Worship Pastor / Composer Travis L. Boyd and his wife, Cynthia, provide inspiration and resources for the worship community and all believers through sharing the blessings of worship, faith, family, ministry, music, love, & life. We also share information about Worship Sounds Music, which can be found on our Worship Sounds website at worshipsounds.com ~ Downloadable Choral Anthems * Solos * Orchestrations * Worship Songs * Accompaniment Trax

Posts tagged ‘John Piper’

WORSHIP: Definitions and Quotations

Worship is transcendent wonder.”

“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.”   Hebrews 12:28, NIV
This post contains Scriptures about worship
as well as 67 quotes, definitions, or teachings about worship
from the sources noted.
In addition, there are 3 Dictionary or Bible Dictionary definitions of worship.
Several links to other worship resources can also be found here.
For a lengthy resource on worship-related Scriptures
from both the Old and New Testaments,
see our page entitled,
“Lift Your Voice (Worship Scriptures)”
Worship is discovering and declaring the magnificence of God, not just by our image-bearing and not just in sacramental acts, but the way we breathe every breath, take in every sight, hear every sound, and move as image-bearers through every day.
Additional information about the above quotation (shared by the authors of this blog):
The “image bearing” term likely refers to the fact that we (human beings) are created in the image of God, according to Genesis 1:26.
Here is another scripture referring to our “image bearing”:
17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.  ~  II Corinthians 3:17 – 18*
* Some translations of this scripture use the word “likeness”.
In addition, it is made clear in the passages below that, for Christians, also being bearers of His image spiritually makes us bearers of His glory (What an amazing truth!)
The god of this age (Satan) has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.  ~  II Corinthians 4:4
(Jesus praying for believers)  22 The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; 23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.  ~  John 17:22 – 23
Did you know that the word translated “take” in the 10 Commandments has deeper meaning than just “use” or “say”? (You shall not take the name the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.  ~  Exodus 20:7)
Here’s some insight on the word “take” used in Genesis 20:7:
Take, throughout the Old Testament, is translated into English from seventy-four different Hebrew words. This one means “to lift up,” “bear,” “carry,” “use,” and “appropriate.”
In other words, I believe that we, as Christians, carry, bear, or take the name of the Lord with us wherever we go.  We are not only bearing His image and His glory but also His name.  And we are to bear His name in such a way that even carrying His name is reverent, worshipful, and bears fruit for HIs Kingdom.
How can we fail to live in a spirit of worship for our magnificent, incredible God, who has allowed us to bear His image as the very glory of Christ.  Wow.
–  C. Boyd
Worship is not a moment or a song.  It’s a life of seeking to become the person God made you to be.
…Your job and my job is to worship God, and the way to do that is to find out what God made you for and do everything you can to do that thing, or those things as well as you possibly can for God’s glory.
“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”  1 Corinthians 10:31  New Living Translation (©2007)
The sooner you recognize God in everything you do, the sooner you will be able to worship Him in everything you do.  And that will be the best life you could ever imagine.  Not my word, but God’s!


Definitions of the word worship from 3 sources:


/ˈwɜrʃɪp/worship/ [wur-ship]: noun, verb; -shiped, -ship·ing or ( especially British ) -shipped, -ship·ping.

As a noun
1.  reverent honor and homage paid to God or a sacred personage, or to any object regarded as sacred.
2.  formal or ceremonious rendering of such honor and homage: They attended worship this morning.
3.  adoring reverence or regard: excessive worship of business success.
4.  the object of adoring reverence or regard.
5.  ( initial capital letter ) British . a title of honor used in addressing or mentioning certain magistrates and others of high rank or station (usually preceded by Your, His, or Her ).
As an adverb (used with object)
6.  to render religious reverence and homage to.
7.  to feel an adoring reverence or regard for (any person or thing).
As a verb (used without object)
8.  to render religious reverence and homage, as to a deity.
9.  to attend services of divine worship.

10.  to feel an adoring reverence or regard.

Origin: before 900; (noun) Middle English wors ( c ) hipe, worthssipe, Old English worthscipe, variant of weorthscipe; see worth, -ship; (v.) Middle English, derivative of the noun

Related forms

wor·ship·er, noun; wor·ship·ing·ly, adverb
mis·wor·ship, verb, -shiped, -ship·ing or ( especially British ) -shipped, -ship·ping.
Synonyms: honor, homage, adoration, idolatry. honor, venerate, revere, adore, glorify, idolize, adulate.

– Definition source #1, above, from Dictionary.com, Unabridged, Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2012

– Definitiion source #2. below, from the same website with a different dictionary

Collins World English Dictionary
worship (ˈwɜːʃɪp)
vb , ( US ) -ships , -shipping , -shipped , -ships , -shiping , -shiped
1. ( tr ) to show profound religious devotion and respect to; adore or venerate (God or any person or thing considered divine)
2. ( tr ) to be devoted to and full of admiration for
3. ( intr ) to have or express feelings of profound adoration
4. ( intr ) to attend services for worship
5. obsolete ( tr ) to honour
6. religious adoration or devotion
7. the formal expression of religious adoration; rites, prayers, etc
8. admiring love or devotion
9. archaic dignity or standing
[Old English weorthscipe, from worth 1 +-ship]
Worship (ˈwɜːʃɪp)
n (preceded by Your, His, or Her )
chiefly ( Brit ) a title used to address or refer to a mayor, magistrate, or a person of similar high rank
Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition 2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Word Origin & History:


