Make the Worship Change Me

I have recently been discussing the worship at our local church with a member of the PCC and the new vicar.  I was asked what I wanted to happen in worship.  My response was that I didn’t really mind what style of worship it was but I wanted to be changed by the experience.  I want to arrive at church as one person, be taken on a journey and leave fired up to do something important about it during the coming week.  One of the things I said was that, for example, a sermon should inspire me to action.  It should lift me up and kick me up the bum.  I don’t even need to agree with it for it to affect me, but I need to be spoken to.

As I sat down to my dissertation this evening having not looked at it for a while the first thing I should come across is a quite from David Stancliffe, the Bishop of Salisbury in his book God’s Pattern:

It is the preachers task to make this encounter with Jesus a living one, where the incarnate word is enabled to take root, and the radical change in us that the gospel demands can be helped on the way.


10 Responses

  1. Hi , I read your post on worship, thought this post of my own may be of some interest. The Lord said that He “Inhabits the praises of His people.” So, I totaly agree worship should usher in His presence in a corporate sense and that if it does, genuinely, then we could not help but be changed………….Frank

  2. Thanks appolus, you are right. Someone successfully pointing out the amazingness of God can’t help but change us!!

  3. As we lift His name up, as we glorify Him, as we consider his majesty, then we are beginning to assume the correct “position.”…….brother Frank

  4. 🙂

    Very true!

  5. But surely the point of God is to worship and glorify him, not for our own self fulfillment? So it’s surely that we should strive for in worship rather than being changed by our worship.

  6. Hi Lewis. Thanks for stopping in to make me think.

    Yes the point of worship is to give God worth and glorify him. It is an engagement between us and Him. If we are actually engaging with Him then we can ” not help but be changed” (as Appolus said). Wrship is the means by which our attention is focussed upon God. A bit like lifting a magnifying glass to the sun and watching the paper burst into flame. Unfortunately in many cases the magnifying glass is so out of focus that we are unable to be changed by our engagement – as it is hampered by that which is supposed to enable.

    I can worship God anywhere. Why do it as part of a worshipping congregation? Because I am supposed to be on a communal journey as part of the body of Christ with a purpose and direction. I am supposed to be a better person than I was yesterday but not as good as I will be tommorow. I am supposed to be becoming more Christ like. I am supposed to be changing…

    Does any of this make sense?

  7. Hi Lewis…As we glorify the Lord and come into His presence, then we are changed in that very presence. Being changed is a by-product of being in His presence. Gloryfing the Lord is a primary purpose in our lives, yet, so is becoming Christlike. It is all intricately interconnected. None of it happens in a vaccum. And just as an aside, becoming Christlike is not self-fulfilling, it is self dying. In the natural, one would never seek to be Christlike. One only has to read Matt 5 and the sermon on the mount to know that being able to fulfill this is supernatural. If we become more Chritlike then we turn the other cheek when we are slapped, not very self fulfilling. If we become more Christlike and we are hated by our enemies then we return love, again not fulfilling to the flesh. It is in His presence that we learn to yield and to surrender to His will which ultimately defeats the flesh. I think part of the problem may be that there is superfical worship that is nothing more than hype or emotion. People get pumped up and enjoy it, much like a rock concert and so on. And, while there is much emotion in true and genuine worship, there is no hype. Entering into Christs presence, one has to first past the brazen alter, this is where we sacrifice. This ensures that all “self-fulfilling” worshippers can never enter in. For a full explanation, a guide into that place if you like, place go to

  8. […] I can’t have been missing this the whole time can I?  I have spent years talking about how the liturgy of the church is supposed to be a journey.  We should come in to worship and be changed by our encounter with God.  We should be inspired […]

  9. This is really good food for thought… I’m so sorry it took me so long to wander by and read! 🙂

    I think I might disagree a bit with your bishop – probably not with the heart behind what he says, but the actual quote… i don’t think we can do a blessed thing to make any encounter with God a living one for anyone… I think God does that on His own. Which seems… obvious? but it can be so easy to judge our “success” as preachers/teachers on how well *we* have done, and i think, while excellence is something to strive for, we also need to be careful and guard our hearts with the reality that it is “the Word preached, rather than the *preaching* of the Word, [that] accomplishes heaven’s purposes.” (Bryan Chapell, Christ-Centered Preaching, p.27)

    Worship is ultimately declaring the “worthship” of God – it *is* about Him, and not about us. But it’s also true that change does happen inevitably as we worship… how like Him, to bless us in return as we seek to bless His heart… there is a danger tho in making too much of that, of taking how we “feel” about our “encounter” with God on a Sunday morning as *the* gage for our walk… sometimes worship – and sometimes even being changed – is a choice, and not something you particularly feel – or maybe even notice at first…

    just a few -oh, wow, late night thoughts. for whatever little they’re worth…

  10. They are worth a great deal 😉

    But I have some questions… Is the preacher not the tool of God then? Is it not God working through the preacher that makes the encounter with God a living one? Is it not God working through the instructors of the preachers to enable them to become better preachers?

    If we start to define God as working inspite of our presence (your presence is not required), we may as well not be there. God tends to work like that.

    “But I can’t do it”

    Jesus sent us out to do Gods work. It is God that is working but He choses to do that through us. Surely He uses the gifts that we have to give Him worth.

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