Worship Ministry: A purpose statement

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Are you a worship leader, church member or pastor who might wonder why your church worship ministry exists?  I thought that sharing the statement I operate my worship ministry in might help others and that your feedback might help me, so I am going to put this out there.

The purpose of the worship ministry is to serve the congregation of Neighborhood Church by providing environments for regular public worship expressions that are biblical, meaningful and transcendent.

  1. Serve the congregation:  Worship ministry is about serving the needs of the congregation first, not the needs of the staff, worship team members or any other individual.  This is measured by the following question:  What does my church need to help them worship?

  2. Providing environments for public worship expressions:  The worship team or ministry provides a place, time and context for our regular local church gathering for the explicit reason of expressing worship.  This is measured by asking the question: Have we given the congregation an opportunity to speak to God and hear from God in a grand way each week?
  3. Biblical:  The values the filter our worship expression must be guided by whether the content of our worship has biblical foundation.  For instance, singing, teaching, praying, giving and more can be found in scripture as expressions of worship.  This is measured by asking: Is what we are doing, saying, singing or experiencing in worship within what the scripture teaches?

  4. Meaningful:  Another way to frame what we desire to see in our worship expression is to be relevant or meaningful.  Even though this is a moving target, we must be able to engage people at some level where they are at in order to lead them.  This is measured by this question:  How does what we are expressing in worship make sense, relate to real life and reflect the spiritual temperature of the congregation?

  5. Transcendent:  Our expression of worship must have some mystery and wonder.  God is transcendent, so the hope is that some of this trait of God would manifest itself among us.  For example, I have heard people share that they were healed in some way during our time of worship or that they had a significant encounter with God that was more than a musical, emotional moment.  Here is a question to evaluate this point:  How have we seen God manifest his healing grace in our people in our worship expressions?

I would like to share more, but I hope that some of you out there would dialog a bit with me on these introductory points.  Worship is inexhaustive as a subject matter since worship itself is an eternal activity and our very purpose for being.  However, the hope here is to bring some clarity to what we can and cannot expect of a church worship team.  Can leading worship really be that simple?

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Rich Kirkpatrick

Rich Kirkpatrick

Writer, Speaker, and Musician. Rich Kirkpatrick was recently rated #13 of the “Top 75 Religion Bloggers” by Newsmax.com, having also received recognition by Worship Leader Magazine as “Editor’s Choice” for the “Best of the Best” of blogs in 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

21 comments

  1. Just wondering if you have read Willard’s ‘Spirit of the Disciplines’ and if so, what you thought about his claim for the central purpose of mankind?
    He refutes the idea that ‘man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever’ with the creation account in Genesis. According to Willard our purpose was and is to bear God’s image to the created order, to act as God’s agent over it, and to bear responsibility for it.

    I have spent some time thinking about this, but have only ever asked one person about it…

    …interested in your thoughts!

  2. Just wondering if you have read Willard’s ‘Spirit of the Disciplines’ and if so, what you thought about his claim for the central purpose of mankind?
    He refutes the idea that ‘man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever’ with the creation account in Genesis. According to Willard our purpose was and is to bear God’s image to the created order, to act as God’s agent over it, and to bear responsibility for it.

    I have spent some time thinking about this, but have only ever asked one person about it…

    …interested in your thoughts!

  3. Just wondering if you have read Willard’s ‘Spirit of the Disciplines’ and if so, what you thought about his claim for the central purpose of mankind?
    He refutes the idea that ‘man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever’ with the creation account in Genesis. According to Willard our purpose was and is to bear God’s image to the created order, to act as God’s agent over it, and to bear responsibility for it.

    I have spent some time thinking about this, but have only ever asked one person about it…

    …interested in your thoughts!

  4. Just wondering if you have read Willard’s ‘Spirit of the Disciplines’ and if so, what you thought about his claim for the central purpose of mankind?
    He refutes the idea that ‘man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever’ with the creation account in Genesis. According to Willard our purpose was and is to bear God’s image to the created order, to act as God’s agent over it, and to bear responsibility for it.

    I have spent some time thinking about this, but have only ever asked one person about it…

    …interested in your thoughts!

  5. I really see no conflict between Willard’s perspective and the Westminster’s statement. How you glorify God, indeed, is being his agent and bearing his image. However, this earth will pass, a new one will be created, so it is logical to assume that there is more to our purpose. I think the psalmist says “from the mouths of babes he has ordained praise” and many more scriptures give us the idea that our greatest purpose is to worship God. The Great Commandment, for instance.
    Anyway, this is a great idea to discuss and I will think about it a bit more. THANKS for bringing Willard into this conversation!

