At our recent Disciple-Making Conference, Micah Fries, pastor of Brainerd Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee shared a message on corporate worship based on Romans 12:1-5. Every worship leader should listen to this message and take it to heart. Micah makes some key points for senior pastors in this message.
Some key points made:
God has designed us to grow to become more like Jesus.
As Americans We are naturally at a disadvantage when it comes to growing as disciples.
For Americans, two things that are core to who we are:
- Independence/radical autonomy
These work their ways into our churches and our lives. It is death to disciple-making.Most people view church as a consumer experience. @micahfries Click To Tweet
The primary means by which God grows the believer is the local church.
A Living Sacrifice
12 Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship.[a] 2 Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.
Many Gifts but One Body
3 For by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one. 4 Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function, 5 in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another.
This text calls us to corporate worship. It is vital to us being shaped into the image of Jesus.
We need and God expects corporate worship.
Worship has a costly nature. Most of what we call worship is not sacrificial or costly for most of people involved.
Independence and consumerism has found its way into the way we do church today.
Most people coming to church view it as a consumer experience. They look for the nicest looking place that offers them the most comfortable fit and asks the smallest price.
In many cases, we have become the object of our worship.
Paul says worship must be costly – “a living sacrifice”—to allow yourself to be a victim.
Worship should demand from us, that we are constantly laying ourselves down, dying to ourselves.
Paul says that corporate worship is also reasonable/logical/true.
Worship should be a place we come and constantly die to self. This is why it is so unbelievably offensive when we come to church and there is a large group of people in the body demanding their preferences. The older we get both physically and in terms of our Christian maturity, the more we should be willing to sacrifice our preferences for the sake of those that are less mature in Jesus or don’t know Jesus at all.Worship should be a place where we come and constantly die to self. @micahfries Click To Tweet
The more we grow in Christ the less we should prefer and more we should defer–constantly dying to ourselves. This is so contrary to what we experience in worship.The more we grow in Christ the less we should prefer and more we should defer @micahfries Click To Tweet
Corporate worship is viewed singularly by God. “A” living sacrifice. You come from diverse backgrounds and places and come together to offer one singular act of worship before the Lord. God sees one gift of worship.
A purpose of worship is to shape us to be like Jesus. If there is not transformation, there is no salvation.
Corporate worship is not complete if shaping is not occurring. If the shaping does not compel us to obedience, corporate worship is incomplete. Obedience is an outcome of our corporate worship.Corporate worship is not complete if transformation is not occurring in lives @micahfries Click To Tweet
“As worship begins in holy expectancy, it ends in holy obedience. Holy obedience saves worship from becoming an opiate, an escape from the pressing needs modern life.” Richard Foster
Our gathering together should drive us towards humility.
Don’t think better of yourself than you should. Worship ought to drive you to a right assessment as yourself.
Our corporate gathering should bring unity out of diversity
Our gathering together for corporate worship should ultimately motivate us to serve.