< Foreword

Worship, at its core, is meant to honor, unify, and connect. It’s a spiritual dynamic and reality that’s designed to lead toward wholeness and strength. The great dilemma of course is that it quite often seems to produce varying degrees of tension, disunity, and distance instead.

You know what I mean, don’t you? You’ve felt it personally when something about worship changed and you were left feeling disconnected, maybe even disenfranchised—on the outside now of something so foundational to your faith. You’ve probably also felt it if you have served in any way as a worship pastor, leader, or member of a worship team. Maybe it was your set of changes that caused the tension. Prayerfully intending to help your people grow closer to God, all you got back was a bunch of angry emails and a meeting or two with the board.

So, we tweak and we change. We adjust and we refine, hoping that at some point we will find just the right formula; the very best worship pattern for God’s people. Or at least the one we’ll spend our time thinking about and advocating for. And at the end of the day, after all of our hard work—all of our prayer and deep concern for what might honor God and serve His people best—we find ourselves back at square one again. More emails. More meetings. More moments of frustration over what we’ve lost personally. All because we are looking in the wrong place. Because we’ve got one eye on the view-piece of a microscope, instead of two eyes wide-open from the edge of a scenic overlook at 4,000 feet.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the problem is not with worship. Or should I say the patterns and structures of worship. If it was, surely the span of some two-thousand Spirit-indwelt years would have gotten us to where we need to be, don’t you think? The problem, maybe challenge is a better word, is with us. Worship has always been, and remains squarely, a heart and life issue. Not a style, preference, or culture issue. If we desire to get off the never-ending carousel of worship details, we will need to go a different direction. Not left. Not right. Not backwards or forwards. We will need to go in the direction of something bigger.

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