Kathryn Lang, of Guntersville, Alabama, grew up Episcopalian, started attending a Southern Baptist church a few years ago, and lately began attending a local Assembly of God church because of the programs for her kids. They’ve taken membership classes at the A/G church, and her oldest son was baptized there.
Her comments in The Huntsville Times’ community column are interesting, in light of what I’ve recently blogged on. She remarks that the main differences aren’t as much theological as practical: Do you think you have a structured service, or an unstructured service? (Perhaps she glosses over the problems rampant in the ECUSA, or maybe her recent church activities have taken her “out of the loop.”) But then she analyzes the apparently unstructured services of the Baptist and Assemblies crowd and, guess what? We’re pretty structured after all.
Some of the services merely have an outline. … The singing, sermon and summons all fall in the same place each week, but don’t tell anyone.
Some of the services are a grab bag. Nothing is written, so you have to pay attention or you might get lost. Even here there usually develops a pattern: Fast song, fast song, slow song, prayer, fast song, offering, sermon, altar call.
Each service seems to be ordered by the traditions laid out by that particular church, the denomination, the pastor, and the age of the congregation. The younger the congregation, the more likely you are to see a guitar in the choir.
But what is most compelling to Kathryn is not the traditions, or lack thereof. It’s the heart of the church, the worship, not the components of the services themselves. She concludes her article with a useful definition of true worship:
Worship is about the lowering of oneself out of respect or awe. It is my lowering myself before God to allow Him to direct my life. Worship is about me pushing down my desires and emotions, and choosing to listen to the words of God and follow His way.
Worship is not about whether you choose to kneel when you pray, close your eyes when you pray or lift you hands when you pray.
True worship is when you see with the eyes of Jesus, you hear with the ears of Jesus, you feel with the heart of Jesus and you speak with the words of Jesus.
[tags]BlogRodent, Pentecostal, Assemblies-of-God, Assembly-of-God, Baptist, Pentecostal, worship, dialog[/tags]