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Joel Dorman

Personal Theology and Philosophy of Worship Ministry


The very first question anyone might ask when reading a “Personal Theology and Philosophy of Worship
Ministry” is “why did you write this”? The answer is simple: this paper gives a way for me to tell you, the reader,
some information about my perspective on worship ministry. As much as I have tried to answer potential questions
for a worship pastor, I began to realize how much has gone unanswered in this paper. As such, this paper is not
exhaustive, but merely an introduction to who I am as a worship leader. There are many issues (art, physical
expressions of worship, etc) that are absent from this paper, but the foundations are present. Bottom line: this
paper is an attempt to show how much I value theology in the life of the worshipping church. Two quotes of James
Emperuer truly summarize my view of theology and worship:
• If worship is the heart’s love for God, theology is the mind’s love for God; both are responses to God.
• Good theology and good worship go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other.1

What is Worship?
In an attempt to define the virtually indefinable, many definitions for “worship” have been offered. For the
most part, the definitions I most harmonize with are those that attempt to describe the experience of worship.
Worship is, after all, something we do. Argile Smith said, “Worship is meeting God”. This comes from Exodus
33:7-11 when Moses established a “tent of meeting” for the Hebrews. Martin Luther said worship is “communion
with God”. 2 The word of God commands worship in Psalm 47:1. John 4:23 tells us God is seeking worshippers.
The Greek word translated “seeks” is Zeteo (zeteo). “Zeteo” means to desire, to seek, to endeavor after, strive
for.3 Quite simply: God is seeking worshippers. This subject, then, is of great concern to our Creator!
The English word “worship” comes from the Old English word “worthship” and means to “ascribe worth”
or “give worth” to something.4 For most people, this word has lost a lot of its original intent. It is tragic that we
loose the definition of a word whose meaning is paramount to our relationship with God. A.W. Tozer wrote,
“worship acceptable to God is the missing crown jewel in evangelical Christianity.”5 John Piper said, “Missions is
not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn't.”6 One can start to see the
challenge in our theology of worship as Christians. Worship is not a means to something else—unless that
“something else” is God the Father, Jesus, His Son, and the Holy Spirit. Worship is not a direct means of
evangelism. It is not a direct means of discipleship. It is not a direct means of fellowship with each other. Yet, at
the same time, when true worship happens in the life of a church, there will be evangelism, discipleship, and
fellowship with each other. The point is this: we should never manipulate worship of our Creator just to elicit some
kind of human response. More information can be found on this subject later in my discussion. Now a brief study
will be undertaken as to the very meaning of the Biblical words used for “worship”.
When we read the word “worship” in the Scriptures, we generally are reading the translations of two words:
Shachah (hxX) in the Old Testament and Proskuneo (proskuneo) in the New Testament. Interestingly, Proskuneo is
used in the Septuagint as an acceptable translation for histahwavah7(the reflexive form of shahah). These words’ rich
meanings are the key to understanding worship from God’s point of view.

1 Robert E. Webber, ed., The Complete Library of Christian Worship, volume 2, Twenty Centuries of Christian Worship by James Emperuer
(Nashville: Hendrickson Publishers, 1994), 262.
2 Class notes from PATH 5300: Worship Leadership, Fall Semester 2001. New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Drs. Agile Smith

and Michael Sharp, Instructors.


3 The NEW Strong’s Complete Dictionary of Bible Words, 1996 ed., s.v. “zeteo”.
4 Robert E. Webber, ed., The Complete Library of Christian Worship, volume 1, Biblical Foundations of Christian Worship by Richard C. Leonard

(Nashville: Hendrickson Publishers, 1993), 17.


5 A. W. Tozer, Whatever Happened to Worship? A Call to True Worship, ed. G.B. Smith (Camp Hill, Pa: Christian Publications, 1985), 7.
6 John Piper, quote from www.christianquotes.org. Accessed on March 8, 2006.
7 Webber, ed., The Complete Library of Christian Worship, volume 1, Biblical Foundations of Christian Worship, 15.

