The True Meaning of Worship


­Worship in today’s church is probably one of the most, if not the most, misunderstood things in the church.  If we were to poll people on what comes to mind when you ­­hear the word worship, what is the first thing you think they would say?  The top things on that list, in some way or another, would most likely be related to music.  To take it a step further, most people’s mind would probably visualize scenes of people raising their hands reminiscent of the Christian worship albums back in the 90’s.  I googled the word worship and out of the first 10 images, 9 of them that come up are of hands being raised in the silhouette of a stage, a cross or some other lovely background.  Sadly, this is what worship has been reduced to in our world, but true worship is so much more than that.  It’s so much more than singing lyrics off the screen at church.  It’s so much more than the first 20 minutes of a church service or what we do at a Christian conference or retreat.  I love how Louie Giglio defines it in his book The Air I Breathe.  He says that “worship is a whole-life response to God’s greatness and glory.” 


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.  Romans 12:1


For us to get a better idea of what true worship is, there are a few things I think we all need to understand.


Created to Worship

We were created to be worshipers.  It doesn’t matter if we attend church or not.  It doesn’t matter if we call ourselves Christians or not.  We all worship something.  Worship is universal.  No matter where you go in the world you will find people worshiping.  Even in the darkest corners of the globe where people have never even heard the name of Jesus, people have created false gods or idols, to worship.  This is because deep down in our souls, we have a longing and a deep desire to worship.  So, the question is not if you are worshiping or not but rather who are what you are worshiping. 


We See Before We Sing

For us to begin worshiping something we must discover the importance and value it brings to our lives.  We have to see something.  We have to witness something.  Matt Redman says, “worship is not as much about singing as it is about seeing.”  Throughout history, people have searched high and low for different objects to worship only to be left feeling empty.  This is where the Gospel comes in.  This is where grace comes in.  When our eyes are opened to the fact that God gave His only son to die, to pay for our sin, then and only then, are we driven to true worship.  When our eyes are truly opened to the wonder of the cross something shifts inside us and the things we once thought were most important fall away and Jesus alone becomes the driving force of our lives.


Whole-Life Response 

What is a whole life response?  A whole life response is expressed in the things that we say and the things that we do.  We don’t just tell people we love them we need to show them.  It’s the same way with God.  He doesn’t just want us to sing songs to Him, He wants to see us lay down our life for Him in total surrender. 


Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips 

that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for

with such sacrifices God is pleased.  Hebrews 13:15-16


So, worship is singing praises to God but it goes much deeper.  Worship by serving.  Get involved by volunteering.  Get involved in a small group.  Serve the community and those in need around the world by serving with Avalon HOPE.  Click the link below for more information on how to get involved.




Give your whole life to Jesus because Jesus gave His whole life for you!


Jonathan Hamilton
Worship Arts Pastor