What is Worship?


Worship can mean a lot of different things.

To some, it means coming to church on Sunday morning and singing a few songs. To others, worship means closing your eyes, raising your hands and swaying back and forth to the music. Others wouldn’t be caught dead raising their hands in church unless they were voting at a Church Council.

Atmosphere counts to some. The stained glass windows, the music of the organ, the choir, all combine for a holy experience. And, while you may think this point of view is reserved for those born before MTV was founded, I know several people over 50 who go to our 9:30 contemporary service, and several young families who attend our traditional services.

A family in our congregation recently moved to Singapore, and the worship at one of the churches they visited involved liturgical dancing, tambourines, and streamers on sticks.

It’s a matter of what speaks to your heart. In the 9:30 service, one reason we play a worship set of three to four songs is that we realize it takes people a while to transition from dealing with life to entering into worship, to go from a horizontal focus to a vertical one.

Louis Giglio once said that worship is about audience. And in worship, audience is not who we are, sitting in the chairs. It’s who God is. He is the recipient of our worship. Dave Vossler, our worship leader for the 9:30 service, often tells the congregation to do whatever feels comfortable during the worship set: sing, close your eyes and listen, say the lyrics in your head, whatever. It’s just a matter of what would be the most honest way for you to honor God for Who He is.

I love The Message paraphrase of the Bible. Here’s a passage from John, chapter 4, about worship:

“Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.”

That’s what we strive to offer you every Sunday morning – a place where you can be simply and honestly yourself before God in your worship.

Written By: Terri Welch,
Cypress UMC Media Department

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