SGBC Modesto

Styles of Worship

April 5, 2024 by

William Heinrich

Worship can be very confusing. Most of us got our start in a church somewhere and the way it was done there became our first standard. Some never evaluated their start, but criticize all that is done differently. Others evaluate worship on how it makes them feel, so feelings become the standard.

Some prefer liturgy; others want to raise their hands in praise; others desire 10 minutes of silence in the sanctuary before the stated start time. It is argued that each of these and other preferences like them are how to worship – and something different is not comfortable for them.

Some want to have a chapter read from God’s Word at every service; others believe it is respectful to the Word for the congregation to stand. Some prefer a song leader; others a worship leader. Some want to use the hymnal with the notes in it; others choose the overhead with words on a screen. Some want prayerful silence during the passing of the bread and cup during Communion; others appreciate explanation and words to encourage the purpose. Some believe every service should include an invitation; others believe invitations are extra-biblical and wrong. Some believe the message should be aimed for unbelievers’ salvation; others believe it is to edify the believer.

Some believe all that matters is missions; others emphasize that the most important is the music. Some want a preacher who becomes excited; others want one who is calm. Some think Sunday School is the place of teaching; others have no interest in attending Sunday School. Some want topical messages; others expository. Some want short messages; others prefer long. Some come early out of respect or habit; others come late. Some are faithful servants; others do not serve at all. Some believe the pastor is to lead the church; others believe his job is to preach and call on the sick, but not to be an overseer.

Worship can be very confusing. I write this to help you grow in grace toward those who view worship differently than you do. Unless you can prove your way from the Bible, be gracious. Why not be gracious even if you can (or think you can) prove you are right?