Recently, I’ve noticed an increase in the number of ‘worship night’ style events. Do you know the kind of thing I mean? A Friday or Saturday night gathering, where a worship team or touring band leads an evening of sung worship and prayer. I love these times of extended praise and prayer, as they’ve been transformational for me – that space to reflect at length on God’s goodness and purpose for my life is so precious.
At Easter, many churches create space to crescendo their sung worship around the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus
Similarly at Easter, many churches create space to crescendo their sung worship around the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. There’s something very special about mirroring that journey through our worship, by singing of the passion of Christ during Holy Week, and singing of his resurrection on Easter Sunday. We sing to celebrate how, through Jesus’ actions, we have become “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness and into his marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
Isn’t there more to our calling to 'declare the praises' of Jesus?
But the question on my heart, and perhaps on the hearts of many others in the Church, is; isn’t there more to our calling to “declare the praises” of Jesus? Is our calling to “declare the praises” of Jesus about more than what we sing on a Sunday?
Worshipping God in song, declaring His praises together, is an entirely natural response to the unfathomable love of Jesus that we reflect on at Easter. But worship goes so much further than just singing. Sung worship is only a small picture of what ‘worship’ really means for our lives; worshipping God is a whole-life calling. A whole-life pursuit.
Our worship is a declaration to the world that we know a loving, gracious, powerful, beautiful God, who is accessible to us through the sacrifice of Jesus.
Evangelism is an act of worship, just as much as singing God’s praise is worship.
Evangelism, the practice of sharing the good news of Jesus, is a vital part of our whole-life worship, because it also encompasses the practice of “declaring the praises” of Jesus. Psalm 105:1 exhorts us to “give praise to the Lord, proclaim His name; make known among the nations what He has done”. It’s the commission Jesus gave the Church. Evangelism is an act of worship, just as much as singing God’s praise is worship. Why? Because it glorifies God, by declaring the truth of His goodness.
As a worship leader, I’m aware that often we can subtly slip into believing that ‘worship’ is only our singing, as if everything else we’re called to do as the church is not worship. But I want to cultivate a community that worships God, not just in song, but with our whole lives – including the practice of sharing the good news of Jesus with those who don’t know him yet.
Our worship should become a welcome to the world, so that they too can meet the God whose praises we're declaring.
As Matt Redman famously wrote, “I’ll bring you more than a song, for a song in itself is not what you have required”. Let’s remind ourselves that, although worship nights and singing about Jesus at Easter are wonderful, we need to let those times of sung worship flow into “declaring the praises” of Jesus to our friends and families. Ultimately, our worship should become a welcome to the world, so that they too can meet the God whose praises we’re declaring.
Why don’t you try worshipping God by declaring His praises to someone today? Try sharing with someone what Jesus has done in your life. Maybe practice with your friend or your spouse. Alongside singing praise to God in church, let’s also boldly declare His praises to the world in word and deed.