Worship as Listening, Not Singing

May 3, 2006 — 2 Comments

Did you read Jack Reese’s article is last week’s issue of the Christian Standard, “Coming Back to the Heart of Worship”? Here’s a link if you didn’t: http://www.christianstandard.com/articledisplay.asp?id=304

I was blessed to be around Jack at Abilene Christian University. I never studied under him, but I knew him and respected–and still respect–him highly. He is renowned for both his keen intellect and for his ability to communicate complicated truths, clearly. Knowing this, and that ACU is affiliated with the Churches of Christ, I read Jack’s article on worship with interest.

In my opinion, Jack’s article contains one of the best–and most concise–descriptions of an early worship service that I’ve ever read. His article also presents an interesting opinion. Jack argues that worship follows revival and not vice versa.

Here’s an excerpt:
If we are to experience a renewal of worship in our churches, it will begin not by singing to each other about how excited we are to be together, or even by telling God how great he is, but first by shutting up long enough that we might listen to him. If revival comes among us, it will grow first out of our surrender so that thanksgiving has its cause in the mighty work of God . . . We may very well be experiencing in our churches the fruit of a great revival. I pray so. I hope it bursts forth in the greatest hymns that the church has known. But if it does, it will be because God’s people have first learned how to be silent before him, how to listen, how to confess, how to surrender.

I love to worship.
I love to sing my worship.
I know that God wants us to worship, but I also know that God wants to speak to us.
In fact, God wants to communicate with us so much that he speaks to us through his Word and through the Word.

Are we singing too much and listening too little? I wonder.

Maybe it’s time for me to shut-up.


2 responses to Worship as Listening, Not Singing


    I, too, appreciated this article, Arron. I was reminded of something I’ve been learning lately and that is, how important it is to worship God by listening to His Word/reading His Word, on a DAILY basis. We often think of worship in terms of the Sunday assembly. It is not less than that, but it is more than that. I asked my congregation last Sunday: “How many of us worshiped BEFORE we came to church today?” Because our routines are interrupted, the weekends seem to be our least faithful times of personal/private worship. As Oswald Chambers wrote (no relation to Arron I assume): “You no more need a day off from spiritual concentration on matters in your life than your heart needs a day off from beating.” This used to be an area of great inconsistency with me, but no longer, and it has allowed God to make quite a difference in my life.


    Though I am a gen-x guy, I believe there still remains no better treatment of this issue than Mike Root’s “Spilt Grape Juice”. How long will we flounder in error until we embrace the simple and biblical message of this book? Worship is a relationship, not a ritual. Everyone seems to agree with that statement, but many try to stuff worship into the box of public or private ritual. Perhaps we should stock a copy of Romans 12 in the bookstores next to the latest worship fad books.

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