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Shachah
This Hebrew word means to “prostrate oneself” or to bow down in homage to a greater authority, royalty,
or God Himself. It can also mean to “fall down (flat), humbly beseech, do (make) obeisance, do reverence” or
“make to stoop”.8 As a result, Psalm 95:6 which exhorts the reader: “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us
kneel before the LORD our Maker;” (NIV), should be understood in reference to the meaning of “worship”. The
verse could read “Come, let us bow down and fall down (flat), let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.” (Italics show
the change to the text.) This verse also demonstrates an even deeper meaning of worship. The use of “the LORD”
in English translations shows the attempt of the translators to translate the name God gave Himself, YHWY (hwhy).
As such, this is a call to fall prostrate before our Holy, Covenant God. This is not an unknown “god”, but the One
Who has chosen to reveal Himself to His people.

Proskuneo
The concept of worship in the New Testament builds on the vocabulary and word pictures drawn in the
Old Testament. In the New Testament the word used for “worship” means to “prostrate oneself in homage.”9 It
literally means to “fall to the knee before”.10 Proskuneo also conveys the idea of “throwing a kiss”—in the same way
one might blow a kiss to royalty. This term of respect could also carry the idea of a dog licking the hand of their
master. It is without pride that we come before the Holy Father. We first see the use of proskuneo in Matthew 2:2
when the Magi came to worship the “king of the Jews.” Satan wanted Jesus to worship (proskuneo) him in exchange
for the kingdoms of this world (Matthew 4:9). Other references to the use of the word proskuneo in the New
Testament are (please note: this list is representative, not exhaustive) Matthew 15:9, John 4:21-24, Romans 12:1, 1
Corinthians 14:25, and Revelation 4:10.

One of the most overlooked truths about worship from a Biblical perspective is that worship is a dialogue,
not a monologue.11 God is not just talking to us and we are relegated to the role of passive listeners. Nor are we
doing all the work of singing, preaching, praying, confessing, while God sits idly in Heaven. It is a two-way street of
revelation (God’s role) and response (the worshipper’s role). Furthermore, the Almighty never gathers His children
together just to have an informal discussion or “coffee talk”. He is up to something and He has something to say!
Our purpose in worship is to reach the same point Isaiah did when he saw the Lord (Isaiah 6). We must reach the
point in worship where we tell the Father, “Here I am, send me!” “No strings attached, I will go where You want
me to go and I will do what You want me to do.”

Moreover, if worship is dialogue and not a monologue, as Isaiah 6 demonstrates12, then worship is
communication with God. How humbling to know that the One who spoke the entire universe into existence and
formed humans out of the dirt, loved us so much that He gave His very best (His Son) to purchase our freedom in
order to bridge the gap between holiness and humanity. When you think of all He is and has done for us, is
complete and total offering of ourselves too much to ask?

The Message truly encapsulates this idea of Romans 12:1: “So here's what I want you to do, God helping you:
Take your everyday, ordinary life - your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life - and place it
before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.”13

What is ministry?
Ministry is, in simplest terms, “the act of serving.”14 For the purpose of God’s kingdom, ministry is more
accurately defined with the understanding of the Greek word leitourgia (leitourgia) and diakonia (diakonia).
8 The NEW Strong’s Complete Dictionary of Bible Words, 1996 ed., s.v. “shâchâh”.
9 Ibid., s.v. “proskuneo”.
10 Webber, ed., The Complete Library of Christian Worship, volume 1, Biblical Foundations of Christian Worship, 15.
11 George Barna, et al. Experience God in Worship (Loveland: Group Publishing, Inc., 2000), 99.
12 Isaiah 6 demonstrates a pattern of revelation (verses 1-4), confession and expiation (verses 5-7), proclamation (verse 8), and commission

(verses 9-11a). For a more detailed exegesis of Isaiah 6:1-11a and its implications for worship, reference Bruce Leafblad’s writing in
Experience God in Worship. Also reference later in this paper. See bibliography.
13 THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language Translated by Eugene Peterson, 2002.
14 The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition (Houghton Mifflin Company).

