KBC’s Worship Principles
The church is not called to preserve traditions like a mausoleum or to entertain people like a coliseum. The church is the place to go to meet God. – Paul Powell
Worship is the most important work of the church. The people of God exist to serve God. No higher service to God is possible than the worship of God. The word “worship” derives from the Anglo-Saxon weorthscipe, denoting an ascription of worth, recognition of the merit of another. Essentially, worship is a verb. To worship is to express appreciation, to adore, to love, and to praise.
Worship is God-focused In authentic worship, the first focus is on God— on who God is, on what God is, on how God loves us, and on how God calls us. The second focus is on us. Søren Kierkegaard (in the 19th century) found that a theatrical model dominated the worship practices of many churches. A minister was viewed as the on-stage actor, God as the offstage prompter, and the congregation as the audience. Unfortunately, that understanding of worship is prevalent today. Real worship sees God as the audience, ministers as prompters, and the congregation as the participants.
KBC’s Worship Incorporates the Practices of Many Christian Traditions The “Great Church”— the Body of Christ composed of all people who have confessed Jesus as Lord and Savior— has been gathering for two millennia to worship in many churches of many denominations in many cultures. We take from these many traditions the worship practices that make for authentic worship and that will help our own congregation worship in spirit and in truth. We have discovered and come to appreciate the richness and benefit of following the unfolding drama of the Christian year, of marking time according to the sacred rather than the secular calendar. Thus, at KBC we move through the seasons of Advent, Christmas, Epiphany and After, Lent, Easter, and After Pentecost (also know as “Ordinary Time”). These seasons are described in the section entitled The Unfolding Drama of the Christian Year of the KBC Worship Booklet.
We have taken a broad, holistic approach to our worship because all Christians have something to contribute to the art of worship; no one denomination or church has discovered it all. Our worship is enhanced by our being open to the worship experiences and insights of other Christians.
Worship Involves the Whole Person A person once asked Jesus, “Teacher, which commandment in the Old Testament law is the greatest?” Jesus answered, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest commandment” (Matthew 22.36-38). Worship, which is an expression of our love for God, involves the whole person, every dimension of the person.
Worship involves our body. We stand up to praise and honor God and sit down to listen and reflect; we turn to those next to us to welcome them or extend the Peace of Christ; we walk with our brothers and sisters to the communion table to receive the bread and cup; we employ the senses of sight, sound and touch, the sense of taste during Holy Communion, and the sense of smell as we “hang the green” during Advent and worship on Christmas Eve.
Worship involves our mind. We give our keen attention to what we and others are saying and singing. We discern the meaning and application of God’s Word for our lives. We ponder the wonder of God’s love for us and the life we are called, in response, to pursue.
Worship involves our spirit. We sense the mystery in worship we can’t express with words. We experience the entire range of emotions from intense joy to profound sorrow. Our spirits soar at the thought of God’s amazing grace in that while we still were sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5.8).
Our worship, then, is a balance of reason and experience, of reflection and emotion, with every dimension of each person participating equally and fully in the worship of God.
O come let us worship and bow down, Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker! – Psalm 96.6