O.E. worðscip, wurðscip (Anglian), weorðscipe (W.Saxon) “condition of being worthy, honor, renown,” from weorð “worthy”  + -scipe. Sense of “reverence paid to a supernatural or divine being” is first recorded
c.1300. The original sense is preserved in the title worshipful (c.1300). The verb is recorded from c.1200.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Definition source #3, below, also from Dictionary.com, but from a Bible Dictionary
Easton Bible Dictionary
Worship definition

homage rendered to God which it is sinful (idolatry) to render to any created being (Ex. 34:14; Isa. 2:8). Such worship was refused by Peter (Acts 10:25,26) and by an angel (Rev. 22:8,9).

Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary
Encyclopedia Britannica


broadly defined, the response to the appearance of that which is accepted as the holy-that is, to a sacred, transcendent power or being. Characteristic modes of response to the holy include cultic acts of all kinds: ritual drama, prayers of many sorts, dancing, ecstatic speech, veneration of various persons and objects, sermons, silent meditation, and sacred musicand song. Also included in worship are acts of private response: spoken or unspoken prayers, silence, the assumption of particular postures, ritual acts and gestures, and individual acts of veneration of persons or objects.

compiled from various sources
Source A, from   http://allaboutworship.com/ *

* Note:  Links provided have been researched, compiled, and added to the respective quotations by C. Boyd for this blog post

“Worship is the believer’s response of all that they are – mind, emotions, will, body – to what God is and says and does.” -Warren Wiersbe

“Worship of the living and true God is essentially an engagement with Him on the terms that He proposes and in the way that He alone makes possible.” -David Peterson  (from this book:  http://www.amazon.com/Engaging-God-Biblical-Theology-Worship/dp/0830826971/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1334811456&sr=1-1 )  Also, http://www.davidgpeterson.com

“True worship is when a person, through their person, attains intimacy and friendship with God.” -William Temple

“If worship leaders only worship when they lead, they are not worshippers. They are mere musicians.” -Bill Johnson
http://www.bjm.org  (Pastor Johnson’s personal ministry website)

“Depend on it, my hearer, you never will go to heaven unless you are prepared to worship Jesus Christ as God.” -Charles Spurgeon

“Surely that which occupies the total time and energies of heaven must be a fitting pattern for earth.” -Paul E. Billheimer
http://crosslifebooks.com/authors_author.php?authorid=14  (brief author’s biography)

“Worship is the correct response to the presence of God.” -Doug Hanley
Worship leader and composer of worship songs   http://freshsong.tripod.com/music.html

“To worship God is to admit that we are entirely contrary to Him, and that He is willing to make us like Himself.” -Brother Lawrence

“We pursue God because, and only because, He has first put an urge within us that spurs us to the pursuit.” -A.W. Tozer

“Any man or woman on this earth who is bored and turned off by worship is not ready for heaven.” -A.W. Tozer

“The shortest route to deeper and richer worship is a clearer theology.” -P.D. Manson

Source B,  From http://www.worship.com/

  • Louie Giglio: Worship is our response, both personal and corporate, to God for who He is, and what He has done; expressed in and by the things we say and the way we live.
  • Josh Riley: Worship is everything we think, everything we say, and everything we do, revealing that which we treasure and value most in life.
  • John Piper: Worship is what we were created for. This is the final end of all existence-the worship of God. God created the universe so that it would display the worth of His glory. And He created us so that we would see this glory and reflect it by knowing and loving it-with all our heart and soul and mind and strength. The church needs to build a common vision of what worship is and what she is gathering to do on Sunday morning and scattering to do on Monday morning.
  • Mark Driscoll: Worship is living our life individually and corporately as continuous living sacrifices to the glory of a person or thing.
  • Harold Best: Worship is the sign that in giving myself completely to someone or something, I want to be mastered by it.
  • William Temple: Worship is the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness; the nourishment of mind with His truth; the purifying of imagination by His Beauty; the opening of the heart to His love; the surrender of will to His purpose – and all of this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable and therefore the chief remedy for that self-centeredness which is our original sin and the source of all actual sin.
  • David Peterson: Worship of the living and true God is essentially an engagement with him on the terms that he proposes and in the way that he alone makes possible.  David Peterson
  • Dan Block: Reverential human acts of submission and homage before the divine Sovereign, in response to his gracious revelation of himself, and in accordance with his will.
  • John Stott: Christians believe that true worship is the highest and noblest activity of which man, by the grace of God, is capable.
  • A.W. Tozer: To great sections of the church the art of worship has been lost entirely, and in its place has come that strange and foreign thing called the ‘program.’ This word has been borrowed from the stage and applied with sad wisdom to the type of public service which now passes for worship among us.
  • William Temple: To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God.
  • William Barclay: The true, the genuine worship is when man, through his spirit, attains to friendship and intimacy with God. True and genuine worship is not to come to a certain place; it is not to go through a certain ritual or liturgy; it is not even to bring certain gifts. True worship is when the spirit, the immortal and invisible part of man, speaks to and meets with God, who is immortal and invisible.
  • D. A. Carson: To worship God ‘in spirit and in truth’ is first and foremost a way of saying that we must worship God by means of Christ. In him the reality has dawned and the shadows are being swept away (Hebrews 8:13). Christian worship is new covenant worship; it is gospel-inspired worship; it is Christ-centered worship; it is cross-focused worship.
  • John Frame: Redemption is the means; worship is the goal. In one sense, worship is the whole point of everything. It is the purpose of history, the goal of the whole Christian story. Worship is not one segment of the Christian life among others. Worship is the entire Christian life, seen as a priestly offering to God. And when we meet together as a church, our time of worship is not merely a preliminary to something else; rather, it is the whole point of our existence as the body of Christ.
  • John Piper: Strong affections for God, rooted in and shaped by the truth of Scripture – this is the bone and marrow of Biblical worship.


