At GraceLife London we teach that the people who make up the church gather primarily to worship God as well as to grow spiritually. From Old Testament times, a rich variety of music has always naturally been employed in worship as part of the grace of God that we rejoice in. When music is performed in a way that complements both the content and spirit of Biblical worship, we can happily worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24), enjoying the various musical instruments and styles according to the gifts God gives the church. Because we want to worship in spirit and in truth... truth-content will always trump musical style, and so we call our approach to choosing songs "content-driven." In other words, we don't choose a song just because we like the tune.
Our weekend meetings require many volunteers who give sacrificially of their time and serve with a desire to worship the Lord and bless His people. The worship ministry consists both of people on the ‘stage’ and behind the scenes – ‘production ministry’ volunteers. Each person’s role as a servant in this ministry is to communicate the message of God’s truth without distraction. Our stage participants consist of our musicians and vocalists, and our production team consists of people working with a variety of media. Whether the work is done on stage or behind the scenes, our desire is to give glory to God with the various gifts that He has given us.
Our aim is always to keep God the central focus of all we do. At the same time we want to maximise our passion for God’s greatness in our own hearts. We know that it’s only when we overflow with love for God that we will naturally “proclaim the excellencies of Him who called (us) out of darkness into His marvellous light” – which is what has the effect of shining light into the world that we live in. Our church gathers to worship God each weekend and scatters the rest of the week to worship Him, shining light wherever He has placed us. We want to equip our people to live lives of worship where Jesus Christ is put first in hearts, minds, and actions.
Five key priorities that guide us as we plan for worship:
1. Bible saturation: the content of our singing and praying and welcoming and preaching needs to conform to the truth of Scripture, since we are to worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).
2. Head and Heart: Our meetings need to be characterised by clear thinking about spiritual things, since it’s the truth that must ignite hearts with deep, strong, real emotions towards God. (John 4:24 & Matthew 22:37)
3. Reality: When we gather for worship, our aim is true spiritual worship (John 4:24), and so any pretence, flippancy, superficiality or frivolity need to be avoided (Isaiah 29:13). Instead we will pursue reverence, passion, and wonder. (Psalm 96)
4. Transparency: We want anyone on ‘stage’ to disappear and allow the greatness of God to shine through, since it’s not about us, but Him ( Psalm 115:1). Our trust is in our message, not ourselves as messengers.
5. Excellence: We want to do everything we do for God with all our heart (Colossians 3:23), so we must actively avoid any shoddiness or lack of preparation in our worship. We must of course remember that it is not about us (Psalm 115:1) which will help us to avoid any distracting showiness while we strive for excellence in our service to Him.
*Note: “Worship” is the term we use to cover all the acts of the heart and mind and body that express the infinite worth of God. This general term is made more specific in our “worship meetings.” We sing songs, bring our offerings, hear and obey God’s Word, and re-orient our lives based on God’s infinite worth.