Worship Misnomers Part I: Compartmentalized Worship

Personal or Corporate?

I’d like to clarify the misnomer that worship is something that occurs on Sunday morning at either 8, 9:30 or 11am. Don’t get me wrong. For Faith Baptist Church in Lafayette, I would hope that a lot of worship would be happening at those specific times. And have no doubt…there is something extra special that can happen when the people of God gather and unite in lifting the name of God and studying His Word. Corporate worship is sweet and it definitely needs to happen. Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

Corporate worship can definitely be a high point; a time to evaluate the past week; a time to recharge for the coming week. But what really happens when we walk out the church-house doors and start into our week? If we were honest, we’d probably have to admit that Sunday morning worship easily tends towards being compartmentalized. And although we may never come out and actually say it, “worship” is really something that only gets our attention for literally a fraction of our week. Instead of passionate personal worship motivating passionate corporate worship motivating passionate personal worship (ad infinitum), corporate worship just ends up being an isolated blip in our intensely crazy week.

Take it a step further and it’s even possible to find ourselves giving God mere lip service (Matt 15:8). If you find yourself coming in on Sunday morning to try to love Jesus, but you’re a hater the rest of the week…you’re practicing compartmentalized worship.

My prayer is that our congregation will realize the importance (and enjoy the blessings) of dedicating themselves wholeheartedly to God; and not just in the corporate worship setting, but also in their regular, consistent…personal worship of God.

What’s Your Style?

Have you ever noticed someone with a certain style? Maybe that person is suave, or abrasive, or quirky. Usually you can’t put your finger on one particular thing that defines their style because…really…it’s just everything about that person. Christ has called us to a functional lifestyle of worship. It’s not just one particular thing that we do that makes us worshipers of God. On the contrary, it’s literally everything we do that either affirms or denies that reality (1 Cor. 10:31). It’s a lifestyle that is characterized by self-sacrifice (a “living and holy sacrifice” Rom:12:1). It’s a lifestyle that is defined by how we love God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind; how we care for people just like we would care for ourselves (Luke 10:27).

Life or Lip Service?

If you’re functionally, practically and actually following Christ (not just in word, but in deed), Sunday morning corporate worship should be a reflection of what you’ve been living out in your personal lifestyle of worship throughout the previous week.

But let’s face it: we fail (sometimes miserably). And sometimes we can look back on an entire week that was lived out in self-indulgence instead of self-sacrifice. That’s when Sunday morning corporate worship can act as a time for you to recognize that your lifestyle the previous week was not characterized by God-worship at all. It becomes a time set aside to receive a deluge of spiritual truth that can remind us of the reality of God’s power. It’s a time when all of us should be yielding our hearts to the power of the Holy Spirit to change us–to mold us and make us into the image of Christ.

Titus Curtis
Titus has a degree in cross-cultural ministry and was on staff at Faith from 2000-2012.