Friday, November 16, 2007


A couple of weeks ago, Thomas+ and I got into a little bit of a conversation about worship and I decided to bring it out overall. A point I made in the post was that I didn't think churches should be worship centers, but centers for discipleship. Thomas said that the most important thing his church does is gather for worship and I expressed that because of the time I spend in the tech booth, I don't get to worship very often.

Here's what I mean by worship. To me, worship is the ability to step away from ourselves and to focus completely on God and the wondrousness of His presence. In traditional Church of Christ theology, there are five acts of worship: teaching, giving, singing, praying, and communion. And if you only count those, I do get to experience those every Sunday, but I'm not able to focus exclusively on them. If you step away from that and get into a less "finger-based" approach (tiny joke there) that thinks in a wider view of worship and experiencing God in a more experiential way, I don't get to participate in that very often either.

Am I happy to be helping in the booth? Of course. It's a talent that I have and one I'm grateful to share with the body, and one that I know facilitates worship in others. But because I have to be so focused on making sure that there aren't mistakes in what we do which would distract others from worship.

That's what I mean by worship and why I'm not able to focus on it. So, Thomas, I'm interested in hearing your take, as well as anyone else's, of course. I'm going to be out of pocket after this morning and not able to respond until Monday, but I'll be very interested in reading the responses to this.


Amy said...

I would say that what you are doing in the tech booth is worship. Not in the quiet, meditative way, but that you are offering your gifts in worship to Him.

On another subject, I would like to ask you about your thoughts on "nonviolence" vs. "pacifism". I noticed your comments at Mike's, and would like to understand what you mean.

Amy said...

Back to your original thoughts on this post, I am changing my perspective on what our purpose in gathering as a church is as well.

I agree that our purpose is to be centers of discipleship. Yes, worship is a part of the whole, but for the most part we have been WAY to focused on worship issues (wars) for too long.

It is silly to be so wrapped up in music while the world desperately just wants to see Jesus.

...and that's coming from someone who loves singing and music!

Phil said...

Amy, just to clarify on the nonviolence versus pacificism.

To me, pacificism is the same thing as inaction. It's not doing anything. Nonviolent resistance is resisting, but not resorting to violence to do it. It would be how MLK resisted the cities and rules about how African Americans could act and where they could eat. He did not resort to violence but used this nonviolent resistance to fight those powers. Jesus' teachings on turning the other cheek and going the extra mile would fit into this as well. Does that help?

Amy said...

yes, it does. I guess I thought what you described as "non-violent resistance" was what people referred to as "pacifist". But that does make better sense. Thanks!

Thomas+ said...

I am formulating my response to the great Phil Wilson. So, I have not thrown down the gauntlet in vain. I have just been trying to get my head around Phil's definition of worship, so that I can give him an Anglican beat down. Of course, it would be a non-violent beat down. Just to tie in this other conversation.

Keith Brenton said...

Phil, I'm occasionally one of those booth people, too; as a staff member at my church, I go in early and make sure the scheduled person is there - and fill in when there's a no-show. (Can you believe that there are no-shows?)

Like Amy says, I regard what I do in preparing the visuals and serving either in the visuals or sound part of the booth as worship, just as Amy does. It's not the same, and my attention is divided (just as it often was when my children were younger!), but it's a way I can express my praise and thanksgivings using what God gave me.

And if I tried to count the ways folks can worship, I'd run out of fingers and toes really fast!

Snapshot said...

As the wife of the "tech guy" (my husband is the deacon of the Multi-Media ministry at our church) I do believe what you guys do up there is worship and a HUGE service to everyone at the church BUT as Keith said, it's not the same. Occasionally it would be nice if the tech guys got to come down out of the sound booth and just listen and enjoy the worship service now and then actually setting with their families!!! Anything we do can be worship if we put our focus in that direction. Folding socks can be worship, if we spend out time in that task thanking Him for the socks and the person who wears them. Asking God bless that person and praising Him for the gift they are to our lives. Life should be worship, not just a few hours a week at church. To me, the actual worship service should be like icing on the cake!

Thomas+ said...

I have finally responded to you:

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