Worship Reflects God’s Work In People’s Liveby John Hall
CORPUS CHRISTI – It’s time to change the way churches talk about worship, according to Tom Webster, minister of music and worship at First Baptist Church in Longview and dean of the school of fine arts at East Texas Baptist University.
Many churches want to discuss what style of music they will use, but that conversation misses the heart of worship, Webster said. Structure and taste are not the most important facets of worship.
"People seem much more concerned about what we do in worship rather than why we do it,” he said.
Worship is reflective of God is working in the lives of a church, Webster said. It happens as a result of the overflowing of God’s dealings with a person.
The process of having an authentic worship service requires congregations to include their members, the music minister continued. It’s critical that each person realizes they are involved in worshiping God during a service.
"Everyone in the room is a worship leader,” Webster said during a Baptist General Convention of Texas Annual Meeting workshop.
"When people understand that role, it changes what they do in that room.”
To include people throughout the church, Webster has tried several approaches. He’s had choir members begin the service in the pews and move forward with their families as they sang. When they did, other members came forward as well.
"The singing was remarkable and the Spirit was strong that day,” he said.
For a Memorial Day service, First Baptist Church in Longview asked members to write names of friends and family who died in military service as well as friends and family who are deployed or have relatives deployed. The act empowered people to pray to God about those they knew.
When two talented musicians were about to graduate high school, Webster turned a portion of a worship service over to them to lead.
Webster encourages people to read Scripture during the service. He involves them in the worship planning process and gives them the freedom to share verses they feel called to read.
"If your worship service reflects what the Lord is doing in their lives, your worship will be meaningful.”
(Used by permission John Hall Texas Baptist Communications)