I must have been in third or fourth grade at the time.
Church retreats were always a good time, it was more or less a three-day sleepover with a bunch of friends while the adults did stuff. I remember one time in particular where me and my friends were running around, and as I ran past the sanctuary, I caught a glimpse inside.
Over a decade later, and I still remember the image I saw. It was one of the high-schoolers, weeping as he held his hands up in worship.
Growing up in church, I had been in worship all the time, but this was different. It was a… deep worship. I wanted more of that.
Since then, I’ve been in that deep worship more often. But now, as I lead worship and teach others about leading worship, my search has been to find what makes some worship deeper.
As far as I can tell, there are three main values of worship: Revelation, Response, and Responsibility.
“Our obligation to love, honor, and obey any being is in proportion to his loveliness, honorableness, and authority… But God is a being infinitely lovely, because he hath infinite excellency and beauty…” -Jonathan Edwards
The act of worship is a response, and so requires something to respond to. God is infinitely awe-some, and loves us beyond measure, which presents us with a difficult problem.
We are incapable of wrapping our finite brains around an infinite being, or concept. It would be far easier to swallow the ocean, or single-handedly pick up Mount Everest than fully understand the infinite nature and character of God.
This is our response to God. As Paul puts it in Romans 12:1, we are called to offer our lives as living sacrifices as our worship. Surrender. Obedience. According to Paul, these are at the heart of worship. Which makes sense, when you consider the fact that God has no need for material things. He’s after our hearts, wanting to see them bent into accordance with His will.
“I had not noticed either that just as men spontaneously praise whatever they value, so they spontaneously urge us to join them in praising it: ‘Isn’t she lovely? Wasn’t it glorious? Don’t you think that magnificent?’ The Psalmists in telling everyone to praise God are doing what all men do when they speak of what they care about.” -C.S. Lewis
The final value of worship, is sharing it with others. We are given a responsibility to share the Gospel until all have heard. This is not because we need to earn our salvation, but because the Gospel is the greatest news ever. We were dead, lost in sin, without hope, condemned to eternal punishment rightfully so. But God came in and took the punishment upon himself, buying eternal life with Him for those who would receive Him! What an incredible gift!
Deeper worship and richer leadership stems from deeper revelation. This is a gift from God, only God. We cannot gain this revelation by our own efforts, and work. But are we listening? Are we reading the Word He has already given us? Are we asking the Holy Spirit to open our eyes?
We at YWAM Maui long to see deeper worship released. We want to spread Spirit-filled and Truth-filled worship, until the echoes of God’s praise rings from the highest mountains, and floods the lowest valleys.
Are you in?
School of Worship, April 2020
By: Tim Song