The purpose of this worship philosophy statement is: 1. To clarify what the Bible says about worship so that our ministry can be examined considering Scripture; 2. To promote unity, effective communication, and continuity; 3. To ensure our leadership understands our Biblical philosophy and its implementation.
Wayne Grudem explains it as “the activity of glorifying God in His presence”. Our theology (what we know about God) determines the depth of our worship. How can we consider the good and great God of the universe (Deuteronomy 32:39), see His love incarnate in the gift of His Son (John 3:16) and know His love for us (Romans 5:5) and not worship Him? God created us to worship, adore and serve Him (Ephesians 1:12). God the Father is actively seeking true worshipers (John 4:23). Worship is ascribing worth to God through actions, attitudes, and words. Worship is giving God due praise and adoration. Worship is the ultimate priority for the church, the reason man was created, the reason regenerate man was redeemed, and the culmination of all history (Exodus 20:2-5; Isaiah 43:21; Mark 12:29-30; John 4:23; 1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 5:13-14).
Our Mission: Loving God with Everything | Loving Everyone Unconditionally | Making Disciples Everywhere
Individual and Corporate Worship
According to the Bible, worship can be on an individual or corporate basis. In the individual sense it is not something that we only do on Sunday, it is our whole life. When Christians gather on Sunday and other times, we are privileged to worship God corporately, in community, as a spiritual family. The purpose of the church gathered is to worship God corporately. In the collective sense we are anticipating and building toward that great future that God has promised when all nations, tribes and tongues will assemble and worship Him (Rev 7:9-10). Worshipping the living God is priority number one for Westwood Baptist Church—that is the reason we gather. Everything else flows from that. This is in keeping with the first tenet of the mission of Westwood Baptist Church, “Loving God with Everything” (Romans 12:1).
We meet on Sunday for the corporate expression of the delight, awe, and thankfulness that comes from knowing our infinitely glorious and Sovereign God and Savior. The only acceptable way of approaching God in worship must be revealed to us by God Himself through scripture. Seeking to worship God in the way He has advised us and authorized us to worship protects us from idolatrous worship and keeps our energies focused on those activities through which God has called us to draw near.
How do we worship?
Worship is offered in fear, awe and devotion (Psalms 5:7, Matthew 14:32-33), includes adoration and thanksgiving (Psalms 89:1, Ephesians 5:19-20), our obedience and service (Hebrews 12:28-29), our confession (Psalms 51:15-17, Romans 15:8-12), our sacrificial acts (Acts 4:36-37, I Corinthians 14:24-25), our praise (Psalms 71:22-23, Hebrews 13:15), our public prayer (Acts 2:42, I Corinthians 14:13-15), reading of Scripture, (I Timothy 4:13), musical instruments (II Chronicles 5:12-14, Revelation 5:8-10) and corporate and private singing (Ephesian 5:19-20, Colossians 3:16).
At Westwood Baptist Church we have a long history of sound Biblical preaching. Preaching is the apex of biblical worship. In preaching, we encounter the living God of truth and have our hearts laid bare before him. Our Sunday services also include other forms of worship including prayer, scripture reading, communion, baptism, confession, and music. When we encounter God and understand who He is through teaching and preaching the scriptures, we then can worship in spirit and truth. Our praise to God becomes worship in music and is our expressive emotional response to knowing and understanding our complete brokenness and God’s magnificence and grace to us.
Music Worship (Praise)
God created us and music for the sole purpose of bringing Him glory (Romans 11:36). Music is only a part of our worship to God, but it is an important part, so it is crucial, therefore, that we understand its proper role and its biblical use. We can do individual music worship at home or anywhere alone. Corporate music worship occurs when we gather (more than one) to give glory and honor to God. How we worship is described in scripture using seven different Hebrew words for praise. These describe different ways and different actions to praise God. They are: HALLAL - our "hallelujah”, to praise; YADAH - to praise with lifted hands; TOWDAH – to praise with hands in adoration; SHABACH - to praise with shouting and lifted voice; BARAK - to praise by kneeling down; ZAMAR - to praise by plucking an instrument; and TEHILLAH - the singing of halals/praises. The Scripture also speaks directly to several issues about musical praise. It records God's approval of a variety of musical instruments in worship (e.g., 1 Chronicles 25:6; Psalms 150). Choirs and vocalists, separate from the congregation, were a prescribed part of Israel's worship (1 Chronicles 15:16-28; 2 Chronicles 5:13; Nehemiah 7:1; 12:27-47). God appointed people to lead the musical element of the corporate worship (1 Chronicles 15:27; Nehemiah 12:42, 46); and fifty-five of the Psalms begin with "for the choir director". Biblical music could be either loud and exuberant (Psalms 95:1; 98:4; 150:5) or quiet and contemplative (2 Chronicles 35:25).
Our Vision in Music Worship
An authentic community who disciples all generations to reach the next generation with the transformational power of the Gospel
We want to go into the next 10 years as an authentic, multigenerational church in all aspects of our ministries. We do corporate music worship as a community with authenticity, recognizing our unworthiness and lifting-up God as the only person who deserves our worship. Our understanding of our own sin and knowing who God is will overflow into a passion for reaching our community, neighbors, and friends. Our music worship will demonstrate our love, honor, and value for all ages and stages. We believe that teaching and discipling the next generation is what God has called us to do (Psalms 78:2-4, 2 Timothy 2:2).