KEY TEXT: Psalms 96:1-6 Oh sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth! Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the Lord made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
KEY THOT: Worship is essentially a declaration of God's name and divine attributes in music and songs. It is not just to be declared among believers but also among unbelievers: "Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!" Biblical worship is not just edifying but also evangelistic: it is the medium to "tell of his salvation from day to day", declaring God's saving grace through the words and music of the songs. Through missional worship, we declare the message of God's salvation. Worship is missional and prophetic when worship leaders see their role as affirming God's glory and greatness among unbelievers: "For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the Lord made the heavens" (v.5).
To be missional, our worship needs to take place in the midst of unbelievers: out in the streets and mission fields, not behind church walls. The church that is missional is one that is without walls for it gathers anywhere and everywhere. Paul and Silas had their worship "service" in the prison dungeon: "About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's bonds were unfastened" (Acts 16:25-26). And the fruit of Paul and Sila's missional worship was deliverance and freedom for prisoners.
Worship that ascribes glory and strength to God can set captives of Satan and sin free. Missional worship is a powerful weapon in spiritual warfare to set people free. Worship is firstly a ministry to the Lord. And when God's presence is manifested, it becomes a powerful ministry to the people gathered--believers and non-believers alike: "While they were ministering to (NIV/ESV: worshipping) the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them" (NASB). It's when we minister to the Lord in worship that the Lord ministers to us in turn through prophetic gifts and callings.
Having served in the Alpha prison ministry for a period of four years, I've seen how worship has been an important tool for transformation of prisoners. The prisoners are ministered powerfully by the words of the songs, especially songs that declare Christ's victory over the world, sin and the devil. Word in worship is a powerful medium for evangelism. Declaration of God's word in and through the music and songs can reach people who would otherwise not be reached by preaching alone.
Anointed worship is a life-transforming medium for missions and evangelism in anyplace where pre-believers gather, even inside church buildings that are set apart for evangelism like Alpha.
Abba-Father, may Your Spirit teach us how to declare God's name and attributes powerfully through our worship events. Amen.