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Leitourgia refers, Biblically, to the priestly responsibility of the prayers and sacrifices to God. 15 This is the Greek
word from which we get the English word “liturgy” which means “the work of the people.” Leitourgia is used in
Hebrews 8:6 to describe Jesus’ ministry for us to the Father. Diakonia means a servant who would enact, or fulfill,
the directives of another.16 In essence, it means one who is in a subservient position to fulfill the needs of others.

What is Worship Ministry?


If worship is “communion with God” and ministry is “the act of serving”, then worship ministry is the “act
of serving communion with God”. According to Matthew 22:36-40, worship is the first priority of individual
believers. Since the church is the “called out” people of God, worship should be the first priority of the church as
well. To put anything else before the worship of Almighty God is a violation of the first commandment and breaks
our covenant with Him.

As such, the corporate worship event is meant for believers as ministry (leitourgia) to the Lord. As stated
earlier, “Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn't.”17
This serves as a reminder: when our priorities are in line with God’s priorities, all the other functions of the body of
Christ occur naturally. If meeting God is made “job one”, we will not have to force ministry, evangelism,
fellowship, and discipleship to happen. In most churches this compartmentalization of ministry, evangelism,
fellowship, and discipleship occur, as John Piper observes, because loving God (worship) does not happen. If a
body of believers is in love with God and they commune with God regularly, then evangelism will happen as a
result of being moved in line with God’s agenda. We will want fellowship with other believers because we
understand the importance of building each other up in our life with the Lord. Discipleship will happen because
God is constantly getting the opportunity to mold us and change us and as a result, we will share what we have
learned with others.

The Role of Evangelism


This is not to say that there is no room for evangelistic themes or events in the life of the church. To go
that far negates the second part of Matthew 22:36-40 about loving our neighbor. If we love them, we will share
Christ with them. What this means in a practical sense is the church must draw a clear distinction between what is a
worship event and what is an evangelistic event. They are, by definition of focus, mutually exclusive. Either a
church’s focus is on loving and communing with God the Father, Son, and Spirit, or its focus is on the people
sitting in the seats. Unbelievers cannot truly realize a fulfillment of the purpose of worship since they do not have
the Holy Spirit, have not accepted Jesus as their Savior, and are “strangers” to God the Father.

Unbelievers in a worship event may not understand the reason they go through the motions of worship, but
that void in their life only becomes apparent as they notice and feel the difference between themselves and
believers. God does not commune with unbelievers, but He does draw them to Himself for salvation and only He
decides when that drawing will occur. The key is to not mix the two (worship and evangelism) to the point where
both are robbed of their purpose. Worship is communing with God. Evangelism is reaching the lost to bring them
to God. The corporate worship service is designed as a believers-only event, but as Jesus is lifted up, He will draw
all people to Himself. 1 Corinthians 14:24-25 assures us that if an unbeliever comes into the worship event, they
will be convicted of sin and will come to the knowledge of Him. As such, we should not get to the point where we
do not want unbelievers at a worship event. At the same time, again, we must remember the lost are not the focus
of worship, God is.

The Congregation’s Responsibility


Quite simply the congregation’s responsibility is to meet God. Their role as a group of believers is exactly
the same as each individual: “seek first the kingdom of God.”18 They are the ones who do the work of ministry to
God. When God set apart His people and established His covenant with them, His first decree was that they were

15 The NEW Strong’s Complete Dictionary of Bible Words, s.v. “leitourgia”.


16 Ibid., s.v. “diakonia”.
17 John Piper, quote from www.christianquotes.org. Accessed on March 8, 2006.
18 Matthew 6:33.

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to worship (shachah) no other god but Him.19 Jesus reaffirmed this when He was asked, “What is the most
important commandment?” His answer was clear, “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your
soul and with all your mind.” This familiar passage from the Shema was known to all Jews, and further underscored
the importance of worship in the lives of believers. 20

My responsibility is not to worship for the congregation, as was a common idea for the clergy in the
medieval times. My responsibility is to prompt them to worship the God of their salvation. The very definition of
liturgy (as noted earlier) is “the work of the people”. Too often, congregation members think worship is something
they watch or hear. They seem to have the impression of the sanctuary as a platform for performance. They think,
in clear conscience, they are to come and listen to “something” happen and watch “someone” do “something” that
will “somehow” bring them closer to God.21 No wonder so many believers are hungering and thirsting for
something “more” in worship: we have truly traded the altar for a stage!22

