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.
At EFCMM, we believe that worship includes the whole of our daily lives lived for God, taking to heart Paul's plea in Romans 12:1 that we be "living sacrifices" unto God. While this is the broadest scope of worship, there is also a special place for corporate worship--literally, worship as the Body of Christ. This takes place when we gather as a church to worship God together. The following are some of our defining convictions about worship.
If worship is not focused on God, then it is not worship, but rather idolatry. Therefore, we do not want anything to come before God himself-- not current issues, popular trends, or personal development. We seek to find how we are to relate our lives to God, not how we can make God fit into our concerns. "Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!" (Psalm 115:1).
From the evidence of Scripture we see that it is very important that we come before God in the way that pleases him, not the way that most pleases us (Genesis 4:3-7; Leviticus 10:1-2; Acts 5:1-11). For us this means that as sinners we can only come before a holy God through Jesus Christ (Hebrews 10:19-22). When by faith we trust in Christ's work for us in his death and resurrection, we are justified and declared holy in his sight. Because Christ is the fullest revelation of God in bodily form, and because of what he has done for us, we exalt Christ and his Gospel in our worship.
As we who are in Christ are given new life through the Spirit, we rely on the presence of the Holy Spirit in and among us for all that we are and do. He is the presence of God among us until Christ returns, and it is he who works both to bring conviction of sin as well as the ability to live rightly. We do not want to worship out of our own strength, but to have our prayers, songs, offerings and sermons enlivened and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Because worship is the proper response of his human creatures to all that God has revealed of himself and his works, we strive to keep the Word of God always before us in our services. The prayers, songs, readings, and sermons should be saturated in Scripture so that they are both teaching us to worship even as they are our expressions of worship. Colossians 3:16 teaches this very principle when it says, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God."
It's a funny way to say it, but "body-building" is really what we mean when we talk about worship serving to edify the church. From that same verse in Colossians mentioned above, we see that our corporate worship has a horizontal, human-oriented dimension even while it is focused on the vertical, God-oriented dimension. This is significant and absolutely necessary, even if secondary. Whether we are singing, speaking, or serving, it should be for the building of Christ's church and the advancement of his kingdom (Ephesians 4, 1 Corinthians 14).
Other Convictions and Preferences
In the preparation and leading of our corporate worship, we use people from our church who have evidenced skill, demonstrated gifts, and expressed desire to serve. It is our intent to lead worship with reverence and joy, with passion and discernment, with excellence and humility. We use a variety of musical styles, seeking to use the best of contemporary worship without being trendy and to use the best of traditional worship without being nostalgic.
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another,
as good stewards of God’s varied grace:
whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God;
whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—
in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.
To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 4:10-11