Understanding, Preparing for and Practicing Christian Worship – Seglar & Bradley

Seglar presented many significant statements/ideas regarding worship.  He makes the statement that “worship, not church growth must be the church’s priority[1].”  This was a statement that made me think quite a bit.  The point that Seglar makes here is of utmost importance because if the church adds people to a body that is not truly worshiping God, what have the newly added people actually joined?  He helps his readers to be reoriented to a proper perspective of living for God.              Another point that Seglar makes is in regard to the importance of worship and theology.  He says, “worship without theology is sentimental and weak; theology without worship is cold and dead.  Worship and theology together combine to motivate a strong Christian faith and to empower a fruitful Christian life.  Worship should be regulated and determined by doctrine[2].”  The statement that Seglar makes here I believe summarizes the issues that the proponents of “hymnology” and the proponents of the “praise and worship” movement have with each other.  One group accuses the other of one of the worship “crimes” mentioned above.  The author’s statement should drive both sides to examine their hearts, and their music.              Seglar proposes that, “the church as the people of God is as universal as the action of God.  Our estrangement and loneliness can be overcome only when we participate in the worship of God and become aware that we belong to an eternal people.  The church is formed in worship, and its vitality is sustained in proportion to the genuineness of its continuing worship[3].”  This is powerful statement to realize that we cannot be close to one another without being close to God.  The connection with God is needful for a healthy Christian life, and a healthy community of faith.  Another point that Seglar made almost floored me because I never thought of things the way that he sees them.  He says that, “True worship will bring new life in the church.  As branches must be vitally connected with the vine, so must the church itself be vitally related to the source of its life, the living Christ[4].”  What Seglar proposes here in this statement is completely contrary to what we often focus on when “attempting to effect spiritual renewal” in our churches.  It is such an obvious solution that we miss it.  People and churches are not spiritually healthy because we are not rightly related to God, and we are not connecting with Him in meaningful ways.              The final point that I will focus on that Seglar makes is in regard to Christian unity.  He mentions that, “True worship in the church will move toward the goal of Christian unity among the people of God.  The conscious worship of the living Christ tends to unite all people who worship him and to elicit the yearning for all to be one as Christ and the Father are one[5].”  I am ashamed of this, but I believe that I have been guilty of forgetting the importance of their being a congregation-wide connection with God during every part of the service (not just the sermon time) being the key to the spiritual transformation of the individual and as a result the body as a whole.  It is so obvious now as I read Seglar’s statements.              This book has really influenced my understanding and my ideas on the practice of worship.  As I have stated above, I believe that I have neglected the importance of a genuine congregational connection with God in our services with the result of transformation.  I now will lead and encourage the people to focus more on speaking to/singing to God, and listening for His response in our services.  I have been convicted of my wrong thinking in this very important area of the Christian life and community.              One of the areas that I would like to explore more as a result of this book is the implementation of dramatic video presentations as a part of the service.  Another area that I would like to explore more as a result of this book is the implementation of a more focused/purposeful order of service.  Instead of just doing things because they sound nice, to do things to attempt to accomplish specific ends.  A third area that I would like to explore as a result of this book (and hearing about it so much) is the Christian year.  I do not feel completely comfortable with all of the aspects of the Christian year because of the stigma that these “days/times” often carry.  But I do think that I will look into them some more to gain the good from them.

            I have completed reading both books.  I am sorry for sighting my “5 significant statements/ideas” from the first half of the book but those were the things that really affected me in my thinking.  The statements mentioned above really changed my thinking.            

[1] P. 11

[2] P. 47

[3] P. 56

[4] P. 76

[5] P. 83

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