Last updated on July 16, 2012
Several VIEWPOINT Bible studies concern worship -- how, where, and when we created beings should worship God and Christ. In Viewpoint Study #51 it’s pointed out that our meetings (we call them “worship services,” yet few there serve and not many in fact worship) have both horizontal and vertical applications. We intend in “worship services” to get close to God and to witness to and teach and learn from fellow pilgrims. In church gatherings we pray to God. That’s vertical. If our prayer is public, in words that others can hear and understand, is it not also horizontal? Apostolic advice is that everything we do in our assemblies should be for edification of those present. Read 1 Corinthians 14:26.

We share in a Meal of Remembrance (the communion, or Lord’s Supper). If in fact we DO remember the Lord’s death, that’s vertical. It’s also horizontal in that we do it in sight of others who commonly join with us in the observance, and others are apt to notice that we have invested our time in remembering and honoring Jesus. We’re apt to sing together. The songs praise God and thank God and petition God. That’s vertical. At least as important to most of us is when we sing to one another (sharing testimony to our faith, and urging faithful living for Christ). That’s horizontal.

The entire concept of Christians “going to worship” as if we were not daily LIVING to worship is a misunderstanding of true Christian worship! Most Christian worship does not take place in formal, expensively-built and carefully decorated “worship centers.” Christians who serve God as His stewards are “at worship” (just as we’re communicating with God) all the time (without ceasing says Paul), wherever we are.

The New Testament speaks of disciples of Christ faithfully assembling together, but says nothing about ever having a church house and meeting there. Nor are we taught to build temples or shrines in which to worship. Christians ourselves ARE “the house of God.” Our bodies are the needed temples for Christian worship. We do not just sometimes GO to “the house of God.” God lives in US, not in particular buildings here on earth. God lives within us Christians, so we’re not asked to go to a particular building or location in order to worship. We assemble for mutual edification rather than to watch a “worship service” unfold before us.

Most Christian worship is not done while watching some other person(s) “perform” or by listening to some other Christian(s) entertain. (Audiences applaud to indicate their pleasure when they’ve been entertained well. Are worshippers just an audience?)The apostle Paul writes to encourage Christians when we assemble to “do everything for EDIFICATION.” No apostolic exhortation is given to urge us to ever “go to church to worship.” Are we obeying apostolic teaching when we plan and present worship services?

We aim for Unity in Christ