NOTE:  A  FREE  “What is Worship?”  READER’S  THEATER  SCRIPT, written by Travis L. Boyd, can be found on our blog at:

Source C:

Worship Articles by EXW (EXperiencing Worship) Staff March 21, 2011

“The whole person, with all his senses, with both mind and body, needs to be involved in genuine worship.” Jerry Kerns

“The most valuable thing the Psalms do for me is to express the same delight in God which made David dance.” C.S. Lewis

“When God’s people begin to praise and worship Him using the Biblical methods He gives, the Power of His presence comes among His people in an even greater measure.” Graham Truscott

“God is to be praised with the voice, and the heart should go therewith in holy exultation.” Charles H. Spurgeon

“Without worship, we go about miserable.” A. W. Tozer

“‘A glimpse of God will save you. To gaze at Him will sanctify you.” Manley Beasley

“We only learn to behave ourselves in the presence of God.” C. S. Lewis

Source D:   http://www.gotquestions.org

Question: “What is true worship?”
The Apostle Paul described true worship perfectly in Romans 12:1-2: “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable, or well pleasing and perfect.”
This passage contains all the elements of true worship. First, there is the motivation to worship: “the mercies of God.” God’s mercies are everything He has given us that we don’t deserve: eternal love, eternal grace, the Holy Spirit, everlasting peace, eternal joy, saving faith, comfort, strength, wisdom, hope, patience, kindness, honor, glory, righteousness, security, eternal life, forgiveness, reconciliation, justification, sanctification, freedom, intercession and much more. The knowledge and understanding of these incredible gifts motivate us to pour forth praise and thanksgiving—in other words, worship! ………..Worship is to glorify and exalt God – to show loyalty and admiration to our Father. *

* NOTE:  There are additional paragraphs in the response to this question.  For the entire answer to the question “What is True Worship?”, go to http://www.gotquestions.org/trueworship.html


FROM http://www.higherpraise.com/worship/worship_worshipisalifestyle.htm

Every time you open up your heart in obedience to God and worship Him with all your heart, all your mind, and all your soul, our beautiful Lord responds with His magnificent presence. – Darlene Zschech

Regardless of the method, the act of worship must be in spirit and truth–from our rational consciousness and consistent with the rest of our lives (see John 4:24). We don’t have to be great singers or musicians to worship God. But we do need to be in a personal relationship with Him and live with the truth of His greatness reflecting through all we are becoming and all we do.  – Darlene Zschech, from http://www.charismamag.com/index.php/component/content/article/1490-worship/27159-worship-is-more-than-a-song

We must not convey to the world the impression that the worship of our God is a boring, lifeless ritual. We have been redeemed from sin. Let us therefore praise our Creator as His children who are grateful for His bountiful blessings.
FROM  http://www.gotquestions.org/worship-service.html

Worship means honoring someone that we love. But we can only love someone if we know them in an intimate or personal way. Knowing about a person is different than knowing them personally. As Christians, sometimes we think knowing about God can replace knowing Him intimately through worship.  ~  David Jeremiah, from the book Knowing the God You Worship  http://www.davidjeremiah.org/shop/p-2992-knowing-the-god-you-worship.aspx

“Above all sing spiritually. Have an eye to God in every word you sing. Aim at pleasing him more than yourself, or any other creature. In order to do this attend strictly to the sense of what you sing, and see that your heart is not carried away with the sound, but offered to God continually; so shall your singing be such as the Lord will approve here, and reward you when he comes in the clouds of heaven.”

– John Wesley, quoted from Select hymns with Tunes Annext: Designed chiefly for the Use of the People Called Methodists

If the pursuit of God’s glory is not ordered above the pursuit of man’s good in the affections of the heart and the priorities of the Church, man will not be well served, and God will not be duly honored. I am not pleading for a diminishing of missions but for a magnifying of God. When the flame of worship burns with the heat of God’s true worth, the light of missions will shine to the darkest peoples on earth. And I long for that day to come!
–   John Piper, in an article from Decision magazine   http://www.billygraham.org/articlepage.asp?articleid=771

Worship is not music.  We can certainly worship Him without musicians and without a song.  And by the way, God does not actually seek worship.  The Word tells us that He seeks worshippers. He’s not looking for those who make the most beautiful music.  He’s looking for those who worship in spirit …  and in truth.  Music is only one of the ways that he has ordained for us to express our worship. Yet too many worship leaders today spend more time honing their craft and planning / rehearsing their worship sets, than they spend on their face, alone in worship.

