Preconditions And Stages Of Worship Renewal

Source: The Complete Library of Christian Worship, Robert E. Webber, General Editor

Although true worship renewal ultimately derives from divine initiative, there are a number of preparations a church can make to ready itself for God's action. These six entries share the preconditions, the principles, the psychology, and the challenges of worship renewal. Because worship arises out of the gospel, congregations seeking the renewal of worship pay new attention to the gospel. This section speaks to several central issues addressed by churches involved in worship renewal: the...

The Restoration Of Christus Victor

The event which worship celebrates is the triumph of Jesus Christ over the powers of evil. This dethronement of evil lies at the heart of the gospel. Worship enacts and reenacts the great saving deeds of God in Jesus Christ; it brings the benefit of the victory of Christ over evil to the worshiping community and makes salvation and healing available to those who receive Jesus Christ by faith.

The Church As Community

In the exodus event, God created a people and brought them into a covenant relationship. The covenant specified that Israelite worshipers display loyalty and faithfulness both to Yahweh, the King of the covenant, and to their fellow Israelites covenanted to that same King. In a corresponding way, God has created a people through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ; these people are bound together with him and with one another in a new covenant community.

Unity Through Worship

The community of faith is a place of worship. In worship, unity and healing recur as the church remembers that the community was born of a divine act of deliverance. As the church experiences community, it is renewed by that same gracious act.

Community Through Small Groups

The pervasive individualism of Western culture has broken down the sense of identity experienced through community. Nevertheless, the church in the post-World War II era has seen a resurgent interest in and recovery of community. Two promising models of community from which a strong worship is arising are the "basic communities" of South America and the small group movement.

Recovering The Gifts Of The Laity

The significance of the release of spiritual gifts for worship has been rediscovered in the contemporary church. It is part of the recovery of the theology of the laity, the "people of God. " Within the worshiping community, each member may contribute to the corporate life and celebration through the expression of his or her particular gift.

Stages Of Worship Renewal

Worship renewal, like most growth in the natural or spiritual realms, takes place in stages, beginning with the awareness of the need for renewal. It culminates in a climate that encourages continued openness to the Spirit's transformation of church worship.