  6. I really see no conflict between Willard’s perspective and the Westminster’s statement. How you glorify God, indeed, is being his agent and bearing his image. However, this earth will pass, a new one will be created, so it is logical to assume that there is more to our purpose. I think the psalmist says “from the mouths of babes he has ordained praise” and many more scriptures give us the idea that our greatest purpose is to worship God. The Great Commandment, for instance.
    Anyway, this is a great idea to discuss and I will think about it a bit more. THANKS for bringing Willard into this conversation!

  7. I really see no conflict between Willard’s perspective and the Westminster’s statement. How you glorify God, indeed, is being his agent and bearing his image. However, this earth will pass, a new one will be created, so it is logical to assume that there is more to our purpose. I think the psalmist says “from the mouths of babes he has ordained praise” and many more scriptures give us the idea that our greatest purpose is to worship God. The Great Commandment, for instance.
    Anyway, this is a great idea to discuss and I will think about it a bit more. THANKS for bringing Willard into this conversation!

  8. I really see no conflict between Willard’s perspective and the Westminster’s statement. How you glorify God, indeed, is being his agent and bearing his image. However, this earth will pass, a new one will be created, so it is logical to assume that there is more to our purpose. I think the psalmist says “from the mouths of babes he has ordained praise” and many more scriptures give us the idea that our greatest purpose is to worship God. The Great Commandment, for instance.
    Anyway, this is a great idea to discuss and I will think about it a bit more. THANKS for bringing Willard into this conversation!

  9. Willard himself points out that there ultimately should be no conflict between the two, however, this would require a much more holistic view of worship. I did not introduce the idea to dispute our purpose in worship, but rather, because I find the idea intriguing and catalytic towards a fuller understanding of worship. And I would love to hear your thoughts on Willard’s ideas as you are a worship leader…

  10. Willard himself points out that there ultimately should be no conflict between the two, however, this would require a much more holistic view of worship. I did not introduce the idea to dispute our purpose in worship, but rather, because I find the idea intriguing and catalytic towards a fuller understanding of worship. And I would love to hear your thoughts on Willard’s ideas as you are a worship leader…

  11. Willard himself points out that there ultimately should be no conflict between the two, however, this would require a much more holistic view of worship. I did not introduce the idea to dispute our purpose in worship, but rather, because I find the idea intriguing and catalytic towards a fuller understanding of worship. And I would love to hear your thoughts on Willard’s ideas as you are a worship leader…

  12. Willard himself points out that there ultimately should be no conflict between the two, however, this would require a much more holistic view of worship. I did not introduce the idea to dispute our purpose in worship, but rather, because I find the idea intriguing and catalytic towards a fuller understanding of worship. And I would love to hear your thoughts on Willard’s ideas as you are a worship leader…

  13. Great post! I think there are alot of churches and worship teams that treat worship as just another item on the “to-do” list on Sundays and Wednesdays. Our purpose must be clear, and our passion for God, catching. Thanks for the encouragement, by writing truth!

  14. Great post! I think there are alot of churches and worship teams that treat worship as just another item on the “to-do” list on Sundays and Wednesdays. Our purpose must be clear, and our passion for God, catching. Thanks for the encouragement, by writing truth!

  15. Great post! I think there are alot of churches and worship teams that treat worship as just another item on the “to-do” list on Sundays and Wednesdays. Our purpose must be clear, and our passion for God, catching. Thanks for the encouragement, by writing truth!

  16. Great post! I think there are alot of churches and worship teams that treat worship as just another item on the “to-do” list on Sundays and Wednesdays. Our purpose must be clear, and our passion for God, catching. Thanks for the encouragement, by writing truth!

  17. Rich, Besides your typical radness that is your facial hair and hats, this article is so helpful to me. I have struggled for years with the typical "worship" purpose statement and how my thoughts on a worship "team" or group don’t always fit with the typical mold. I have come to see that it’s more of a road block and can lead us into the arms of the consumerist trap of our culture. Not sure that makes sense. ha. We are there to serve the church. Not ourselves on Sundays. I worry about the perfect image of our worship leader/worship band/team culture by the statements we make in our purpose statements. Your words help. Thanks!

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