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The Heart of Worship

What it is, and what it isn't. An interview with Saddleback Church's Rick Muchow.

Contemporary, traditional, blended—lately worship has become a divisive, rather than uniting, force in our churches. Rick Muchow, worship leader at Purpose-Driven Life pastor Rick Warren's Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, is author of The Worship Answer Book (J. Countryman). TC talked to him recently about what worship is, and what it isn't.

What is worship?

Any expression of our love to God—for who He is, for what He's said, and for what He's doing. The Bible says, "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God" (1 Cor. 10:31). Worship is a physical expression of our spiritual relationship with Him.

What's the most common misperception about worship?

That it's synonymous with music. The Bible does mention music as being one way to worship. But Jesus exemplified many ways of worshiping—through obedience, teaching, reading and quoting Scripture, prayer, fasting, and giving.

Is there a wrong way to worship?

Focusing on yourself. There's a difference between "service" and "serve us." A lot of people go to church for what they're going to get out of it. But it's not about us. Though we benefit from worshiping God, that's not why we should do it. You don't love your kids for what you can get out of it. You love them because you love them.

How can we keep the focus on God?

Understanding what the Bible has to say about worship—that God commands it, that it must be done in love, with humility and reverent fear, and that it involves surrendering your entire life as an offering to God—will keep our focus true.

How can a smaller church with limited resources compete with megachurches that are able to offer multiple styles of worship services?

Churches should be encouraged to be themselves, to find their own identity and not try to cater to an audience as if it were entertainment. The question our churches should be asking is not "How can I compete with the church down the block?" but "What has God called our church to be? What is our mission field in this community?" The goal is to reach people for Christ. We'll need many different styles of worship and expression to reach them all.

Read more articles that highlight writing by Christian women at ChristianityToday.com/Women

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