On May 27, 2009, the world’s largest worship venue opened in Arlington, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. It has the ability to hold 110,000 people, 30,000 parking spaces, a state-of-the-art sound system, and a high-definition screen that measures 160 x 72 feet. It is the perfect location to gather, sing, shout, cry, clap, and celebrate.
Jerry Jones built the AT&T Stadium for $1.33 billion, primarily for his Dallas Cowboys. All year long people flood into that stadium to cheer on their favorite band, monster trucks or other teams that play there. People show up to support someone or to celebrate something, much like we do at church. Worship is celebrating our faith by expressing love to our Father.
Pastors need to lead out by making worship their top personal and ministry priority for three important reasons.
1. Worship Is God’s Top Priority
We don’t get a vote about the priorities for our church because it is not our church; not our bride; not our army, etc. Moses and Jesus reminded us that all of our top priority is to,
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength (Mark 12:29; Matthew 22:37; Luke 10:27).
There is nothing unclear about what should be “first” (protos) and “greatest” (megas).
2. Worship Is a Pastor’s Top Priority
Ten years ago in a remote cabin in Jasper, Arkansas, the Lord seared the Great Commandment into my heart. I came to the conclusion that since worship is God’s highest priority, it should be mine as well. The fact is, my schedule did not reflect that priority so I made some tough, immediate changes. What does your schedule say about worship?
I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me (John 15:5).
Worship Is Our Church’s Top Priority
Almost two years ago, the church I was pastoring built a new worship center. The most common question I was asked during the construction was “how many seats does it have?” If someone asked Solomon that question about the temple or tabernacle, the answer would be “zero.” People didn’t come to church to sit and watch a show, but to offer their love through singing, giving, learning, etc.
Biblical worship should not revolve around the needs of the worshiper; rather the object of their worship. God loves to be loved, which is why the Great Commandment is all about loving Him.
Make sure your church is not robbing God of the love He both deserves and demands by marginalizing worship in your staff planning, calendaring, and budgeting. Church staff meetings I led began with worship planning because that was the first priority of our vision.
Worship drives the other ministries of the church like discipleship, ministry, and missions. Nothing will get your people in the Word or on the mission field better than worship. Pastors are worship leaders and thus need to constantly be sharpening their spiritual saws. I suggest you listen to this recent podcast by Dr. Rainer: Seven Worship Trends to Watch.
Worship is expressing love to our Father. If pastors don’t make worship their top priority each day and each Sunday, they are robbing God of the love He both deserves and demands.