The Heart of Worship

The Heart of Worship

“…[He] emptied Himself of all but love and bled for Adam’s helpless race.” – And Can it Be? Charles Wesley, 1738

“I’m coming back to the heart of worship, and it’s all about you; All about you, Jesus.” - The Heart of Worship, Matt Redman, 1998

The essence of Christian worship is captured in these two excerpts written 260 years apart—one now considered a classic hymn of the Church and the other an often—played contemporary chorus, respectively. They both capture the interplay between who God is and our response to God’s work. 

In worship, we focus on the love and glory of God (who God is and what God has done), and then respond both with awe (“And can it be that I should gain an interest in my Savior's blood?”) and action (“I’m coming back to the heart of worship, and it’s all about you, Jesus”). 

Worship, like prayer, is a dialogue. 

God acts, we respond. The word for worship, “liturgy,” literally means the “work of the people.” Our key work as Christians is worship, and everything in our lives flows from it. In other words, worship sets the tone for our priorities.

Worship Gallery

What follows are reflections on the priority of Christian worship in our lives, written by experts in their fields. We pray that these reflections will give readers a renewed sense of the importance of worship in our everyday lives. We thank the following men and women for their contributions:

Steven Marjerison is the Worship and Fine Arts Pastor at Science Hill Church of the Nazarene and offers advice for younger worship pastors as they begin their ministry.

Margaret Tyler is the District Children’s Pastor for the Kansas City District Church of the Nazarene and emphasizes the need for finding a place for children in worship.

Rick Lee James is a writer, podcast host, and recording artist, currently serving as Minister of Music at First Church of the Nazarene in Springfield, Ohio. Rick shares insights about the calling and approach of an experienced worship pastor.

Philip Friday is an African-born pastor who currently serves as senior pastor of Risen Lamb International Church of the Nazarene in Kansas City, Kansas, and explains cultural adjustments that happen in diverse worship.

Brent Peterson is the dean of the Department of Religion and Christian Ministry at Northwest Nazarene University, and author of Created to Worship: God’s Invitation to Become Fully Human. He reminds readers of key things to remember when preparing to “set The Table” in Holy Communion.

Randy Maddox is the William Kellon Quick professor of Wesleyan and Methodist studies at Duke University School and a leading scholar in the life and work of John Wesley. He explains how John Wesley’s approach to worship can influence our own approach. 

Brannon Hancock is Associate Professor of Practical Theology and Worship at Wesley Seminary (Indiana Wesleyan University) and Worship Pastor at First Church of the Nazarene in Marion, Indiana. He explains the importance of Advent and of worshiping with the Christian calendar. 

Readers will also note the creation of a new column called “Ten Questions,” wherein key leaders in the Church of the Nazarene will be asked five serious and five more light-hearted questions about their respective roles. In this inaugural Ten Questions column, we are blessed to hear from Dr. Filimao Chambo, recently elected General Superintendent of the Church of the Nazarene. 

May God bless us and guide us as we keep the person and work of Christ at the heart of our worship during the Season of Advent and beyond. 

Charles W. Christian is Managing Editor of Holiness Today.

Holiness Today, Nov/Dec 2017