We, the conservative and Evangelical church, for the most part has forgotten what it is all about. The liberals and mainliners did these decades ago, now we are doing it? How?
Just as they did, by substituting what we want and throwing out what God wants!
We just rationalize it better (well, not really). The prime problem we have is that most of us in ministry should know what worship is; but, in practice, we do not. We ignore the main event and place our emphases on the trivial and unimportant. We focus on our style and music preferences, the techniques and practices of the sound and the instruments, the trimmings and trimming and so forth, having the ‘right’ guy to lead worship, thinking we are being practical when we are not. Like in Revelation chapter three, while Jesus is knocking on the door, we ignore Him, too busy; too preoccupied. He is left outside of the Church when He should be front and center as Supreme, exalted, worshiped, and reverenced! While the technicalities are important to a degree, they are not meant to be center stage or even given a place in worship (Rev. 3:14-22).
Most pastors and churches totally ignore Christ in their worship!
The foremost aspect to keep in mind about worship is that it is not about us! It is not about preferences of style, order, procedures, music, who is leading, who is not leading, and so forth.
Worship, which is real authentic and practical praise, is all about placing Christ first, acknowledging His Lordship and place, and our response of praise with reverence and gratitude to Him for who He is and what He has done. The sad fact it most Christians in the pews do not have a clue about worship or praise-and may I go on so far as to say-even most worship pastors. Why? Because, we do not model and/or teach God’s precepts and disciple our leaders properly! So, they are consumed with what they want and forget what He wants. We forget that it is about Christ-not about us!
In John, chapter four, we are given some key aspects of what God desires and requires concerning worship through His encounter with an outcast woman. He is seeking worshippers, real Christians giving real, effectual, true adoration from hearts that truly love God, who are grateful for His work, and are dedicated to His true Truth-not to the ideas of people, our schemes, trends, or feelings. This is also is a snip at the overly traditional church missing the point, both in the pretentious Jewish services then and the ones many of us lead today. The contrast, Jesus was making is that there are too many worship services that are merely rhetorical, driven by obligation, meaningless ritual, and liturgy that just spins one’s pride and/or hides one’s heart (John 1:18;; 3:3; 4;1-26; 14:16-18; Acts 2:33).
Worship is a covenant and call from our Lord to come before Him and meet with Him with our reverence, gladness, and joy.
It concerns how we draw near and give God the recognition and admiration that He deserves.
Real Worship is our inward expression of attitude to His Holiness and authentic praise is our outward expression like singing and clapping in gratefulness for who Christ is and what He has done. Both are offered as a church service for worship and a lifestyle of being a Christian (Psalm 22:27; 29:2).
Real Praise is our motivation from an impassioned, changed heart, with an emotional and mindful exaltation of our gratitude for what God has done. It is a call to know Him intimately and express appreciation to Him with honor and thanksgiving, doing so with passion, sincerity, conviction, and in reverent fear and trembling.
Worship is our aptitude and attitude of our expressions to God and praise is the practice of expressing our desire to know our Lord and Savior further, and being grateful for who He Is and what He has done for us.
Worship and praise are the giving of our best to Him. And, we do this because we are His; we give Him our heart that is already His. He has given His best to us already; in addition, we are enveloped in His eternal love and care for pure and useful purposes. This has nothing to do with musical prefaces or orders of worship. It is the matter of a changed heart that responds back to Christ, who is the audience of our worship, as we are the performers. What we are doing in our church services is placing this attitude into a presentation where God is the audience and we are the ones who offer praise.