The popular title has shamefully sucked you in. Your heart is already stirred with emotions both positive and negative towards a well-known pastor and author whose church has redefined the words “purpose-driven” in modern culture. Rest assured, this article is completely unrelated to their subject matter. Now that I have your attention, keep reading…
In any church service, the primary focus should be the preaching of God’s Word. Wouldn’t you agree? There are many important elements in a church gathering; scripture reading, prayer, music, the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Above all of these, the message is the pinnacle of any church gathering. Our church leadership has a paramount responsibility to ensure that what God has to say speaks loud and clear. That’s the “purpose” we are “driving” towards.
It only makes sense that all of the elements of the worship service would come together in support of the pastor’s sermon scripture. The music, the prayers, the scripture reading, even the children’s message all stand in harmony with and in support of the sermon. This is what we seek to achieve each and every week as we gather together for corporate worship. Here’s an example:
Recently, our pastor’s sermon text was Luke 22:39-46 the Mount of Olives. The sermon focus was prayer. Jesus prayed. He asked the disciples to pray lest they fall into temptation. We are called to pray. The congregational singing for this service included What a Friend We Have in Jesus and Lord I Need You. One song speaks directly about prayer while the other is a prayer sung to the Lord. There was an attempt to make an unmistakable connection between the music and the message. The hope was that by the end of our musical worship, our hearts were focused and unified to receive God’s Word.
As a further help in achieving this goal, our service orders are sent out in a midweek study guide email to staff, musicians, and media team. Included in the service orders are scripture references and explanations for every song, describing the “purpose” that is “driving” our song choices.
To sum it all up, everything that is planned in a worship service should have a purpose, and that is what we strive for. That purpose is to point us back to our Holy God, the object of our worship. His Holy Word should clearly penetrate hearts and drive us to preach, teach, and live the the gospel for the glory of God.
Perhaps the better title would have been: A Scripture-Driven Worship Service.