Deep worship is critical, but without clarity it will prove fruitless. Our gatherings must not only be Christ-centered, but also comprehensible. Words must be defined. The manner of speech, style of music, where you gather–all of these things must be taken into consideration as we worship.
Let me be clear on this point. The question is not, “Will the culture like this or not?” The question is first: Is this biblical? Only then can we begin to answer other important questions like, Will the people understand what we are saying and doing? Will this help us lead them to the gospel?
Worship should be felt. Our affections should be stirred when we gather to sing with one voice the praises of our one Lord. If our singing, praying, reading, and preaching isn’t earnest why are we surprised that the rest of the congregation is listless?
More than eloquent speakers with clever sermons, we need men filled with the Spirit, fueled by faith, who passionately proclaim the good news we all need so desperately. More than accomplished musicians up front we need congregations so full of the joy of salvation that their they must sing, and sing loud.
People often get wrapped up in the “target audience” of the worship gatherings. Is it aimed at the uncovered walking into our midst, or should we target believers for their edification? I think both emphases miss the mark.
Our target in worship is God himself. We want to first, please him (do it his way for his glory), and then reveal him (make him known to the people gathered) as we give people the opportunity to draw near to him in faith and repentance (see him as Lord over all). The purpose of our worship is the glory of God. Knowing why we gather, and for whom we gather, results not only in the glory of God but also necessarily leads to evangelism and edification in our gathering.
The small church can do all of this, and sometimes smaller churches have an easier time getting here because they do not have the trappings that can encourage trust in other things to move the hearts of those gathered.
Small churches are not hindered by their size in worshipping in spirit and truth (Jn. 4:24). Christ is with his people. His is Spirit convicts and converts, and continues to fills his people. Corporate worship in the small church can be a very big thing, and it should be! But this doesn’t just happen. It must be worked toward together as a congregation.