By Mike Harland
When you consider characteristics of the worship culture in churches, you might think about things like music, sound systems, or an individual’s performance. But what is really foundational in a healthy worship ministry comes down to four spiritual characteristics: tell the story, make true disciples, engage the body, and aspire with purpose.
Tell the Story
I come from a long line of storytellers. When my family gathers, someone starts telling stories about a past vacation or ballgame; a story that details a shared experience of our family. A healthy worship culture has a storytelling aspect. The story starts with the gospel: a clear view of Jesus and how He came to earth to be our redeemer, conquer sin and the grave, and return as He promised. Music is a discipleship resource that teaches biblical content and theology and creates an atmosphere of engagement in your church. Churches with a healthy worship culture sing songs that tell this story.
Make True Disciples
What is our mission? Matthew 28:19-20 commands that we go and make disciples. Church musicians are not exempt from this mission. Those who serve and lead in a healthy worship culture are actively engaged in the discipleship of their families, worship ministry teams, and the entire congregation, all while growing as a Christ follower themselves. Ultimately this leads to a worship experience in which people pour out as participants, not attend as observers to be spiritually filled up.
Engage the Body
When was the last time you went acapella in a worship service? How did your congregation respond? Healthy worship ministries create an atmosphere where people are engaged and participating in worship. As a congregation sings truths about Jesus, these lyrics become building blocks where discipleship from the worship discipline happen in the hearts of believers. One practical way to do this is to select songs that people know well or could learn quickly. Engage the body so that your people participate in worship and are not passive spectators.
Aspire with Purpose
Most musicians have aspirational goals to perform at a high level and execute a musical plan that is meaningful and aesthetically pleasing. But the goal of a healthy worship culture is not an artistic standard. Our purpose is to eliminate distractions that can creep into worship like feedback in the sound system, misspelled lyrics, an out of tune instrument, and much more. Aspire for excellence in worship with purpose of gospel story going forth through your worship ministry, not for simply musical excellence.
Worship has a profound impact on the overall health of a church. Consider these four spiritual characteristics and ways you can work toward creating a healthy worship culture in your church.