small and undercover or are completely nonexistent.
Below, I will list and describe some of the most common worship gatherings that we see worldwide. Keep in mind that the definition of “church” varies based on the context of the sentence it is used in. The church is a global phenomenon that is not restricted to a building. Instead, it is made up of all people who place their faith in Jesus. The term “church” is also used to refer to the building in which believers meet. As you read these definitions, recall that I am not limiting the power or location of the church. Rather, I am describing it in terms that are often used in social settings.
- Established Church – An established church is within a permanent or semi-permanent building. Typically, it is a building solely dedicated to the gathering of believers for worship, fellowship, teaching, encouragement, and outreach ministry. This style of the church can involve as little as a few people, or as large as thousands of people. The established church is what can be most closely related to the temple gatherings of the early church.
- House Church – A house church is exactly what it sounds like: a church gathering within someone’s home. At times, the church meetings can rotate between various houses while still remaining a consistent group. This style of church gathering occurs worldwide. It also marks the style in which the early church gathered.
- Conferences – Conferences also occur worldwide and are places of gathered times of musical worship, teaching, preaching, and fellowship. Typically, conferences are open to all denominations.
- Concerts – Worship concerts are times of musical worship hosted by Christian artists and organizations. They can be affiliated with a local church(es). These concerts are often open to believers and non-believers as an outreach ministry.
- Community – Public or community spaces are also used for worship, such as parks, city buildings, and different church buildings. Numerous worship focused ministries, such as the 24/7 Burn take place in various locations throughout a particular community.
Times of Worship
Worship occurs at any time during the year, month, week, and day. Essentially, the incense of worship is constantly being offered up to the Lord. The answer to the question of “what are times of worship?” is answered vaguely and specifically. In a vague sense, worship never ceases when you consider the time differences across the globe and the fact that there is a new rise in 24/7 worship worldwide. More specifically, a couple of days a week tend to be set aside for the gathering of believers.
For the purpose of understanding the way the church functions in a local setting, I have explained the most commons days in which believers gather. Additionally, I have provided the reasons that worship occurs during that time. Because the church is a multi-faceted establishment and concept, we cannot merely conclude that these are the only times and reasons to congregate.
Concrete Time Set Apart
- Sunday – Sunday’s tend to be the most common day for church services to take place. This is because many people believe that Sunday was the day of Sabbath that the Nation of Israel remembered God. However, there is some debate that the Sabbath actually occurred on Saturday. Nonetheless, Sunday is still recognized as the day of church.
- Wednesday – Many churches offer an additional time of worship and service throughout the week. Usually, this falls on a Wednesday.
- Daily – Like the early church (Acts 2:46-47), some believers across the world continue to meet daily in remembrance of the Lord.
- Holidays – Holiday church services of worship and teaching are also common. The common holidays celebrated are Christmas, Good Friday, and Easter. These holidays are not necessarily Biblical but were adapted by the church. Depending on the denomination of the church, Lent, Hanukkah, and other Jewish holidays are celebrated. All these holidays tend to be debated on whether or not they are necessary or glorifying to the Lord, considering the New Covenant and the fact that they are not plainly commanded in scripture.
Types of Worship
Worship is a wide-ranged avenue to give adoration, respect, and love to God. It is a manner of the heart, rather than outward actions. Worship isn’t always identifiable by outward appearance. Instead, it is a personal act of the heart that can only be discerned by that person and God Himself. Worship can be expressed in all areas of life.
Expressions of Musical Worship
In worship marked by music and singing, there are various responses that Christians have. Some Christians are exuberant, while others are reserved. Musical worship can involve any type of instrument or musical style.
- Hand Raising – Some Christians raise their hands at various heights and move them as they so desire.
- Dance – Dancing has been an expression of worship since the Nation of Israel. Worshipful dance is respectful and honorable. Do not confuse this with worldly and sensual dancing.
- Art – Painting and other art mediums can be used to portray a worshipful and grateful heart.
- Standing – Believers often stand during worship as a way to give honor to God.
- Bowing – Others take the posture of bowing before the Lord in reverence.
- Pray – Believers take a stance of prayer by communion and communication with God.
- Stillness – Remaining still and pondering the deep words about the Lord is also an expression of worship.
Other Avenues of Worship
As I stated earlier, worship categorizes all areas of life. I have compiled ideas and examples of ways to holistically worship. This should give you new insight in how to honor God with your entire life, heart, soul, and mind. Worship shouldn’t merely be an act of lip service.
- Volunteering in Ministry – Whenever you willingly give of your time to help others, you are worshiping the Lord.
- Generosity – Living a life of generosity with your time, resources, and energy is worship.
- Financial Giving – Worship can also take the form of giving of your finances to a local church, organization, or person.
- Prayer – Prayer should be a daily activity. It gives much glory to God and strengthens individual faith in Him.
- Studying Scriptures – Studying scriptures and living them out greatly honors God. God loves obedience.
These are only a few of the places, times, and ways to worship. I strongly encourage you to make it a priority to worship God with your entire life. This won’t happen overnight, but with each moment, greater knowledge can be gained. Worship is both a position of the heart, as well as a way of active living. This can occur individually and collectively.
If you are interested in learning more about worship, check out my other blogs: Worship with Confidence (Even When You’re Not Feeling It), and Christian Worship: Definition, Biblical Example, and How-To.