A common misunderstanding when it comes to worship ministry is that worship is music. It is not difficult to understand how this belief came about. In a church service, the time of singing together is almost always referred to as “worship” time. Worship pastors are musicians. There is an entire market of worship music. Whether we come right out and say it or not, the way we structure church and especially worship ministry, this is what we believe about worship ministry.
But is this true? Is music the only way to worship God? It is a very good way to worship God, but it is not the only way. In today’s Top Five Friday post, I want to explore five ways we can worship God without music.
1. Communion - This is something the Catholics and some of the higher church Protestants have Evangelicals beat. Communion is the most consistent, unique, and historic form of worship the church has. When we take communion, we reflect on the body broken and the blood shed for our salvation. Out of fear of communion becoming ritual, many Evangelical churches have withdrawn from doing this frequently or at all. But what better way to worship Christ directly than spend five minutes every Sunday reflecting on his sacrifice?
2. Lectio Divina – A lectio divina (divine reading) is the practice of picking either a section of Scripture or some other spiritual writing and reading it multiple times with periods of quiet reflection in between. This is something common in a lot of monastic community, but possibly out of fear of the awkward quiet of reflection we don’t see it happen much in our Evangelical churches. The repetition of the same thing over and over again makes the listener engage the reading with depth often times missed in a single reading.
3. Storytelling – One of the common ways the Israelites would worship the Lord during their festivals (especially Passover) is telling the story of the Exodus (cf. Psalm 106). When we tell stories of God’s redemption in our lives, whether it be a salvation story, a story of healing, a triumph over sin, a healed relationship, or cultural renewal, we get a chance to see what God has done and give him credit for it. hearing the stories of how God is working in the lives of people we see everyday makes the things we sing and preach about real.
4. Social Justice - God is worshiped when we care for others, especially the poor, oppressed, widows, orphans, and strangers. As worship leaders, we miss an incredible opportunity to lead our congregation in worship when we neglect including intentional social justice into our liturgy. This is why the church I pastor at takes one Sunday out of the month and dedicates it to serving the community instead of music and sermon.
5. Art – This is obviously a broad term. What I mean is either creating art or reflecting on art. If you have some artists in your congregation, ask them to create a piece of artwork to be presented on a Sunday morning and then have your congregation reflect on it. Art draws on the aesthetic beauty of the God we worship and the depth of his nature and is incredibly underutilized in the church. If we remember our history, the church used to be the largest patron of the arts. Now we consider Christian art a picture of a mountain with a bible verse in front of it. Real art is a great way to reflect on God’s beauty.
What are some ways that you worship God without music?