Building Disciples through the Worship Service

Coming to church on Sunday, whether in person or virtually, is important for Lutheran Christians. Participating in the liturgy allows believers to come together to receive forgiveness, offer prayers and thanksgiving, and engage in God's Word and Sacraments. Read an excerpt from Walking Together: Simple Steps for Discipleship below to understand why worship and its routine is important, unique and sacred.

Worship is a routine that builds disciples as they navigate the world. Worship should have daily, weekly, and stretched-out components. It can be both gathered in the Body of Christ and scattered in the individual communities that make up a local church. There should be aspects that are deeply personal, hard to share with others. Yet it should also be incredibly communal, built around a group of people who are trusting, seeking, and following Jesus together. Worshiping happens across all of these avenues, and it is important for the disciple to engage in all of them.

The Worship Service 

A close friend and elder at our church often reminded me on Sunday mornings of a simple fact: it’s not called a worship service because we are here to serve God; He has called us together to serve us. How incredible is that one statement? In the long line of idols from the ancients until now, the local gods always demand sacrifice and adoration, as if they gain some sort of power by making people bow to them. The Creator of the universe, the true God, acts differently. He is filled with the awe, power, and authority that is always met with the phrase “Do not be afraid” when His followers meet Him. Yet, in His divine service to us, He steps down and meets us as we gather.

Christians do not hold worship services to somehow fill God’s battery that has been waning because it’s been a week since people sang His praises. No; instead, He meets us in the service. He steps down and is among His people. Another promise of Jesus:

For where two or three are gathered in My name, there am I among them. (Matthew 18:20)

God comes to serve His gathered people.

Coming together as God’s people is important. In our culture, this is often on Sunday mornings, but sometimes it happens on an evening during the week. No matter when it happens, it is the people of God gathering together to receive His promises.

Some people would say they do not need the gathering, that they can experience God on their own. While this does hold some truth—God may be experienced anywhere in His creation when connected to Scripture—it is not the way worship was designed to function. Since the beginning of the Christian Church, there has been gathering:

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. (Acts 2:42)

It started in homes; when these gatherings outgrew homes and the government allowed them, Christians built houses of worship. Some of these great edifices can still be found dotting the landscapes of the Mediterranean today.

Community Built on Worship

Gathering together as the Body of Christ in the name of Jesus has always been important. Community built around worship is the spiritual colliding with the physical. Songs are sung, prayers are prayed, sermons are preached, the Word is read, Sacraments are received. Alongside this beautiful mystery, coffee is shared, stories are told, friends catch up. Once a week, the Body of Christ is called together to be called back to their identity as children of the Kingdom while at the same time preparing to live in the world around them. This community is not perfect, but it is part of the life of discipleship. Christians coming together in worship is a strange, blessed, and wonderful thing.

Post taken from Walking Together: Simple Steps for Discipleship copyright © 2021 Ted Doering, pp. 51–52. Published by Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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Written by

Ted Doering

Rev. Ted Doering is the pastor at Narrative Church, an LCMS church plant in Williamson County, Texas, just north of Austin. He is blessed to be married to Chelsey, who works as a digital content specialist at their alma mater, Concordia University Texas. Ted enjoys spending his free time with friends over a good meal, sampling the many local forms of breakfast tacos and BBQ, hiking in the Texas Hill Country, catching a movie, and cheering for all forms of professional Houston sports teams.

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