– Steve Rice, from a blog article found at:  http://songsphere.wordpress.com/2012/12/08/authority-and-anointing/

(Corporate) “Worship isn’t about my way.  It’s about our community of faith and the best way for us together to offer our worship to God.  Because worship is about the community, it’s about the people we are trying to reach, and it’s especially about God.  So, the right qauestion for worship istn’t really, “Did I like it?”  The question is, “Did I encounter God in it?  Was I lost in wonder, love, and praise?”
Now remember, this worship talk is just one example of how the church (our church) is a very human community, with people who have different preferences and opinions and ideas which we think are right, but which differ from the preferences, opinions, and ideas of other people who likewise think the are right.”  (Other examples given here of areas where opinions, ideas, and preferences differ.)  “Here’s my point:  We have to be careful because we can let our preferences (my preferences) crowd out the church’s purpose, and our opinions can overwhelm the mission.  In other words, they can cloud the landmark.  They can march us right off the map, and and we can end up walking in circles.  And we walk in circles because it’s easy, all too easy, for us to confuse the good news of Jesus with good views we have.”  (our own ideas, opinions and preferences)

Our NOTE:  Since the primary purpose for the church to gather corporately is to worship God, worship is very much the mission of the church!   [One of several very important missions which include evanglism and witness (through personal contact and through preaching), service to others in the name of Christ, discipleship (through teaching, preaching, and mentorship) and baptism, prayer and personal devotion to the Lord, carrying the gospel beyond the local area (which we typically think of as “missions” and which is a continuation of our mission to evangelize and share a witness for Christ), and standing for what is right according to God’s word.]

– from a sermon by the Pastor Guy Sayles of the First Baptist Church of Asheville, North Carolina

Source E:  An excellent article about defining worship, written by Bob Kauflin @ http://www.worshipsource.com/articles/why-define-worship-worship-defined

Harold Best, in his book, Music Through the Eyes of Faith, defines worship in the broadest sense as “acknowledging that someone or something else is greater – worth more – and by consequence, to be obeyed, feared, and adored…Worship is the sign that in giving myself completely to someone or something, I want to be mastered by it. (pg. 143)

Dr. Dan Block, who until recently was a Professor of Old Testament at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, defines true worship as “reverential human acts of submission and homage before the divine Sovereign, in response to his gracious revelation of himself, and in accordance with his will.” (from Dr. Block’s For the Glory of God. course notes)

“Worship is the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness; the nourishment of mind with His truth; the purifying of imagination by His Beauty; the opening of the heart to His love; the surrender of will to His purpose – and all of this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable and therefore the chief remedy for that self-centeredness which is our original sin and the source of all actual sin”.

—  From William Temple’s (1881-1944) Readings in St. John’s Gospel

“Worship is an active response to God, whereby we declare His worth.”  – source unknown

“The secret to freedom from enslaving patterns of sin is worship. You need worship. You need great worship. You need weeping worship. You need glorious worship. You need to sense God’s greatness and to be moved by it – moved to tears and moved to laughter – moved by who God is and what He has done for you.”  – Tim Keller

“Worship is your direct ministry to God.  Will you minister to Him today?”  – Ray Jones, Worship Pastor (from his facebook post)

“God’s intention has always been to call forth a people who will proclaim His praise and propagate His blessing throughout the earth. Let us do that today.”  – from the Worship Ministry facebook page  @  https://www.facebook.com/WorshipMinistry


1.  Worship is about intentionally giving glory to God through the way that we live our lives.  In every daily activity, in every encounter with people, in every circumstance, in every conversation, in every thought, in every place, every relationship, every use of our talents and the resources that we have been given, in every choice that we make, we learn to increasingly focus on God’s Kingdom, His will and purpose for our lives, and how our response will bring Him glory.   In other words, our lives are to be lived in a continual mindset of worship.  We bring glory to God when we work, play and interact with others  “as to the Lord and not unto men.”
– Cynthia A. Boyd, from our “Lifestyle Worship” page
To read the entire article, go to:

2.  God has shown us His eternal and pure love through the giving of all that He is.  He has given us His message, the Word, both in the form of the scriptures and in the form of the Living Word, Jesus;  He has given His creativity, order, power, brilliance and majesty in Creation; He has given His love, mercy, grace, forgiveness, and patience in allowing us to choose whether to love and serve Him.  He has given us new life and purpose and an eternal home in Heaven through the gift of salvation.   He has given us His only Son, the most precious gift ever given, when we, as the recipients of this gift, were lost in sin and ugliness and the filth of selfishness.  If God is our model for giving, there are certain facts that are always evident about the kinds of gifts that truly make a difference.  First of all, His giving is sacrificial.  Secondly, His giving always has our best interests at heart.  Thirdly, He is ever present in His giving.  He gave us the earth as our temporary home, but he sustains it so that this life can continue according to His plan.   He gave us himself in the person of His Son, God with us, Emmanuel.  He gives us salvation and comes to live within us.  With every gift, God also gives Himself.  If we are to give a gift that has meaning and value to Him, we must also be very present in the giving, not just for a moment in time but for a lifetime.

