The question often comes up: How can a service be both worship and seeker-friendly? At Saddleback, we believe you can have both without compromising either.
When we speak of worship, we’re talking about something only believers can do. Worship is from believers to God. We magnify God’s name in worship by expressing our love and commitment to him. Unbelievers simply cannot do this.
Here is the simple definition of worship that we operate with at Saddleback: “Worship is expressing our love to God for who he is, what he’s said and what he’s doing.”
We believe there are many appropriate ways to express our love to God: by praying, singing, obeying, trusting, giving, testifying, listening and responding to his Word, thanking, and many other expressions. God—not man—is the focus and center of our worship.
God is the consumer of worship
Although unbelievers cannot truly worship, they can watch believers worship. They can observe the joy that we feel. They can see how we value God’s Word and how we respond to it. They can hear how the Bible answers the problems and questions of life. They can notice how worship encourages, strengthens and changes us. They can sense when God is supernaturally moving in a service, although they won’t be able to explain it.
When unbelievers watch genuine worship, it becomes a powerful witness. In Acts 2—on the day of Pentecost—God’s presence was so evident in the disciples’ worship service that it attracted the attention of unbelievers throughout the entire city! Acts 2:6 says “a crowd came together.” We know it was a big crowd because 3,000 people were saved that day.
Why were those 3,000 people converted? Because they felt God’s presence and they understood the message. I believe both of these elements are essential for worship to be a witness.