Essentials of Worship, by Dr. Gary Parrett
Preliminary Concerns. Misconceptions and Definitions
Dr. Parrett discusses the ministry of worship in the local church context, looking at critical issues about the biblical understanding of worship, and also its practice in the contemporary Christian context. In this lesson he takes on two common misconceptions about worship, and then looks at key biblical terms that describe worship. Dr. Parrett also offers an initial definition for worship.
Principle 1. Revelation and Response
With the misconceptions and basic terms as background, Dr. Parrett turns to a number of key biblical principles concerning the practice of worship. The first principle is that all worship involves these two things in a dynamic relationship, revelation and response.
Principles 2 - 4. Individual and Community; the importance of lifestyle worship; individual and corporate worship
Worship is something we do both individual and in community, in both habitual and intentional actions. Habitual, lifestyle worship is more important than our intentional actions of worship in religious settings. Individual worship and congregational worship should inform and strengthen one another.
Principle 5. Worship Requires Participation
When we gather together for worship, our worship requires participation. Worship requires participation; it is not a spectator sport. This is true about all worship, but Dr. Parrett’s particular focus now and in the rest of this discussion is going to be on our worship as a community when we gather together.
Principles 6 - 7. Worship Requires Participation of our Entire Being; substance over style
Principle 6 is that worship requires or involves participation of our entire being. Not just part of my being responds, but all of my being responds. Sometimes we reduce our involvement as worshipers to one part of our being. Principle 7 says the substance of our worship is more important than the style or form of our worship. There are numerous and various styles of worship, but God looks first to the heart of the worshipper.
Principle 8. When We Worship as a Community, we are participating in something larger than ourselves.
Principle 8 is another application of Paul’s language to the Corinthians “when you come together.” When we come together as a community for worship, we are participating in something much larger than ourselves.
Principles 9 - 11. Preferring One Another; Worship is about God, who is Subject and Object
In the last three principles (9 – 11), Dr. Parrett challenges us that when we worship as a community, our concerns for individual freedom must be balanced with the need to consider and prefer others first. Worship is first and foremost about God and for God. He is also the subject and object of our worship.
Key passages. Key Old and New Testament passages on Worship
In this lesson, we consider a number of key passages that will make a contribution to our understanding of worship. Dr. Parrett gives just a brief summary of these passages and then looks at implications for designing and leading worship experiences in the church in the next lesson.
Implications. Practical Applications of the Eleven Principles
Dr. Parrett now turns to give a few thoughts about implications from these principles we have been identifying and some of these key texts, implications for those of us who design and lead the public worship or the congregational or corporate worship of the churches.
Style and Format. More Practical Applications
Finally, we end with some thoughts about the format and style of worship. How do we organize worship and arrange worship.