What does the Bible have to say about our giving and how we must be present in the gift, in other words, giving ourselves?   From Romans 12:1 & 2, the meaning is abundantly clear: Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Because of God’s mercy, we know that He is good.  Our response to His goodness is our true and proper (in some translations, “reasonable”) worship:  the giving of ourselves.  This is to be a sacrificial gift, and yet we are allowed to continue living this earthly life.  We become living sacrifices, giving up our own will for His good, pleasing, and perfect will.  We allow Him to transform us through His Spirit.  As our mind is renewed, we gain some level of understanding of His purpose and His will for our lives.  As we give ourselves to Him, all that we are is changed and made new.  (II Corinthians 5:17  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”)  This new, spirit life within us causes us to want to live in a manner that brings honor and glory to the Lord, and this desire changes the focus of our lives.  We are no longer focused exclusively upon self and the world as it relates to our selves.  Instead, we begin to become aware that all that we think, say, and do has eternal importance.
– Cynthia A. Boyd, from our post entitled “Worship…It’s all about Giving!”
To read the entire post, go to:  https://worshipsounds.wordpress.com/2012/03/22/worship-its-all-about-giving-2/

3.  We know from Romans 12:1 & 2 that worship involves more than just the corporate gathering of God’s people.  Giving glory to God through the way the we live all of life should be the motivation for all we do as believers.
– Travis L. Boyd, from our post called “Worship in the New Testament”
To read the entire post, go to:  https://worshipsounds.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/worship-in-the-new-testament/

4.   The Bible tells us repeatedly to give God honor, glory, blessing, praise, worship, exaltation, joyful singing, thanksgiving, reverence, awe, and all that we are.  This is the key:  Worship is about giving!  It is not about us, or about our preferences, or about what we get out of the experience (although true worship does give back abundant blessings when we give Him the glory due His name!).  It is about seeing God for who He is…the Creator of everything that is, the Sustainer of Life, the Holy and Righteous One, the God of grace and glory, the Merciful Father who sacrificed His one and only Son out of love for us!  Our response then becomes an effort to give all that we are to Him, seeking to bring Him glory in all of life.  That is worship.
– Cynthia A. Boyd, from our post entitled “Understanding Worship”
To read the entire post, go to:  https://worshipsounds.wordpress.com/2012/01/31/understanding-worship/

5.  What a privelege and joy it is to be part of something that is older than the earth itself!  According to the book of Job, the heavenly hosts were engaged in worship of the Living God long before the creation of our solar system.  (Job 38)  In the book of Revelation, we are given vivid descriptions of worship that is going on in heaven even now.  (Rev. 4 & 5)  When something significant happened to Biblical characters, their first thought was to build an altar and worship the Lord.

…..When the church gathers for a time of worship, we are all given an opportunity to experience God’s power within a community of fellow believers.  Jesus spoke of the power of believers being physically and spiritually together (Matthew 18:20).  This is so important for the health of our spiritual lives and for the work of the  church.  Nothing else can substitute for being a part of a corporate worship experience.   Truly, the most foundational part of the Christian experience is worship of the Living God!  Believers need to rediscover the joy of worshipping the Lord with the church family.  True worship is a life-changing experience (that becomes a life style) of recognizing and expressing God’s worth.  He is worthy of our worship and praise!
– Travis L. Boyd, from our post entitled “Worship is Joy!”
To view the entire post, go to:  https://worshipsounds.wordpress.com/2012/01/31/worship-is-joy/

6.  (These quotations express some spiritual lessons that God was teaching to Travis surrounding the writing of “Much More Than a Song”.  What follows is an excerpt from the Song Story for “Much More Than a Song,”  with all of the worship quotes here written by Cynthia Boyd as part of the song story.)

Worship is more than a song.

Worship is more than any particular form of expression.

Worship is more than giving your best to God.  It’s being willing to give up your best and still give what you have left to God.

Worship is a passionate pursuit of God’s glory.

Worship may be expressed through what we do, but the act of worship never consists of any outward expression.  True worship always exists in the desire of the heart to bring Glory to God.

If I have ever truly worshipped God before a loss or a change in my life, I cannot allow such a change to alter my heart.

“Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples! For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised…” Psalm 96:3 &4a

Worship is a 24/7 attitude of the heart, a recognition of God’s supremacy and majesty that results in a constant desire to bring Him glory through my life.

Worship is much more than a song!

(Song Story…”Much More Than a Song”   contains further information in addition to the excerpt above.)

7.  We must not become too focused on the vehicle of our praise (the use of our abilities and skills in presenting to God the gifts that we prepare in our lives).  Instead, our focus needs to be upon the Object of our praise…..our awesome and loving God and our victorious Savior.  In ministry, we often focus on plans and programs, goals, and ideas.  Yet, we must remember that it is the ongoing process of becoming like Christ that is the ultimate gift to our God.  With lifelong preparation and refinement by God’s Holy Spirit at work within us, our lives become a Kingdom gift that has eternal significance.  We have taken God’s best gifts to us:  His love, mercy, and grace, His forgiveness, His Son, His Life within us, His presence, His Spirit, His Word….and allowed these to transform us into the image of our Lord.  All other gifts pale in comparison.

— Cynthia Boyd  in our post titled  Mud Pies and Ministry



* 1 *
“It is in the process of being worshipped that God communicates His presence to men.”