As ministers of the gospel, we absolutely must remember the Word in 2 Peter 2:5 (NIV): “you also, like
living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to
God through Jesus Christ.” We would also do well to remember our “job description” found in Ephesians 4:11-13
(NIV): “It was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be
pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until
we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole
measure of the fullness of Christ.” As a minister of worship, my responsibility is to “prepare God’s people” for
their responsibility. Their responsibility is to serve the Lord as a royal priesthood. When a study is done of the Old
Testament, you quickly see that God was very specific in His instructions for the priests. God had a certain order
to things. He had a way He wanted it done. Although we do not live under the Law, this language in the New
Testament certainly reminds us of God’s perspective of the mission and responsibility of the church.

Unity through Worship


When all of the believers in a room are focused on the God of their salvation
and not themselves, an amazing thing occurs: unity. The diagram, at left, illustrates
my concept of unity through worship. The outer circle represents the church; the
inner circle represents God. As the individual worshipper draws closer to Him, the
GOD entire fellowship draws closer to each other. A church divided against itself is a
church that is rendered powerless. Internal conflicts are often a lack of correct
focus. People become so engrossed with “my needs/wants” they ignore God’s
commands to leave it all and follow Him.
Referring again to the diagram: some of the arrows are shorter (they are not
as close to God). This represents the fact that all of us are in different places in our
spiritual journey with the Lord. Nevertheless, worship brings all of us to the same place: face to face with a holy
God.

Oftentimes this struggle for unity leads churches to start separate worship events for those who want
different music. An extreme example of this would be a church that has an 8:30 AM Traditional service with hymns
and an organ, a 10:00 AM Contemporary service with guitars, drums, and keyboards, and a 6:00 PM “blended”
service. In addition, this church might also offer a GenX/Postmodern music style on Saturday night at 7:00 PM.
This may solve some of the surface problems surrounding unity within a particular body, but there is one important
point that often goes unnoticed: this one body has now been split into three or maybe four churches. Once these
lines of music style are drawn, it would prove extremely difficult to ever bring them together again. If a church enters
into this arrangement with the knowledge they are creating new churches, I would see no problem with it. Most

19 Exodus 20:3-5.
20 Matthew 22:36-37, NIV. The Shema is Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 11:13-21; and Numbers15: 37-41.
21 Franklin M. Segler, Understanding, Preparing for, and Practicing Christian Worship, 2nd Edition Revised by Randall Bradley (Nashville: Broadman

and Holman Publishers, 1996), 244.


22 Lyric quoted from “Stained Glass Masquerade” written by Mark Hall and Nichole Nordeman. Recorded by Casting Crowns on Lifesong.

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churches, however, enter into this arrangement as a way of solving a “fast food” mentality of worship that says, “I
want it my way.” In addition, very few worship leaders have the ability to be
traditional/contemporary/GenX/postmodern at the same time. A further, often overlooked complication: the
preaching/teaching worship leader can preach/teach the same sermon to all worship events. The worship leader
whose concern is the music, Scripture, and other elements of worship has a great challenge: they must be everything
to everybody, “preaching” different “sermons” to each “church.”

Unity comes by acknowledging we meet together to worship God. We do not worship tradition, music,
banners, physical expressions, instruments, sermons, or anything concerning us; we worship God. We must get to
the point, as Ron Owens wrote, that we acknowledge “when we come to worship, we come to a throne.”23

Creating new worship services for language-specific groups is an entirely different issue altogether since
there is a language barrier that would impede the worship of those who could/could not speak the language. It
would be, for all intent and purposes, an autonomous body with its own preferences, idioms, traditions, issues, etc.
The larger church would have to acknowledge the fact that they are creating a church within a church and treat it as
such. This is, in my opinion, the best way to reach people groups in the United States.

What is a “worship leader”?


