Feature: Worship is Not For God | Fall 2020 Quarterly


by Pr. Laurie Neill

By saying, “worship is not for God,” some people may think I have misspoken. After all, we have always maintained that worship is for God and we should not leave a service asking, “What did I get out of worship today?” but “Did my worship put a smile on God’s face?” And that is absolutely still true. Let me explain.

But before I explain, let us address the changing nature of FLC’s worship that was thrust upon us in the pandemic. In March, we had to close our doors. On July 5, we began in-person worship on Sunday mornings with many safety precautions in place. In those four months, we quickly became adept at online services, which proved to be a viable way for people to worship while staying safe at home. Since re-opening, some have ventured back to the building; others have opted to continue to worship online, on TV, or on the radio. No matter how you chose to worship, the most important thing is that you chose to worship.

Why does worship matter? Jeff Deyo, in his book, Awakening Pure Worship, gives us a new perspective on the reason for worship by saying, “Worship is not for God. It is about God and to God, but it is for us.” Clearly, Deyo says, worship is to be aimed at, focused toward, and passionately given to God. God is the solitary reason we worship. But it also stands to reason that, since God doesn’t really need us for anything, why does he need us to worship him? Therein lies a new perspective: we worship because it is what God created us to do. Worship is woven into our design. And when God’s creation does what God designed it to do—it is a win-win. God is glorified and we are fulfilled because we are doing what we were created to do. 

"We worship because it is what God created us to do.

Deyo imagines God saying to us, “I’m requiring you to bring me worship because you need it, not because I need it. I wired you to need to worship me.” Because if we do not worship God, we will worship something. 

Even though God does not need us, he does want us. Worshiping God is to glorify him alone, but we are the ones who benefit, because we are doing what we were created to do and, hopefully, being drawn into a relationship with our Creator. When we sing God’s praises—he is exalted, we are changed. When we hear his word—he is glorified, we are changed. When we lift our prayers to him—he is honored, we are changed. 

It can be tempting to write off worship when there are so many other “priorities” pulling at our attention. Perhaps intentions are good, but it is easy to justify skipping out on worship when the routine is interrupted. We as our faith community do not care when or how you worship, but for your sake, we care that you worship. God invites us to keep worship at the forefront of our lives. Because worship is about God and to God, but it is for us.

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