Author: C.S. Lewis      Source: Reflections on the Psalms

* 2 * 
“If you are not passionate about worship, then you don’t know how much God loves you.”

–  found on http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Worship-is-My-Lifestyle/12340

* 3 *
“A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, “darkness” on the walls of his cell.”   – C. S. Lewis

(from http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/c/c_s_lewis.html )

* 4 *
“It is not what a man does that determines whether his work is sacred or secular , it is why he does it.”  –  A. W. Tozer

* 5 *
“Worship” is the term we use to cover all the acts of the heart and mind and body that intentionally express the infinite worth of God. This is what we were created for, as God says in Isaiah 43:7, Everyone who is called by my name, and whom I have created for my glory.  That means that we were all created for the purpose of expressing the infinite worth of God’s glory. We were created to worship.”

– John Piper

Our paraphrase of the main point:  “Worship is intentionally expressing the infinite worth of God’s glory.”

Our expanded paraphrase:  Worship is first a profound spiritual recognition of the infinite worth of God’s glory that elicits a life-changing focus on the infinite worth of God, which is then intentionally and whole-heartedly expressed through seeking to live a life that brings Glory to Him.”

The original definition by John Piper, as printed above, is found in the devotion titled  ”Bodies, Breakfast, and the Marriage Bed”  and subtitled  “A Meditation on Daily Worship”. You can read the complete devotion at this link:  http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/taste-see-articles/bodies-breakfast-and-the-marriage-bed

* 6 *
“Worship is the true believer’s appropriate and grateful response to the revelation of who God is and what He has done and is doing (His transcendance, His holiness, His omnipotence, His omnicience, and His grace, love, and mercy). It is characterized by a desire for a closer, more intimate relationship and knowledge of the Creator, total surrender of our will to His, and total obedience to His plan for our lives. It can and should be expressed in a variety of acts of praise and worship, including singing, prayer, lifting hands, clapping, bowing, shouting, and playing instruments. It is also expressed by our desire to glorify the Lord in our dailiy lives.” 
~ Travis L. Boyd, long-time Music and Worship Minister, composer, and co-author of the Worship Sounds Music blog 



“Let the righteous be joyful; let them exult before God; let them be jubilant with joy!  Sing to God, sing praises to His name; lift up a song to Him who rides upon the clouds; His name is the Lord, exult before Him!”   Psalm 68:3 & 4


These definitions and quotations were compiled by C. Boyd from the sources cited.


Here’s a link to a video about what worship is and is not:  http://vimeo.com/2242310


Do you know Jesus?

The decision to ask Jesus to come into your heart and life as your Lord and Savior is the best decision you could ever make!  The one true God is ready to give you forgiveness and eternal life as soon as you understand your need for Him and believe on the name of His only Son, Jesus, for your salvation.  Here’s a blog page link to help you find the answers to your questions about Jesus.


Worship Planning and Preparation

“And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son; listen to Him!'” Luke 9:35

It is such an awesome responsibility to plan a congregational service of worship so that the people of God can express their praise and thanksgiving to Him through various elements of worship.

I believe that every congregational worship service should be planned carefully and prayerfully to include the following:

1.  Worship through prayer, (a musical or verbal prayer) inviting the presence of the Lord to inhabit the praises of His people
2.  Worship through musical praise, choosing songs that glorify, exalt, bless, and praise the Lord
3.  Worship through musical testimony (and/or verbal testimony), choosing a message of hopefulness that magnifies the Lord through a song or verbal testimony of His faithfulness and His work in the lives of His people.
4.  Worship through musical exhortation, choosing a song that exhorts and encourages God’s people in their walk with the Lord and their service to Him
5.  Worship through the giving of tithes and offerings
6.  Worship through a time of prayer and meditation
7.  Worship through the reading or speaking of scriptures (congregationally, or as part of the worship transitions by the worship leader, or by the Pastor in sharing his sermon text)
8.  Worship through the proclamation of the word (preaching)
9.  Worship through the invitation to respond to the leading of the Spirit of God (for salvation, re-dedication, a calling to vocational ministry, or other commitment)
10.  A worship benediction, a sending out of God’s people with a word of exhortation, usually from the Pastor (verbally), but this could also be in a congregational song that emphasizes a key point of the message or is a reminder to continue the focus on glorifying the Lord in every part of life as we go back into the world

Finally, it is important for the worship leader or worship pastor to teach God’s people about what worship really is (in brief statements of exhortation).   Worship is not preparing for anything.  Worship is worship.  The entire congregational service (including the preaching of the word) is worship.   The whole “worship service” is (or should be) devoted to bringing God glory in everything that is said, done, and sung.  That is worship.  We like John Piper’s definition of worship as “intentionally expressing the infinite worth of God’s glory.”
(see link below for the devotion in which this definition appears)**

NOTE:  For more information on living out the intentional expression of His infinite worth in all of life, see our page entitled “Lifestyle Worship.”  Here is the link for that page:

The concept of bringing God glory through worshipping Him in all that we do can be found in the following scripture verses:

*   I Corinthians 10:31  “…whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
*   Colossians 3:17   “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
*   Colossians 3:23   “Whatever your task, work heartily, as serving the Lord and not men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance of your reward; you are serving the Lord Jesus Christ.”
*   Romans 12:1   “I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”
*   Romans 12:11   “Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord.”


