John Lennox was the first person I ever heard say this – “Worship is our response to God’s revelation.” It’s the most concise and comprehensive definition I’ve heard and one that has greatly influenced the way I think about worship planning.
If our worship is a response, then to what are we responding?
Here’s where the call for balance comes in. Many of our songs express something – something we feel or are experiencing, like a hardship or a mountain to cross. It is entirely appropriate for our songs to express something we are feeling. You have to look no further than the Psalms to find a biblical justification for this aspect of worship.
But shouldn’t our songs also say something about the character of God? If the songs we sing inform our understanding of the Divine, then are we missing something when we spend all of our worship on what we are feeling?
There should be balance. Expressions of our experience and adoration should go side by side with declarations of God’s character and the beauty of Christ, our Redeemer. When we have both, we are approaching the biblical examples of worship response that intersect at the expressions of humanity with the transcendence of the Divine. Songs and hymns that do both tend to be all of our favorites.
Our worship should have balance between the two.
Mike Harland is the Director of LifeWay Worship. When he’s not directing 30+ employees, you’ll find him leading worship at various churches around the country, writing/arranging worship songs and/or, writing his next book. In his spare time, he loves playing basketball and spending time with his family. Mike can be found on Twitter @MikeHarlandLW and on facebook.com/Mike.Harland.37.