Too often in the church we can get tunnel vision on the issue of worship. We focus so much time, energy, and resources on our weekly worship services that it is easy to see that as the extent of worship. With that mentality also comes the divisive issue of worship style and all the arguments and bitterness attached to that. This can lead to an improper focus on worship as merely something that we do for God, which is really just a glorification of self. Instead, we must see worship as what God does for us, eliciting our response to His grace. Rather than focusing on the worship service, I think it would be wise for the leaders of the church to look at the broader concept of worship itself. When we take off the blinders and look at more than just Sunday mornings, I believe that the arguments that surround the worship service itself will also be solved. Once we return to the very Biblical and very Lutheran idea of worship as an everyday lifestyle, we see that everything we do (except sin) can be done as worship to God, in response to the grace He has given us. If everything can be worship to God, the issue of worship style becomes irrelevant and we can focus on receiving God’s gifts given to us in Christ Jesus and then responding with the our praise, no matter what form that comes in. If the people around us saw us worshipping with the entirety of our lives, I believe that Christianity would have a much different reputation in the world today. I pray that this Bible study can be used to dive into the concept of the worship lifestyle. It is a concept that changes lives because it draws our focus constantly to the God who changes lives. So take the leap, and let worship change your life.
Download the PDF of Living Worship.
The 4 lessons in this Bible Study follow a similar format. They consist of an opening discussion, video, or activity; a main lesson using Scripture as well as quotes from theologians and other sources to help enhance discussion and learning; and finally there is a closing activity or challenge and a prayer. The discussions can be done in small groups and then shared with the large group or as a whole group. The point is for the youth to make some of the connections on their own and not have it spoon-fed to them. Please don’t just lecture to them or give them the answers, as that will greatly hinder their personal learning. The teaching style is generally discussion based, with some Socratic elements as well where a concept or quote is introduced and then the group proceeds to evaluate and apply it.
There are not separate leader/group handouts, although giving the youth either a journal or at least some paper to write on is recommended, as they will be writing down some goals at the end of each lesson. The purpose of the goals is not to be legalistic. In our own power or by our own efforts, we cannot come to Christ. It is only through the Holy Spirit given to us through the means of grace that our faith can be strengthened. Within that framework, the purpose of the goals is to challenge the youth (as well as yourself) to actually take steps toward living a life of worship instead of just talking about what a nice concept this is.
I would not recommend making a PowerPoint that would reveal all of the parts of the outline, as they may detract from discussion if the youth think there’s just one answer that you’re looking for. However, I think a visual aid for the Bible passages, quotes, and some of the key points would prove useful in keeping everyone’s attention. Some video clips are used in the study and are generally gathered from YouTube. While the outline does provide many examples, please make this study your own and use stories from your own life, introduce resources that you have, or use other things that can help the message connect with the youth apart from the study. The goal is that we start seeing worship as a lifestyle and something that is done all the time as part of a continual walk with God, in response to and in the power of the grace of God given to us in Christ. That is a huge step in faith maturity and I pray that this study can be a tool toward that goal.
Lesson 1: Made to Worship
Lesson 2: “Ordinary” Worship
Lesson 3: Fuel for Worship
Lesson 4: Worship in the Storm