Worship As Evangelism

I came across an article on Allelon’s website written by Sally Morgenthaler who in 1995 wrote Worship Evangelism: Inviting Unbelievers into the Presence of God. I read her book while still a pastor in a conventional church setting, and encouraged many to read it, because her insights connecting worship to evangelism were extremely insightful.

As I remember, the focus of the book was making conventional church worship more evangelistic; that worship and evangelism go together rather than being separate elements. The result would be another means for presenting the gospel to the un-churched, without compromising the nature and purpose of worship informed by Scripture.

The article titled Worship As Evangelism was originally published in the May/June 2007 issue of Rev! Magazine. What was so striking concerning the article was her transition away from much of what she proposed in her book due to the fact it might have contributed or at least aided in the creation of “worship driven subculture,” with the excuse not to do the hard (dirty) work of evangelism. There was idea among some that one could remain inside the walls of a worship center participating in contemporary worship and simultaneously fulfill their evangelistic responsibilities. Worship now becomes the attractional tool for evangelism to occur. Her study revealed that “worship evangelism” type of Sunday worship experience had not attracted to any significant degree the unchurched to enter the church. The article chronicles some of her research regarding the impact of the Worship Evangelism emphasis of the 1990s on the American Church Sunday morning worship service.

The end result might have been a reaffirmation to the conventional church that worship is about where you go and who you worship with rather than what you do and who are 24/7.

Here are a couple of paragraphs in the article I find both refreshing and encouraging.

Conference organizers were confused. They wondered what had happened to me. Where was the worship evangelism warrior? Where was the formula? Where was the pep talk for all those people who were convinced that trading in their traditional service for a contemporary upgrade would be the answer? I don’t have to tell you this. The 100-year-old congregation that’s down to 43 members and having a hard time paying the light bill doesn’t want to be told that the “answer” is living life with the people in their neighborhoods. Relationships take time, and they need an attendance infusion now.

I understood their dilemma, and secretly, I wished I had a magic bullet. But I didn’t. And I wasn’t going to give them false hope. Some newfangled worship service wasn’t going to save their church, and it wasn’t going to build God’s kingdom. It wasn’t going to attract the strange neighbors who had moved into their communities or the generations they had managed\ to ignore for the last 39 years.

What I believe Sally is saying; that true Worship Evangelism is relational engagement with friends and neighbors that involves more time than a once a week hour to hour and a half worship service. It is a commitment of time spent with those individuals we want to see enter into a transformation encounter with the One who is the Savior of the world.

Her closing paragraph in article is worth hearing and pondering:

I am currently headed further outside my comfort zones than I ever thought I could go. I am taking time for the preacher to heal herself. As I exit the world of corporate worship, I want to offer this hope and prayer. May you, as leader of your congregation, have the courage to leave the “if we build it, they will come” world of the last two decades behind. May you and the Christ-followers you serve become worshippers who can raise the bar of authenticity, as well as your hands. And may you be reminiscent of Isaiah, who, having glimpsed the hem of God’s garment and felt the cleansing fire of grace on his lips,cried, “Here am I, send me.

I commend the article to you.

2 Responses

  1. there are alot of religious blogs, i think alot of people feel strongly about their religion. i like yours though, its interesting 🙂

  2. Thanks for the comment, I hope I keep it interesting.

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