What Does Worship Style Say About Your Church’s Mission?

What does your church’s worship style say about your church’s mission?  Everything!

What happens on Sunday in corporate worship speaks volumes to what your church believes about the Gospel, how it views lostness in your community, and to what degree the church is discipling believers to become missional.

We often think our corporate worship patterns are for us, the insiders.  The patterns are to please those who come every week, who have been part of the fellowship for years.  We see these patterns as unique and preferential to the individuals in the congregation.  We all would agree theologically that the worship of God is only for those who have placed their faith and trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and therefore have been given the Holy Spirit which prompts us to return glory back to God.  Authentic worship is for believers only who worship in spirit and in truth.  I get it.  I believe it fully.

But the overt worship patterns of your church says something larger about who your church is and who they want to become.

If your worship patterns are quiet, observatory and not outwardly participative, meaning people watch and listen more than anything else, then you can expect your mission to the community to also be quiet, minimalistic, and observatory.

However, if your worship patterns are highly participative, joyful, celebrative and dynamic, this translates to your missional view of the community.  The worship patterns inside the walls translate to ministry patterns outside the walls.

So here is the catch.  If you lead, attend, or visit a church where no one sings, no one says “Amen,” only the church staff participates in leading the service and no body else, and the congregation looks and acts miserable from start to finish, then you can be assured that they are not going to reach people for Christ, help others in need, or be a blessing to those around in the neighborhood.  I guarantee it.

(I want to give credit to my wife, Jennifer Garrison, for helping me understand this connection.)

3 thoughts on “What Does Worship Style Say About Your Church’s Mission?

  1. Dr. Garrison,
    Very insightful observation. I am curious if this could be tested in some way. I have had the experience that suggests that congregations get amnesia when they take off their stained glasses. How much of the directive leaves the room with them? Also, interesting to test somehow. Movies are “quiet, observatory and not outwardly participating” yet can leave us with such flavors to savor after the observance (more than the buttery goodness left under our fingernails). You got me thinking about how my leadership in worship communicates the mission of the Church. Thanks and have a great day, Shane.

    • Jameson, Well said. I personally loved the movie illustration and the savory flavors. My comment would be worship vs. entertainment. Watching a movie leaves us with thought and ideas, but would that translate to community service or changing our personal relationships with others. I believe worship is more transformational and redemptive than entertaining films. Thanks for commenting on the post.


  2. With all do respect to judge the overall health of a church by 1 hr and 15 min service is a bit simplistic. I would venture to say that the church I attend would not meet the requirements of a healthy church described above. However, we have seen our church grow from 500-750 on Sunday in the past 2+ years. The problem with putting all the effort into a show on Sunday is that a body runs the risk of being a mile wide and an inch deep. A church should put as much focus on disipleship and maturing the saints than on coporate worship times. Our service would never be described as seeker sensitive, but we are seeing lives changed and needs met because our leaders have made a purposeful effort to lead by example and being “doers of the word and not hearers only.” Besides true worship is not about the people in the seats but the king on the throne.

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