Vineyard Values of Worship
Worship is forever! It is the one activity that we can participate in now that we will continue when we are I heaven. Throughout the book of Revelation we get glimpse of true worship; worship as it is continuously going on in heaven (see Revelation 4:8-10; 5:8-10; 7:9-12; 11:15).
We can draw 3 important principles about worship from these passages.
- First of all, in worship there are no spectators; everyone is involved.
- Second voices and bodies are used to express adoration to God. It is interesting to note that the Hebrew and Greek words means ito bow down and in Greek it means ito kiss towards. True worship involves our whole beings.
- Thirdly, worship serves to prepare believers to reign with God for eternity.
As we worship, we are transformed into the people God created us to be.
God is looking for a certain kind of worshipers. He is, in fact, seeking true worshippers (see john 4:21-24). What is it that God is looking for when we worship Him? What is it that touches His heart?
Worship is a lifestyle. It is about a heart felt that says “YES” to God on a moment-by-moment basis. It involves daily choices, living our lives for God’s pleasure. This is the heart of worship and the characteristic of a true worshiper. So when we gather together to express our love to God in a meeting, it’s not just about the songs we sing or the word we say, its about the life we’re living.
In the vineyard, worship is our highest priority. We prioritize worship as lifestyle, but we also put great emphasis on worship expressed by singing songs of love and devotion to God when we meet together. Because of this priority we have developed a model of corporate worship based on 6 values that we believe expresses the kind of worship God is looking for.
1. We value worship that is God centred
Worship is for God and God alone. It’s all about Him and His glory. In today’s world, particularly in urban settings, music is very closely identified with entertainment. Concerts, television, music videos and even crusades and other Christian gatherings use music as a means of entertaining people.
Often in church, the opportunity devoted to worshiping God through song is just one more vehicle for musical entertainment. We, on the other hand, value worship that is solely for God. We want to do whatever we canto break the entertainment model and create an environment in which people can freely express their love and worship to God.
We do this intentionally avoiding anything that is “showy: musically. There are no flashy instrumental solos or vocals embellishments but rather an attempt to draw attention to God rather than to whoever is leading the music. We also avoid performance oriented dance- tough we don’t at all inhibit people from dancing too the Lord spontaneously.
2. We value worship that is intimate
God has gone to great measures to allow us to draw near to Him. When Jesus died, we are told that the veil of the of the temple was torn in two “from top to bottom” (see Matthew 27:51). This veil was a symbol of separation between the people of God and the presence of God. Now, through the death of Jesus, this separation has been removed and we can freely enter into God’s presence.
Yet, often, during our times of worship, many congregations keep God at a distance. They sing testimony songs to each other about Him, but rarely sing songs of love and worship directly to Him.
In the New Testament the church is referred to as the Bride of Christ, which expresses how intimately Jesus wants to relate to us! We value corporate worship that offers an opportunity to give ultimate expressions of our love and devotion directly to Jesus. Therefore we choose songs that are directed to God rather than songs about God.
We also choose to interrupt the flow of worship with instructions to the people or the announcement of the next song or other unnecessary talk. We feel it I important to let people connect with God and remain there in His presence without distractions from those who leading the time of worship. When intimacy is the goal, great sensitivity to the people and to the Holy Spirit is vital.
3. We value worship that is the Holy Spirit led
Jesus is the Head of the church, and the Holy Spirit is the one who runs the church. The Holy Spirit desires to bring glory to Jesus, and He will therefore be our best worship leader! It is good for us to plan, but we must then submit our plans to the Holy Spirit, allowing Him to change them as He wills.
In addition to submitting our plans to the Holy Spirit, we must also listen for His direction during our time of corporate worship. He may lead us in to a time of silence, or into a time of jubilant praise. Its not for us o say what God desires at any given moment, but the Holy Spirit knows and will tell us if we are listening.
Often, there are opportunities to pray an minister to people during our times of worship. God’s presence can sometimes be so strong in our midst that we begin to His power resting on people and healing then. This is one of the many benefits of allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us.
4. We value worship that reflects a high level of quality
In psalms 33:3 the psalmist urges us to ipray skilfully, and shout for joyi. King David also put a high priority on musicians developing their skills before they were chosen to lead the people in worship ( se I chronicles 25).
Worship is definitely what is in our hearts and not about how skilful we are on our instruments, but there is a sense in which those who seek to lead others in worship through music should be growing in their musical skills. This takes individual practice a well as practice with the other members of our worship team. We must always seek to give God our very best.
This commitment to quality also includes our use of P.A systems. In a small room there is no need for amplification (except in the case of an electric guitar or base), so it’s better not to use one. In larger rooms a P.A system can be used, but only if it is free from distractions such as distortion and other noises that often result from loose connections within the system.
Remember, the goal is to create an environment where people can freely express their love to God.
5. We value worship that is accessible to everyone
Because our goal is full participation from every worshipper, w choose songs that are simple to sing in a language that people understand. We also use a musical style with which people are familiar. This is an extremely important issue in Africa, where western models of worship have been imposed on African Christianity.
In many African churches there is no indigenous styles of music at al, but rather musical styles such as hymns and contemporary choruses that have been imported from the west. This may be appropriate in certain urban and perhaps more cosmopolitan centres, but seems entirely inappropriate in a village or rural setting where people are accustomed to using local musical styles in every part of their lives except in the church.
There is currently a limited amount of worship songs in local musical musicians to compose some! Psalm 96 urges us to ising a new song to the Lord. Those who are outside the church will also be more likely to come inside the church if they are able to see that they don’t have to take on something foreign in order to become a Christian.
On that day, when the great multitude from every nation, every tribe, every people and every language stands before the throne of the lamb, I am quite sure that God intended every musical style to be represented there as well!
6. We value worship that is led with integrity
Who we are on a day-to-day basis (our character) communicates more than what we do when we’re u front leading people. Therefore, it is important that those who we are entrust to lead the time of corporate worship be people of integrity. In other words, we are looking for people who follow Jesus in every aspect of their lives.
It is attempting to choose people to lead our worship based on their gifs and talents and ignore their character. But we can’t afford to give I to this temptation. Ideally we want people with character and gifting, but we must always use this order: character first, gifting second.
Not only is it important to be people of integrity, but also it is important that way we lead people is with integrity.
That means treating people with respect. We don’t command people to clap their hands, or shout, or jump or get on their knees before the Lord. And we don’t try to manipulate the people that we’re leading in any way. We don’t believe in “hype” or attempting to “make something happen”.
We simply lead people into God’s presence and allow them to express their love to God in whatever way they are led by the Holy Spirit. Some may come to our meetings needing to repent, some are grieving and want to cry to the Lord, others are experiencing great Joy and want to dance and shout. All of this can happen simultaneously! But we can really quench the Spirit if we try to make everyone do the same thing!