Philosophy Of Worship

revelationseefaceUltimate Goal: The glory of God—to refocus the affections of our hearts toward Jesus and away from ourselves

“Do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31)

Vision: To help every man, woman, and child who comes to Hill Country Church worship God in spirit and truth

Purpose: To use Sunday mornings to help integrate the life-transforming power of Jesus into everyday life through authentic worship. We recognize that “worship” is not merely an event that happens once a week on Sundays, but is a lifestyle of Jesus-exalting, self-sacrificing, others-serving love and esteem toward God. Worship must be the theme of our life between Sundays.

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship” (Rom. 12:1)

Philosophy of Worship :: Guiding Principles for Corporate Worship*

1. God-centeredness

The highest priority of our lives is to glorify God through Jesus Christ. Therefore we desire that every aspect our time together on Sundays be characterized by God-centeredness, not self-centeredness. In everything we do we want God to be the central focus of all our affections, recognizing that as we exalt the name of Christ, and declare his worth publicly, we are strengthened by the Holy Spirit and transformed by the power of Jesus (1 Cor. 10:31).

2. Gospel-centeredness

We recognize with ever-increasing clarity the centrality of the good news about the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus in our lives. The cross must be the foundation that undergirds all that we say and do in worship. That Jesus came and died, was buried and rose again the third day must be the center of our total worship expression. We realize the need for the gospel to be present and working in both our lives as Christians, and in the lives of those who don’t know Jesus (Rom. 1:16).

3. Expectation of the life-changing presence of God

While we realize that worship is more than just what happens on Sundays, we realize that there is something special and powerful that occurs when we are gathered together as one to worship in the name of our great God and Savior. We believe that Jesus is our supreme worship leader, and that he is present among us as we worship, leading us to praise the glory of God (Heb. 2:12). We desire for God to meet with us when we are gathered, and for our lives to be radically transformed by the experience of his presence (Isaiah 6; 2 Chron. 5:13-14).

4. Scriptural content and practice

All that we do on Sunday mornings must be rooted and grounded in Scripture. We recognize that the Word of God is the highest form of revelation that we now have (which will one day be replaced only with the physical presence of Jesus himself), and that it is our highest authority. We desire for every part of our worship services (i.e. songs we sing, prayers we pray, message that we preach, etc…) to be saturated with scripture and biblical truth. Our aim is for people to leave every worship service having learned something about God and his word (Col. 3:16).

5. Intellect and emotion

Our worship must affect both our minds and our hearts. We seek to utilize gospel truth to lift our affections and our emotions toward God (Jn. 4:24).

6. Spiritual fervor

We seek not to be superficial or flippant or trite, but to be sincere and passionate as we come together for corporate worship, realizing that we are gathered around the very throne of the King of the universe. We desire to display a reverence and respect for God that is filled with wonder and awe, as well as an intimate, father-child relationship with him as we worship together. We seek to have our hearts passionately engaged in the attribution of worth to our Savior King Jesus, and desire to be loved by him in a real and experiential way as we approach him in worship (Rom. 12:11).

7. Authenticity and genuineness

We desire to create an atmosphere for worship that is genuine in character, and authentic in delivery. We renounce all methods that are deceitful or manipulative, and seek to be real in all we do. We recognize that our primary goal is not to be good at what we do, but to glorify God and encourage his people while striving for excellence in the use of our God-given talents and abilities. We seek not to have an atmosphere of artistic performance, but to create an atmosphere that is conducive to a real encounter with the real Jesus (Rom. 12:9).

8. Corporate priority

We recognize that our worship experience on Sundays is not merely about ourselves, but about others. We desire to encourage those around us with the grace of God. When singing songs of worship and praise, we are not just singing to God, but to each other. We desire full participation from every believer present in our corporate worship. The most important instrument in the worship band is the unified voice of the congregation as we sing the praises of the name of God together (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16).

9. Joyful celebration and joy-filled mourning

We recognize that worship is not all about joyful celebration, but sometimes includes sorrow, brokenness, and mourning. The expression of individual and corporate sorrow for sin is no less a part of worship than the celebration of those sins being forgiven. The various elements of our worship services will include both (Job 30:1; Joel 2:12; Ps. 32:11).

10. Timeless and contemporary expressions

We seek to mix the best elements of historic and contemporary worship liturgy. If a song is scriptural in content, and singable in nature, it does not matter if it is 500 years old or was written yesterday. We also seek to be creative, using our musical gifts and talents to write new songs, creating new expressions for the declaration of the glory of God. We recognize that just because a song is old doesn’t mean that it is bad, and just because a song is new doesn’t mean that it’s content is watered down (Matt. 13:52).

* Adapted from What Is the Philosophy of Worship that Unites Us? By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

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