How to Make Your Preaching Worship
- Wednesday, August 08, 2012
Editor’s note: The following is a report on the practical application of Michael J. Quicke's book, Preaching as Worship: An Integrative Approach to Formation in Your Church (Baker Books, 2011).
Worship is so much more than just the time your congregation sings during your church’s weekend services. Worship is nothing less than an encounter with God.
As someone who preaches God’s Word to people in your church, you play an important role in calling people to worship God during each moment of their lives. So it’s vital for you to have a big-picture view of worship – as God’s ultimate purpose for people – and to express that perspective through your preaching, so that your preaching becomes worship.
Here’s how you can make your preaching worship:
Avoid myopic preaching and worship. A myopic approach to preaching is a short-sighted view that reduces preaching to simply the task of creating weekly sermons. A myopic approach to worship is an extremely limited view of worship that reduces it simply to planning weekly worship services. If your perspective on preaching and worship has diminished to a simply functional view, ask God to help you see the full view of what He intends both preaching and worship to be.
See yourself as a worshipper first and foremost. Rather than viewing yourself primarily through the lens of your role as a preacher, keep in mind that your calling to worship God is even more important. Whenever you preach, do so as a person whom God has called to worship Him. Pay close attention to your prayer life: Are you truly connecting with God in prayer regularly? Make prayer a high priority. To be effective as a preacher, your preaching must flow out of your own close relationship to God, which is nurtured through prayer.
Develop a fuller definition of worship. Recognize that worship is bigger than music and preaching, that worship needs both liturgical and practical elements to express itself well in a church service, that worship embraces mission (since God has no higher purpose for human beings than to be worshippers), and that worship is something that people should do at all times and in all situations (not just in a church worship service). Decide to help the people in your church learn how to be the church rather than just go to church, by teaching them how to worship constantly, in every part of their lives.
Receive the gift of worship gratefully. Since it’s only through God’s love and power that you and the others in your church can offer yourselves as living sacrifices to God through worship and experience the profound blessings of encountering God through worship, be thankful. Keep in mind that gratitude is the foundation of worship as a church community.
Develop a fuller definition of preaching. Realize that preaching itself is a form of worship, since preachers call others to hear and respond in fresh ways to God’s Word by living the lives God wants them to live. Understand that worshipful preaching responds to what God has initiated by His Word with wonder, mystery, joy, service, and action – all for the sake of God’s glory. Aim to use your preaching to help your congregation learn how they belong in God’s unfolding story, and also how they can transform their lives and their community to fulfill God’s purposes. Regularly ask yourself if you’re expressing the full richness of worship toward God.
Allow Scripture to direct your worshipful preaching. Look to Scripture to direct you as you prepare your sermons and incorporate them into the overall worship that people in your church plan to enjoy together each week. Keep in mind that the Bible’s words are living and active, expressing what God is saying and doing right now as well as in the past. Scripture expresses God’s will for your church’s worship together, so let it direct your worship planning.
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