This is the seventh in a series of Friday posts on congregational song.
I believe that a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is the key to joy, satisfaction, fruitfulness, and meaning, now, every moment, and forever.
I believe such a relationship is available to every human creature. Personality doesn’t matter. Intellect and education don’t matter. Culture doesn’t matter. Age doesn’t matter. Financial and social status don’t matter. Every person can have a satisfying and meaningful life through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Further, God is always, everywhere calling everyone into this relationship with Himself. What’s more, He gives us the privilege of participating in His call to others.
That’s why I believe so passionately in hymns. A personal relationship with Christ is the key to life for every person, and hymns can nurture that relationship.
Some worship leaders focus on creating “an experience” for their worshipers or trying to “make a moment” for them. Experiences with God can be important and formative, but only as they contribute to an ongoing relationship with God. That relationship is the key.
I suggest that our hymns and worship services focus on nurturing our ongoing relationship with God rather than on creating a temporary “experience” with God. Our services last one hour or so. What about the other 167 hours? Sundays should focus on the week, not the moment. Their purpose should be to prepare people for daily living. When that is the emphasis, substance becomes far more important than style.
As many suggest, it is vital that our worship services remind people of the reality of God’s presence. But remember, God is always with us, not just on Sunday morning, and we realize His presence, not by emotion, but by faith.
For example, consider how Christ mentored His disciples. Was it by leading them into a big emotional worship experience? Perhaps once, on the mount of transfiguration, with only three disciples, immediately before His death. But His focus was on nourishing their faith and a constant relationship with the Father. Jesus’ strength was fed, not by emotional pit-stops, but by a life of prayer and by constant trust in His Father. That’s what He wanted for His disciples as well.
That should be our deepest desire, both for ourselves and for those to whom we minister. Refocus your worship on nurturing a relationship with the Living God, a relationship of faith, for that relationship is life’s greatest treasure, now and forever.