A worship leader is one who leads others to communion with God. First, they must be worshippers. They
must be believers.24 Are they to be the “stars” of the event? One thousand times, NO! According to Kierkegaard,
the worshippers in the congregation are the “performers”, the worship leaders are the “prompters” and God is the
“audience”. This model works quite well to explain our functions in corporate worship. A more accurate model,
though not as neat and simple, is the following: God is the audience/prompter/director of our worship, the
worshippers in the pews are the actors and the worship leaders are actors in supporting roles.

Worship leadership, then, begins in the heart of worshippers whom God has set apart to lead worship. This
not only means a “professional worship leader”, but also includes soloists, praise team members, orchestra/band
members, choir members, audio/video/lighting/television technicians, ushers, preachers, and teachers. Anyone
who prompts or supports the main actors in worship is a worship leader and therefore is accountable to God for
prompting/supporting. As such, they are to offer their best to the Master because He offered His best to us (Jesus).
They should not offer their best so people are impressed. They should offer their best because God alone is worthy
of our sacrifice of praise. 25 Likewise, those who are under our prompting/supporting will never rise above their
leaders. We are to gently lead the congregation to a place where they can encounter God. Is that a tall order?
Definitely. Is it possible by human standards? No. What is the key element, then, to worship leadership? The
Holy Spirit.

It is also crucial that worship leaders be maturing believers in Christ. They must know Who they are
worshipping and why. God is not concerned or impressed by our ability because it is by His grace that He endows
us with talents. God is concerned with our availability since that is the freedom of human choice. When we take
what He has graciously given us and empty all of ourselves to Him in praise, the Holy Spirit can take control and
lead everyone to the true and living God.

The Role of Choirs/Instrumental Ensembles/Soloists


The choir has been around for a very long time. It is ancient in its origin and has undergone many changes
in focus but without question, choirs have a place in contemporary church life. The choir serves as a great example
of teamwork. It is also a cross-section of the congregation serving to lead the greater congregation in worship and
praise. The choir also allows those with vocal giftedness to obtain a level of “sacrificial praise” in music that the
congregation-at-large cannot. Furthermore, a choir gives a place for those in it to have a “living study” of worship

23 Ron Owens, Return to Worship: A God-Centered Approach (Nashville: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1999), 53.
24 See Exodus 44:7-9.
25
See 2 Samuel 24:21-25
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since I teach on this subject through rehearsals. Choir serves as “worship leading lab”. Since they are worship
leaders, they too must be believers who are growing in their faith.26

Instrumental ensembles, in the same way, serve to enhance and lead the congregation to God’s throne. The
Psalms are peppered with references to instruments and certainly these modern instruments, in the hands of God’s
servants, will help usher worshippers into the throne room of the Almighty. Psalm 150 gives many examples of
instruments being used in praise of our Lord. Just as the Jews of Scripture used instruments to praise God, so I
lead congregations to use all their instrumental talent to praise God. As indicated previously, these people are
worship leaders and must be believers who are maturing.27 They also are in a “worship leader lab” as they learn
more and more how to lead God’s people through their gifts and talents.

Soloists are a unique part of a worship ministry. Since they are up front, the temptation for any soloist is to
become a performer and use his/her giftedness to impress the people sitting in front of them. However, they are
also worship leaders and are merely prompters/actors in supporting roles for the entire room full of worshippers.
Therefore, there is something more important than their voice: their testimony of faith. I will present a Spirit-filled
soloist to people whose voice still needs a little polish instead of someone who has an incredible voice and whose
life does not tell of Jesus and His love. Furthermore, these soloists will come from the ranks of active membership
in the worship ministry. This is not meant to be legalistic, but stems from two personal revelations:
1. Those who are truly “servant performers” will already be surrendering their talents and abilities to the
body before they ever seek to be up front. If they are not involved in ensemble leadership (for example,
choir) or praise team leadership, why would they desire to be “up front” (solo)? In my experience,
without exception, the answer is ego.
2. As an “undershepherd” of the church in the area of worship, I cannot truly evaluate (inspect the fruit
of) a soloist’s spiritual focus unless I know them. Without team participation, I would have no way to
evaluate their focus of heart and it would be a gamble to put an unknown factor before the
congregation. A preaching/teaching pastor would not put someone in the pulpit to teach the Word of
God they did not know. Why then, would I, as a worship pastor, put someone in front of the
congregation to lead them to God’s throne if I did not know them?

