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What Is the Relationship of Mission and Worship?


Congregations considering worship renewal (which might also include radical change) usually look first at what they do and how they are doing it.  The prevailing thought is “if we sing new songs/bring back the old hymns; incorporate visual stimulants/actually hold the hymnal; dress down/dress up; or simply mimic those congregations we view as successful then worship renewal will occur.”  All of these worship elements may be culturally appropriate for individual congregations.  However, those congregations will continue to struggle with worship renewal and worship conflict until they focus on worship not just as what they do in the church but also who they are in the world.

In his book Missional Renaissance, Reggie McNeal wrote, “The missional church is not a what but a who.  When we think of church in what mode, we focus on something that exists apart from people, some ‘out there’ that people join and attend and support.  We try, then, to build great churches, believing that this is God’s primary strategy to engage the world.  Inevitably, this pre-occupation leads to discussions of how we can ‘do church’ better.  Thinking about the church in who mode focuses on what it means to be the people of God.  The central task is developing great followers of Jesus, believing that God has created people to demonstrate his redemptive intentions to the world in and through them.  This perspective frames an agenda so that the community of faith may encourage all its members to be faithful to God and to his mission as they live out being the church in the world.[1]

If worship is not just what we do but who we are can it ever occur outside of mission?  Check out the following video featuring Fuzz Kitto:


[1] Reggie McNeal, Missional Renaissance: Changing the Scorecard for the Church (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2009), 20.



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