Ministry Matters: Live Out Loud
- 2004 25 Mar
Nothing bugs me more than someone who says they are a "passionate worshiper" out of one side of their mouth and then from the other side, speak all manner of evil against another person. Does this sound familiar? Do you know someone like this? Students and adults who consider themselves "deep worshipers" must also grasp the truth that "deep worship" should produce godliness in their speech and actions. Have you ever wondered why this is and why they haven't made the connection between "worship" on Sunday mornings and "living it out" every other day of the week?
This lifestyle worship is what our Lord is looking for. Not just a musical moment designed to impress someone, or a tender moment when the heart flutters and tears run, but rather a consistent life of worship, rooted in deep convictions of righteousness and holiness that affect every area of our lives.
Making The Connection
Unfortunately, as adults we have to shoulder much of the blame for modeling an unbiblical view of worship for the younger generation. Many of us have been guided into believing that the emphasis of worship is on the quality of the "performance" rather than the lifestyle it produces. Don't get me wrong here: I am the first to enjoy music and the response that it brings. When I was growing up, music meant everything to me. My world revolved around it to a certain degree. In many ways, students today are the same. Their world is built around a mixture of musical emotions and visual stimulation that keep them captivated.
Our job as leaders is to help students apply and integrate the truth of God's Word, ultimately developing a consistent lifestyle of worship that produces godly fruit. We do this by helping them understand that music is simply a tool and not the goal. When we de-emphasize music and emphasize a godly lifestyle we help bridge their understanding of what pleases the Lord. They realize that worship is not hinged on being a great singer or musician but rather their choice to walk with God and please Him on a daily basis. I often tell my worship teams that our goal in a worship service is excellence not perfection. We submit our gifts and talents to the Lord to build His kingdom not ours. He will take our "loaves and fish" and multiply it for His glory.
I believe the greater challenge is to help students develop a lifestyle that will help them finish well in life. As the scripture says, "even in your old age you will still bear fruit." This lifestyle comes from helping students develop a daily understanding of biblical worship.
Students everywhere are taking this challenge seriously and it is transforming the way they live while also impacting those around them. It's the high school cheerleader who walks with God and impacts her school, or the class officer who stands for God in the middle of a lonely crowd. They are everywhere, and God is raising this generation of students to a new awareness of His presence and power. This power comes from living the life and not just singing the song. This is the lifestyle that says "no" to sin and "yes" to righteousness and holiness. This lifestyle only comes from worshiping our Lord on a daily, moment-by-moment, basis. Not just a Sunday morning event, but every breath we take and every word we speak. This brings glory to our Lord 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in private as well as in public.
Students who are impacting their campuses have claimed I Timothy 4:12 as their own. It says, "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity."
How To Know You're Living A Life of Worship
Worship compels us to live differently, to make each day count for eternity. I believe if we enter into true worship with our Heavenly Father, we will experience His life-changing power and be changed forever.
Anything less is not true worship. This is not to say that we won't have struggles in life. We will. But we can worship and live out loud, even in the tough times, especially in the tough times because that is when our lives are examined the most. The new generation of student worshipers understand this and won't settle for anything less. Their eyes are not on the form or format of worship, but rather the intimacy they find with their Heavenly Dad. It's this intimacy and transparency factor that produces a deep walk with God. Selfishness is replaced with selflessness, pride is replaced with humbleness, and attitudes are replaced with a tender desire to serve others.
Lifestyle worship produces good fruit on the branches of your life. You will know a student (or anyone, really) has figured it out when their life shows these characteristics:
- they learn to respond to the Holy Spirit's promptings
- they make a stand for godliness and righteousness on a daily basis
- they begin to honor their parents
- their choices of movies and music will honor Christ
- sarcastic jokes and coarse talk aren't funny anymore
- they are more concerned with pleasing God than themselves
- they value truth of scripture over their own opinion
- their friends see a noticeable change in their behavior and attitudes
The list goes on and on. Once their lives have been transformed by the renewing power of Jesus Christ they begin a life-long journey of worship.
I Timothy 4:12, Romans 12:1, Ephesians 1:4, II Timothy 1:8-9, Psalm 24:3-6, and Ephesians 5:3-7 describe what the life of worship looks like better than I ever could, so if you need a place to start with your students, look no further.
Finally, let me end with a great definition of worship from Louie Giglio, founder of the Passion movement, captivating college students nationwide. Put it up on the wall as a constant reminder of what God is looking for in a true worshiper. Be encouraged in your pursuit of holiness and continue to be challenged to model a lifestyle that is pleasing to our Heavenly Father. This is the sound of worship that is pleasing to His ear.
"Worship is our response, both personal and corporate, to God, for who He is and what He has done, expressed in and by the things we say and the way we live."
Don't settle for anything less than pure intimate worship with the King of kings and Lord of lords... His is the only worship that will change you into the person He intends you to be.
Creator and producer of The Student Worship Collection, Paul Guffey has spent over twenty years serving in the local church and speaking at retreats and conferences. He is currently serving at Cokesbury Church in Knoxville, TN. You may contact him through email at Paul@paulguffey.com or through the websites www.worshipHim.com or www.paulguffey.com.
Copyright Paul Guffey. Used by permission. Photocopy permission is granted for church and ministry use only.