Psalm 143-145 1 Corinthians 14:21-40
“So, brothers and sisters, what should you do? When you meet together, one person has a song, and another has a teaching. Another has a new truth from God. Another speaks in a different language, and another person interprets that language. The purpose of all these things should be to help the church grow strong.” (1 Corinthians 14:26 NCV)
I can only imagine what Corinthian worship services were like. Based on some of the things Paul talked about in his letters to Corinth, it’s easy to get the impression that riots might show more organization. They were supposed to have some kind of fellowship meal, but that was a free for all time that benefitted the wealthy at the expense of the working poor. In this passage, Paul gave them an order for their service, causing me to understand that their worship services were free for all celebrations with people interrupting each other, all trying to draw attention to themselves. Paul responded by giving the Corinthians, an order of service with the admonition that all things should be done decently and in order. (verse 40)
If we’re honest, orders of service have gotten a bad rap in recent years. You’ve probably heard the story about the pastor who prayed that God would do something that wasn’t in the order of service. When used incorrectly, orders of service can be bland, ritualistic shrines to laziness on the part of worship leaders. When approached correctly, though, Pastors and Worship Leaders can use the order of service to open the door for God to work in a vibrant exciting service. We serve a God who created the order of this world out of the chaos that existed in the universe. Sometimes He works spontaneously, at other times He works through the prayers and preparation of His people. The order of worship may change, but the fact that we should have order in worship never will. They key to worship, and the key to living successfully as a child of God is to pray and plan for the order of the day, but be prepared for God to take control, or “steal your show,” as Toby Mac would say. The ultimate purpose of worship, the reason why we get up and follow God each day is so that we can draw people to Christ and strengthen the disciples with the result of building up the church. The Church is God’s solution to care for the world and they need the Church today more than ever.
Lord, if we’re the physical hope of the world as the church, empower us to act. There are hungry people to feed: use us. There are people in prison who need ministry: use us. There are people without homes, in need of help, and struggling in life: use us to meet needs. Empower us through worship to be ready to serve You by loving Your people.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.