What is the Circle of Worship?

Chris  —  August 31, 2011 — 6 Comments
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There is a common question in the minds of worship leaders everywhere:

How can I do a better job engaging people in worship when together on a Sunday morning?

I know because I’ve asked that question a lot. And I used to think the answer was all about the right songs, the right words, and the right flow.

But I’ve come to realize that, even while those things done well are important, the answer is much deeper.

It starts with realizing that the corporate gathering is not a stand-alone moment of spiritual life and worship…either individually or corporately.

Here’s the point: Sunday feeds the week, which feeds Sunday, which feeds the week, which feeds…

I call it the “Circle of Worship.”

Maybe a picture would help:

This is true of worship leaders. This is true of congregation members.

As much as worship is about remembering and responding to God through songs and other means, it is also about discipleship.

I’m going out on a limb here: A person who isn’t a disciple does not and cannot worship biblically in spirit and truth. A person who is not pursuing Christ throughout their week is not prepared to respond fully to Him.

And, a person who is growing as a disciple is one who is growing in worship. And one who is growing in worship is becoming more of a disciple.

Worship shouldn’t be a stand-alone part of our churches. It needs to be a part of the broad strategy of discipleship and maturity that we, as leaders, are called to develop in people. Discipleship is more than just teaching people the content of the Bible. The growth of Christ-likeness that happens in discipleship is a big part of what fuels authentic and true worship. I’m convinced that we, as church leaders, can’t keep viewing worship as a separate component.

It’s not the latest songs or flashy lights that produces ‘good’ worship. If I have come ready to worship with God’s people, in part because of time spent with God during the week, then it won’t matter whether the songs or video are my favorite. I’ll recognize the importance of what we are doing together. My desire to respond to God with all of who I am outweighs whether the worship leader says the right things or not. I won’t see worship as an option.

So, if you’re wondering why people are not engaging in worship, and you’ve evaluated what’s happening on Sunday mornings for areas of improvement or distraction, maybe you need to ask some deeper questions about why worship doesn’t work. And I would encourage asking those questions with the broader ministry team of the church.

How have you seen worship and discipleship work together? Does your church recognize this connection and build from it?

Of course, the question now is how to get people into the circle of worship. I’m not sure I’ve got an answer for that one yet.

What do you think? Will you leave a comment below?


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6 responses to What is the Circle of Worship?

  1. The circle is a good framework Chris. Churches need to develop a culture of “all week long” worship. That starts at the top with leaders who understand and live the circle.

    • Couldn’t agree more, Rob. The role of worship pastor is more than a Sunday morning thing. And we can’t expect congregations to do what we as leaders aren’t doing.

  2. Great concept, something everyone should keep in mind!

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