Don’t go to church to worship God


I was listening to a short video clip by Graham Kendrick the well-known song-writer and worship leader. He said something that made me think. He said;

“Don’t come to church to worship … Come worshipping”[1]

This neat phrase nicely expresses a key aspect of the Christian faith; that worship is the primary calling and the most important activity for the Christian.

The Westminster Shorter Catechism puts the same truth in a slightly different way;

“Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.”

Glorifying God, worshipping Him, therefore, cannot be other than the most important human activity on the face of the planet, or even in whatever remote corner of the universe, it cannot be otherwise

Approaching this same truth from a different direction, John Piper once wrote,

“Mission exists because worship doesn’t”[2]

The goal of all that the Church does is simply that men and women might worship God. For this to happen they need to pass through the succeeding phases of perceiving the truth about God and themselves, embracing this truth intellectually and experientially, correctly orienting themselves and their lives to it. The outcome of all this is, however, singular; for being rightly oriented to the Creator always means living a life of worship.

The Creator is above and beyond all that we can imagine. He is inexpressibly glorious. He is unimaginably powerful. He is shockingly gracious. He is loving and merciful beyond measure.

There is no other authentic response possible to this reality, other than living a life of joyful worship before Him.

This is exactly what we see being exhorted of the first Christian communities.

“Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:18b-20 NIVUK

“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ‘God is a consuming fire.’” Hebrews 12:28-29 NIVUK

Therefore it seems that Graham Kendrick is correct, our worship should not be an irregular, time-limited activity, perhaps an hour on a Sunday morning, but rather it should be our normal way of being in the world. It should be a whole day, an everyday experience. Giving thanks, enjoying our Father’s presence, welcoming His activity, glorifying His deeds. Praising His name.

Certainly regular corporate worship will be a part of this, but actually only a rather small part.

Worship is for life, not just for Sunday.

[1] “Why aren’t we singing? Some themed thoughts from Graham Kendrick” available online at; published 8th October 2014

[2] ‘Let the Nations be glad’ in Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, eds R.D. Winter & S.C. Hawthorne, Pasadena: William Carey Library, 1981, p49