1.  Asking for God’s guidance and inspiration in all of your planning and preparation, wait on the Lord through meditation on His word for His guidance.

2.  Work with your Pastor and Ministerial Staff in order to support their ministry needs through worship planning by choosing music or Scripture that support the message or any special emphasis when asked to do so or led to do so in prayer.

3.  Consider the capabilities and amount of preparation time you will have and have had for any worship groups who will be sharing a song, skit, or other type of worship message.  In this area, it is vital to communicate with your worship leadership personnel about when they will be there for rehearsal as well as which Sundays they will be out of town.  If you really need certain personnel there in order to introduce a certain song or present a drama, make sure there is a commitment to the time frame that you have in mind.

4.  Consider the technical capabilities of your equipment, the expertise of your tech crew, and the amount of time needed to pull together any technical or media-related aspects of the worship service you are planning.  Not having the ideal set-up can be discouraging, but it is vital to work with what you have and seek to prepare with excellence and reverence.

5.  Work effectively with your worship ministry teams and groups in preparation for leading in worship.  How much time do you need for adequate preparation?  Remember to continually emphasize preparation through prayer.  Your ministry team should feel comfortable enough with their preparation for worship to have a freedom in personal worship and challenged enough to depend upon the Lord for the outcome.

6.  Keeping in mind the make-up of your congregation, strive to be wise in choosing music that is singable, appropriate, worshipful, and within the capabilities of your worship leadership and congregation.  Worship music should not be a challenging vocal exercise or frustratingly difficult to learn.  Make sure that the vocal range is appropriate for congregational singing…not too low nor too high.  If placing a song in the correct vocal range for your congregation will put it into a key that is difficult for your instrumentalists, make sure that you give players plenty of time to master the chords before introducing the song to your congregation.   Flexibility from your accompanists, worship band, and orchestra is a great blessing, but be realistic about where your players are.  Try not to put them ‘on the spot’ with too little rehearsal time for something that is challenging.  Keep tricky rhythms to a minimum in congregational singing.  Even if the melody is one that you love, make sure that the lyrics say something that should be meaningful to every Christian.  The meaning of the lyrics should never be vague and should be expressed clearly.  Remember to use a variety of styles of music as the Lord leads so that there is something familiar and especially meaningful for various age groups and for people who are most comfortable with certain musical styles within your congregation.  However, lead your worship teams and congregation to focus on worshipping God rather than focusing on preferences to the extent that worship is hampered by wrongful attitudes.  [See our pages on  ‘Lifestyle Worship’  and on  ‘Extending God’s Grace’   (specifically the “put aside preferences’ section of this page) for more perspective on this challenging aspect of worship planning.]

7.  If you have been asked to move toward a more contemporary worship style, feel led to do so, or have been leading a contemporary service for some time, think about the practical aspects of learning new worship songs for your congregation.  The people of your church will feel more comfortable participating in singing rather than simply watching the worship team if you will be certain to introduce no more than one new song per service.  Keep the arrangement simple when introducing a new song, chorus, or contemporary hymn arrangement so that the melody can be clearly heard.  You can add more to the arrangement after the congregation has learned the song.  A full new set of songs each week may be musically impressive and even be very meaningful spiritually.  However, it can become a weekly performance rather than corporate worship, and the congregation cannot keep up without the benefit of the rehearsal time that your musical groups have invested.  Be aware of where your congregation is in terms of musical taste and preferences and the ability to learn new music quickly.  Use wisdom in determining how quickly to make changes so that your people can move in this direction along with you.  Keep in mind that many contemporary worship leaders are also singing hymns in addition to their worship songs and choruses.  Read through the lyrics to some hymns in your own private worship time each week.  Remember that the Senior Adults in our churches are part of the gospel’s journey.  They represent decades of faithfulness that allowed the message of God’s grace to reach you!  They were the Sunday School teachers and servants in the church that have kept the flame burning.  Ask the Lord to open your own mind to what He wants to say through the messages of every song that is shared.  Your mix may be different each week, and that’s okay.  If you model a respect for what has come before and a worshipful blend of old and new, perhaps the worship leaders of tomorrow will remember your generation and be open to the validity of your worship music, teaching their congregations to embrace the heritage of faith.  All generations in this media saturated culture are exposed to a wide variety of musical styles and expressions.  A contemporary movie score may include some country or bluegrass, some classical, some jazz, songs by Sinatra and Celine Dion, as well as by Alicia Keys, Adele, or Daughtry, some classic rock, and even big band sounds.  Even the merchandizing music mix that serves as background music in nearly every store is increasingly eclectic.  While it is clearly important to be musically relevant as well as spiritually relevant in order to reach out effectively to young adults who are statistically most likely to make a decision for Christ, remember that “worship is not a church growth tool” (a very true statement from our dear friend, Dr. Jon Duncan).  Worship is the intentional expression of the infinite worth of our God.**  Nothing less, and nothing more.