This same philosophy of having active, maturing faith holds true for anyone in a public place of worship
ministry. Their lives must be an act of worship. Their art/talent is secondary. Worship of our Savior and Lord is
too precious to waste with individuals who are simply seeking a few minutes of fame and popularity. Those
believers need to be nurtured to a servant’s heart before they are presented as an example before the congregation.
This nurturing happens in the group expressions of the worship ministry.

Use of Music, Models of Corporate Worship, and Preferences


Through twelve years of ministry, I have led traditional-music styled worship and I have led contemporary
worship (modern/pop/rock). The music and songs of Brooklyn Tabernacle, Casting Crowns, Hillsongs,
Lakewood, Third Day, Don Moen, David Phelps, Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin, and similar styles represent the song
of my heart and the style of music I am led to use in worship. When I sit down at the piano or guitar, it is praise
and worship that flows out.

As Christians, we do have a great heritage of music that has been passed down through the ages. The texts
of these hymns and songs are amazing and certainly they should not be lost. What I do with these hymns is
“repackage” them in a more contemporary format. This preserves the essence of the hymn (the text and the
melody) but makes the hymn more palatable to people who think hymns are “old and outdated.”

As to the use of models for worship planning, there are several to which I gravitate. These models are
merely tools for organization, and like everything else in this paper, they are not exhaustive. The Holy Spirit is the

26 See Exodus 44:7-9.


27 Ibid.
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ultimate guide for worship planning, but these models provide a starting point. I will list the models below and
briefly explain each.

• A Celebration of the Lord’s Table


o This particular model was one the Lord gave to me in an attempt to help the Lord’s Supper be as
important as it should be. Instead of describing it to you, I laid it out as a diagram. This is the form
I use when planning this event in the life of the church.

• Psalm 95
o Verse 1
 This section would have songs of celebration and joy.
 It would be upbeat and bright.
o Verses 2-5
 This is the section where thanksgiving is offered to God both for Who He is and what He
has done.
o Verses 6 & 7
 This section is the intimate moment with the Creator.
 It would be in these moments where the focus is how much we love God, Jesus and the
Holy Spirit.
• The Fourfold Patter of Worship28
o Entrance
 This is the gathering in and focussing of the worshippers to the presence of the Lord.
 A pastoral prayer would fit into this position.
o The Word

