The Evangelistic Power of Worship As a Witness by Rick Warren
I’m often asked, “How can a service be both a worship service and place for seekers to experience Jesus?”
At Saddleback we believe you can have both without compromising either.
When we speak of worship, we are talking about something only believers can do. Worship is from believers to God. We magnify God’s name in worship by expressing our love and commitment to him. Unbelievers simply cannot do this.
Here is the simple definition of worship that we operate on at Saddleback:
“Worship is expressing our love to God for who he is, what he’s said, and what he’s doing.”
We believe there are many appropriate ways to express our love to God: by praying, singing, obeying, trusting, giving, testifying, listening, and responding to his Word, thanking, and many other expressions.
God – not man – is the focus and center of our worship.
God is the consumer of worship
Although unbelievers cannot truly worship, they can watch believers worship. They can observe the joy that we feel. They can see how we value God’s Word and how we respond to it. They can hear how the Bible answers the problems and questions of life. They can notice how worship encourages, strengthens, and changes us. They can sense when God is supernaturally moving in a service, although they won’t be able to explain it.
When unbelievers watch genuine worship, it becomes a powerful witness. In Acts 2 – on the day of Pentecost – God’s presence was so evident in the disciples’ worship service that it attracted the attention of unbelievers throughout the entire city!
Acts 2:6 says, “… a crowd came together.” We know it was a big crowd because 3,000 people were saved that day.
Why were those 3,000 people converted? Because they felt God’s presence and they understood the message.
I believe both of these elements are essential for worship to be a witness.
God’s presence must be sensed in the service. More people are won to Christ by feeling God’s presence than by all of our apologetic arguments combined.
Few people, if any, are converted to Christ on purely intellectual grounds. It is the sense of God’s presence that melts hearts and explodes mental barriers. Worship without this yields few evangelistic results.
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America’s largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.