8.  Be sure to match your arrangements of songs to the lyric content and the building or waning of intensity in a song.  Keith and Kristyn Getty’s song, “The Power of the Cross,” is a perfect example of a song that requires some musical moments of simplicity, quietness, and sensitivity, leading into the building of intensity and adding of voices and instruments that supports the victorious declarations about the power of the cross.  Everyone does not have to play or sing all the time.  There are times when a soloist or praise team only can be very effective in communicating a message through music in such a way that it brings additional focus to worshipping the Lord.  A transition from a more acoustic sound to an amplified sound is sometimes called for as well.  The addition of choir and orchestra can add an incredible power and emphasis to a message.
Important:  do be very aware that anytime your worship plan involves complicating your arrangements by either doing only portions of certain songs or by changing the instrumentation as a song progresses (in order to maximize the effectiveness of the interpretation of lyrics), everyone must be on the same page about what is happening.  A simple song list will not be enough.  The “expanded update” (as Travis has called it) for worship team members (praise team, rhythm section, orchestra, choir, and Ministerial staff) also lists
(A) measure numbers for any song that will begin at a place other than the beginning, with information about who is in (singing & playing) at that point
(B) information about how you will lead a particular song [Example:  verses 1 & 2 before chorus, skip verse 3, use 2nd ending after chorus, modulating in measure 40.  sing verse 4, then chorus at letter D, repeat chorus with tag ending].  Team members have the opportunity to arrange their music on stands accordingly, mark changes, etc., when this information is provided in written form.
(C) any transition information that team members will need to know.  If a the keyboard player or guitar player only does the intro to a certain worship song, when does everyone else drop out, and when do they re-enter?  Will the worship leader be sharing a scripture verse between verses 1 and 2 of a song, requiring a few measures of vamping?  Does the worship leader intend to begin the first verse of a new worship song as a solo done by himself or a praise team member, or is it to be sung by everyone on the platform?  For your orchestra, do you want woodwinds only in a certain section that leads into the next song, or do you want the orchestra to lay out until verse 2?
(D) any arrangement notes about which players or singers should be in or out during certain sections of each song.  Notes such as:  ‘Orchestra enters on verse 2’, or ‘Piano only until the chorus’, or ‘Guitar only on this intro’, or ‘Only praise team sings the bridge section’ will tell all of the musicians exactly what they are supposed to do.
Then, at the end of the service, if you are doing a reprise, using only a portion of a worship song, hymn, or choir special as a worship postlude or benediction, what’s the measure number for the spot where you’ll begin?  Do you take each repeat or play section(s) only once?  Is there any change to the ending for the reprise?
Giving your worship leadership team members as much information as possible will help them to be more effective in their ministry.

9.  Pray for the people, pray for the ministry teams, pray for your ministerial leadership, pray that God will remove barriers to fellowship with one another and with Him, pray that His spirit will be present in power and that there will be openness among the people of God to His Spirit.  Lead your ministry teams to pray over every aspect of the worship service.  Pray for your Pastor as he brings the message, and for any other Ministers or lay leaders who have a crucial role in the worship service.  Pray for anyone who has a part in greeting and interacting with others.  Pray that the focus will be on the worship of our merciful and loving God.  “Sirs, we would see Jesus!”

10.  Finally, don’t forget how important the flow of the service is to the overall atmosphere of worship.  Transitions are vital.  Make sure that there is musical flow in terms of key signatures and any tempo or meter changes.  The message of the lyrics of one song should flow into to the message of the next in a way that makes sense.  It should be like a continuation of thought and an expansion of thought to include some new content in our worship mindset.  In addition, if you can work with others in your ministerial leadership to avoid interruptions in the flow of congregational praise, that will be so beneficial.  Announcements and such should really come at the very beginning or very end of a service if they must be made verbally.  Having your announcements on slides or in a bulletin, by e-mail, on your church facebook page and/or website, or even having a downloadable cell phone app for your church’s announcements will prevent the distraction that occurs when the focus changes from the eternal (worship) to the daily (who, what, where, when) and back again.  Hopefully, your ministerial team will be sensitive enough not to follow a truly holy moment of reverence with a joke.  While it is true that humor can unite us in sharing a moment of lightness or levity, sensitivity to a moment of reverence is always welcome.  Perhaps a prayer would be a great way to acknowledge our awesome God and the intimacy of His presence during the worship time before moving on with whatever message opener is desired by the speaker.  Hopefully, it will be possible for your ministerial staff to partner together in prayer for every element of worship, and in an attitude of awareness about what contributes to a meaningful worship time during which God’s people meet together with Him in praise and

What process do you use


Feel free to comment on the methods and opinions that are expressed here.  If you have additional thoughts about the subject of worship or about worship planning and preparation, please add them as a comment.


** John Piper’s definition of worship has been paraphrased.  His original wording can be found in the devotion titled  ”Bodies, Breakfast, and the Marriage Bed”  and subtitled  “A Meditation on Daily Worship”.
Post written by C. Boyd, based upon decades of learning and growth in the area of worship ministry through the study of scripture and many books on the subject of worship, years of deep conversation with Travis and many other worship leaders and mentors, and observation of effective worship leadership by people who love the Lord and seek to praise Him.
Do you know Jesus?
The decision to ask Jesus to come into your heart and life as your Lord and Savior is the best decision you could ever make!  The one true God is ready to give you forgiveness and eternal life as soon as you understand your need for Him and believe on the name of His only Son, Jesus, for your salvation.  Here’s a blog page link to help you find the answers to your questions about Jesus.  http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

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