28
Robert E. Webber, ed., The Complete Library of Christian Worship, volume 3, The Renewal of Sunday Worship by various contributors
(Nashville: Hendrickson Publishers, 1994), 201-217.
7
 This reference to the “word” refers to Scripture, not only the sermon or songs.
 This would a place for Scriptural readings or “Scripture songs”.
 The Message would also “fit” here.
o The Table
 Whether or not the Lord’s Supper is practiced every week, there should still be a reference to
it in this model. In other words, a song or Scripture or at the least a reminder of the sacrifice
of Jesus Christ.
o The Dismissal
 Any announcements would go here in this model.
 Also, any final Scripture reading (as a “blessing”) would be spoken here.
 Closing prayer or song would be the final piece to this model.
• Wimber-Espinosa Five-Phase Pattern29
o Invitation
 This is the same function as a traditional “call to worship”.
 The lyrics of the song would be an exhortation to the congregation to worship the Lord.
o Engagement
 In this section, the lyrics change slightly to become directed to God.
 The worshippers are singing to God and not each other.
 Espinosa compares this to the engagement time before a marriage.
o Exaltation
 In this section, the worshippers increase their response to God through lyrics that include
words of exaltation like great, majestic, worthy, reigns, Lord, mountains, etc.
o Adoration
 The volume begins to subside in this section as worshippers focus on Jesus and sing simpler
songs directly to Him.
o Intimacy
 In the very quiet and personal section, the writers of this model suggest this is the enactment
of proskuneo—to throw a kiss.
o Close-Out
 This is a transitional period to prepare the worshippers for the next section of the worship
service.
 Typically, the sermon would follow this event or perhaps the sermon is this event.
• Four-Phase Tabernacle Style (Entrance to the Holy of Holies)30
o Entering the Gates
 This phase is intended to be “horizontal”.
 It is a call to everyone to come into the presence of the Lord and prepare himself or herself
for worship.
 Scripture, a solo, an instrumental piece, or a congregational song could be used here.
o The Outer Court
 Songs about God’s goodness, mercy, and greatness characterize the Outer Court’s music.
 This phase is still “horizontal” as it begins to talk “about” God.
o The Inner Court
 Purification happens in the Inner Court phase.
 Here is where songs are directed to God as worshippers thank and praise Him for
forgiveness.
o The Holy of Holies
 The Holy of Holies in the Old Testament represented being in the very presence of God. In
this phase, likewise, all music, Scripture, and thought is “vertical”.
29 Ibid.
30 Ibid. In addition, many writers and professors further elaborate this concept. Most notably for my paper, the additional thoughts come
from Dr. Michael Sharp in PATH 5300: Worship Leadership at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
8
 These are the moments when the worshippers confess their love and devotion to the God of
their salvation.
• Isaiah 631
o Verses1-4: Revelation
 In worship, God reveals Himself. He initiates the worship.
 Any worship elements in this section would be from God’s perspective reveling Himself to
us.
o Verses 5-7: Confession & Expiation
 After God revealing Himself in the perfection of Holiness, worshippers realize how sinful
they are. Confession is made and expiation (atonement) is made.
 Worship elements in this section would deal with our sinfulness and God’s atonement for
our sin.
o Verses 8: Proclamation
 This is the section where songs would deal with the message God has for the worshippers to
hear.
 The message would also fit into this section as the “Word of the Lord”
o Verse 9-11a: Commission
 This is the final section of the Isaiah 6 model in which the worshippers are sent out to fulfill
the mission God has given them.
 This is more than just an altar call. It is truly an opportunity for worshippers to learn how to
do what God has called them to do during the worship experience.

Conclusion
Worship ministry, in conclusion, is not “performancehood”; it is “servanthood”. It is not a road to
stardom or success, but a road to invisibility and humility. When a worship leader, being Spirit-filled, gently guides
the worshippers upward, they will only see the Father Who loved them, the Son Who died for them, and the Spirit
Who holds them until the day we all see Him face to face. Only then will a church truly be able to “declare the
praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”32

Selected Bibliography

Barna, George, et al. Experience God in Worship Loveland: Group Publishing, Inc., 2000.

Hall, Mark and Nichole Nordeman, “Stained Glass Masquerade”.

Leafblad, Bruce, Class Notes from MUMIN 3363: Worship, Fall Semester, 2000. Southwestern
Baptist Theological Seminary.

Owens, Ron, Return to Worship: A God-Centered Approach Nashville: Broadman and Holman
Publishers, 1999.

31 Class Notes from MUMIN 3363: Worship, Fall Semester, 2000. Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Bruce Leafblad,

Instructor.
32
1 Peter 2:9, NIV
9
Piper, John, Quote from www.christianquotes.org. Accessed on March 8, 2006.

Segler, Franklin M., Understanding, Preparing for, and Practicing Christian Worship, 2nd Edition Revised by
Randall Bradley. Nashville: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1996.

Smith, Argile and Michael Sharp, Class Notes from PATH 5300: Worship Leadership, Fall Semester
2001. New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

Strong, James, The NEW Strong’s Complete Dictionary of Bible Words, 1996 edition. Nashville: Thomas
Nelson Publishers, 1996.

Tozer, A. W., Whatever Happened to Worship? A Call to True Worship. ed. G.B. Smith PA: Christian
Publications, 1985.

Webber, Robert E., ed. The Complete Library of Christian Worship, volume 1, Biblical Foundations of
Christian Worship, various contributors. Nashville: Hendrickson Publishers, 1993.

Webber, Robert E., ed. The Complete Library of Christian Worship, volume 2, Twenty Centuries of Christian
Worship, various contributors. Nashville: Hendrickson Publishers, 1994.

Webber, Robert E., ed., The Complete Library of Christian Worship, volume 3, The Renewal of Sunday
Worship by various contributors. Nashville: Hendrickson Publishers, 1993.

Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL
VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission
of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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