The following is the contents of a paper I had to write for my class on Worship and Music through the WV Baptist Convention School of Christian Studies, in which I will graduate next month... Tell me what you think... (I Know.. I know... WHAT AM I ASKING? :laugh: ) PART 1 Does Worship Stop When the Music Does? I am a member of an online Christian community called Baptistboard. I have been a member of this community since October of 2003. We have discussed a lot of subjects, and worship and music are prominent in our discussions. Since this board is made up of all different stripes of Baptists (As well as other denominations), I have been challenged to redefine and/or provide support for my view of worship. The following is a post I made on 8/29/06 in the thread titled (Does Worship Stop when the music does): Music is just a tool to use to worship... so is prayer, meditation, Bible Study, Preaching, etc.. A Christian should never quit worshipping... Even if there were no music we would still Worship our God for WHO He is... not what He does....but Who He is... But thank God for music... it is a gift to us, from Him, that aids in our worship of Him. No, Worship doesn't end when the music does, unless you are worshipping music...It doesn't start when music starts either... For a Christian, worship is life. Having read New Ways in Christian Worship by Robert W. Bailey, and Beyond the Worship Wars by Thomas G. Long, I am persuaded that my post on Baptistboard.com back in 2006 is still the correct way to view worship. While talking to the woman at the well, Jesus said, “God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth.” - John 4:24 Jesus was clear that worship must be done in spirit and in truth… But what does this mean? The phrase, “in spirit” strips away the belief that worship is tied to material things. The woman had just mentioned two physical places that people went to worship. Jesus was pointing out Worship is not tied to Jerusalem or any other place. Worship can be done anywhere at any time, with or without physical elements to help us along. The phrase, “in truth” applies to the fact that Jesus is God. He was God in the flesh talking to that woman. The woman had been used to worshipping in the shadows of the coming Messiah. The Pentateuch, which was the Samaritan’s scriptures, was full of shadows of the coming Messiah. The offerings and ceremonial rituals that Moses handed to the people were pictures of the coming Christ. But that woman had the privilege of looking into the eyes of the actual Messiah. She was staring truth in the face. And she realized it. No longer would people be bound to a physical place to worship. No longer would people be limited to their preconceived ideas (based in the ceremonial rituals of the Pentateuch) of what the Messiah would be like. Now we can worship God any place at any time, knowing that Jesus is God. Jesus is the truth… For Jesus said himself, “… I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6 So how does this truth translate into today’s culture? How can we take this truth and apply it to us and our churches? In today’s church when the word “Worship” is mentioned, it seems that people automatically think of music. Even job titles in churches point to this concept. We have Worship Leaders, Worship Pastors, Ministers of Worship, etc… but they all have one thing in common: music. But music is only one aspect of worship. Let’s define worship. The word worship comes from the old English term, “Worth ship” It means to apply worth to something. So when we “worship” God, we are applying worth to God. We are reflecting back to God the truths of who he is. He is Holy, Just, Righteous, and is worthy of our praise. Worship stems from who God is, not what he does for us. Other ways to worship God is Bible reading, Praying, meditating, proclamation of God’s Word, giving of tithes and offerings. All of these say to God, “You are worthy of my praise, time, and resources. We say to God, here I am, I am completely yours, use me how you want. Romans 12:1 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. Worship means so much more than the 15 to 20 minutes we spend each Sunday morning right before the Pastor gives the sermon. But because of this misunderstanding, we now have churches splitting over the right way to “worship”. There are many different music styles in American churches today. Ultra-traditional: Those like the Church of Christ, Primitive Baptist, or Old Regular Baptist teach that no instruments should be used with music. Traditional: Those that sing traditional hymns, and an occasional Southern Gospel, or Bluegrass song Contemporary: Those that use Contemporary or Praise and Worship music for their services. Opponents of praise and worship music often call the songs “7-11 songs” because they often use repetitive phrases that consist of only a few words. They sing the 7 word phrases 11 times. Blended: Those that blend the above styles in a service. Again I believe that if God’s people would properly understand the meaning of worship, people would not be at odds with each other, but would appreciate the differences in the different styles.