People matter a great deal to us! In fact, much of what we do at HOPE Church is done with people in mind. Our programs, services, and ministries exist in part to meet people’s needs and serve them.
However, (we must be honest) worship is not one of those areas. Worship is something we do purely & entirely for God. “Whoever seeks God as means toward a desired end will not find God”, wrote A.W. Tozer, “God will not be used.”
A Quick Definition
To make sure you understand where we are coming from, let’s define worship. Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary tells us that the word worship means “worthiness, respect, [or] reverence paid to [God].” This can be done through praying, learning, serving, giving, and singing. But when most people talk about “worship” in the church, they are talking about the songs.
So for the rest of this page we will talk about worship in terms of music. Some people seem to worship “worship” itself because it “feels good”. Naturally, any benefit we receive in musical worship is nice, but that’s not what drives HOPE Church! We think that worship is far too holy of an activity to become merely self-serving; we don’t worship God to “get something”, but rather we worship Him simply because we know He is worthy of our worship. We trust that this is evident when we gather weekly.
Obviously, musical tastes vary widely so the likelihood of pleasing everyone is pretty remote. For that reason, we endeavor to be God-focused rather than style-driven. We consider the worship at HOPE Church as music with a message for today! Rather than allowing a particular style to drive our music, we simply endeavor to worship God, combining newer contemporary praise songs with familiar hymns.
But what does this look like?
We will use a diversity of musical styles. The music mentioned in the Bible engages the full range of human emotions and we try to reflect that in our worship. It is simply a desire to be authentic. Some songs are energetic while others are more subdued prayers to God. Biblical worship is not nearly as solemn or stern as many have come to expect. In fact, every glimpse of heaven in the Scriptures shows the people there worshipping God in a festive atmosphere!
The Hebrew King David modeled this very well. As we read the Psalms we learn, among other things, that David’s worship was…
- Celebratory – and loud! (Psalm 68:4; Psalm 150)
- Reverent – Words like “awe”, “wonder”, and “amazing” are frequent themes in the Psalms
- Fresh and current (David sang new songs! – Psalm 40:3; Psalm 33:3; Psalm 98:1)
- Diverse – He and the people used a variety of instruments including strings, horns, even percussion! (Psalm 150:5)
- Active – His worship sometimes involved actions such as clapping, raised hands, bowing, etc. (Psalm 22:9; Psalm 47:1; Psalm 28:2; Psalm 63:4)
And What About Me?
We encourage our guests to enjoy the music, but not feel pressured to participate (though we hope you will want to!) If you don’t know the words to a song, that’s okay! In fact, in our effort to keep our worship fresh, we frequently introduces new songs. Of course, it takes time for us to learn new songs, too. Our service is intentionally designed so you can easily follow the songs on the video screen.
We love having guests with us and we want your time with us to be encouraging & uplifting, not awkward & unsettling. Hopefully this explanation of our Sunday morning worship will help. Now you just need to get here!
When you visit HOPE Church…
You’ll never be “put on the spot”. We won’t make you wear a “visitor” tag, or stand up and introduce yourself, or anything weird like that. We just hope you’ll find a place to connect with people who care and a God who loves and forgives.
We are here for you, not vice-versa. We see your presence as a gift to us and we want you to know that you are our guests. From the time you drive into the parking lot to the time you leave, we want you to feel “at home”.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship. (Romans 12:1)