Worship Renewal

Worship renewal is not about a particular congregation, a certain generation, or any of the details of our services. It is a part of our daily duty to take up our cross and follow the Lamb who was slain.  We seek to inspire God’s people to be lifetime worshipers, a people seeking to lose themselves in praise of their Savior as they gain new life in Him.

Discovering Your Congregations Worship Norms

Deuteronomy 16:16b – No one should come before me empty-handed.  This lesson from the Old Testament law is timeless, God wants us to come before Him with our hands outstretched, ready to offer Him what we have. Some things are easier to offer than others.  If we are wealthy it is easy to stroke a check. If we have few responsibilities it is easy to volunteer our time. If we love music it is easy to offer our voices.  Our Father in Heaven wants and deserves all of it, whether it is easy to give or not.

Worship renewal is not about a particular congregation, a certain generation, or any of the details of our services. It is a part of our daily duty to take up our cross and follow the Lamb who was slain.  We seek to inspire God’s people to be lifetime worshipers, a people seeking to lose themselves in praise of their Savior as they gain new life in Him.

Most of the time, when a congregation begins to talk about worship, they are talking about their congregation’s music ministry. Conversations tend to focus on what instruments are played, what songs are sung, and if people enjoy the worship service.

It does not take long for discussions like these to become personal and heated. Unfortunately, we tend to focus on issues of personal preference rather than deeper questions regarding worship.

Board member Chris “Doc” Wells and Spiritual Formation Catalyst Dan Nicewonger have worked to help challenge how we think and talk about worship.

Chris and Dan believe that every congregation has a set of worship norms unique to them. These worship norms fall into three categories, Theology, Culture, and Practice.

Theology

what you believe and how you think about God

Culture

your community’s history and those things which make your church unique

Practice

the way in which your congregation plans worship services and leads people in worship

It may seem obvious, but our theology ought to provide the foundation for how we think and practice our worship.

In reality, it is common for a congregation to allow questions of culture or practice to drive worship decisions. For example, your congregation’s culture may expect something that has little to do with helping people encounter God to be included as part of worship. We see this most clearly during special seasons of the year, even clearer during Hallmark holidays.

In moments like this, it is easy for questions of culture or practice to replace thoughts of theology.

There is great diversity in the way people worship. For some, worship means organ music, formal service, and hymns. On the other hand, many find a piano, guitars, drums, and praise music refreshing and meaningful. Some communities gather for worship in silence, waiting for the Spirit to speak.

However you worship, your worship is guided by norms shaped by your congregation’s theology, culture, and practice.

One of the most damaging things a community can do is try to change the worship service without clearly understanding the worship norms which have shaped the congregation. Yet, this is precisely what we do when trying to duplicate the worship style of another congregation.

At APITC, we are committed to helping congregations discern their worship norms. We work with pastors, leaders, and congregation members to uncover the unique way God has created the community to gather in worship.

Learning to celebrate and live into your unique worship norms can usher in transformative worship renewal.

We would welcome the opportunity to discuss how we could help your congregation.

A Community at Worship is a very practical book that outlines Chris and Dan’s thinking about worship renewal. They guide the reader through a process of discerning a congregation’s unique worship norms.

To talk with us about worship renewal