Worship Philosophy Our response to the majesty of God
Christian worship is the expression of the supreme worth ascribed by believers to the Godhead and of the gratitude of the redeemed to their God for His finished work of redemption through the cross. Music is a gift from God to His children for this purpose. It does not stand alone in this regard—there are many ways in which worship to God is expressed. However, worshiping God through music is perhaps the most natural and most prescribed expression of worship.
At Countryside, we love to sing together and seek to be very purposeful in the musical portion of our meetings. We desire for our corporate expression of worship through music to be:
Countryside desires to make God the center of our gatherings. We come for one purpose, and that is to worship Him. We believe that all things are from Him, through Him, and to Him (Romans 11:36). The preparation, design, and conducting of our worship services all seek to reflect this reality by keeping God at the center.
God desires for those who worship Him to do so “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). When we worship in song we are putting truth to music. Christian music should proclaim the truth clearly, richly, and accurately. An emotional experience without a foundation in truth is meaningless; an emotional response to the truth brings glory to God. At Countryside we want our gatherings to be truth-saturated, not only in the preaching of God’s Word but in the singing of His truth as well.
Biblical in Purpose
The purpose of worship is singular: to exalt and praise the worth of God. The fulfilling of this singular purpose comes together in a combination of elements. Worship in song as a body of believers is to be a sacrifice of sound, a declaration of the glory of God, an expression of our hearts to God; it is to teach God’s truth, to admonish believers, and to encourage the family of God. At Countryside we want to be biblically purposeful in praising the Lord with music.
The supreme worth of God demands to be expressed by passionate worship. God-exalting lyrics that are born along by music can serve well to fan the flames of passion for God in the hearts of those who worship. At Countryside we desire for the music we make in praise of our God to be earnestly passionate, sincere, and uninhibited.
Uninhibited and Considerate in Expression of Worship
Expressing a heartfelt passion for God may look different from one person to the next. God is pleased when we abandon the fear of man which can easily inhibit our expressions of worship and freely express our love for him. However, it is also possible to be very expressive in worship yet displeasing to God, because these expressions stem from the wrong motives. Many expressions of worship are modeled and taught in Scripture. Whether we are lifting our hands (Psalm 134:2), clapping and singing loudly (Psalm 47:1), playing musical instruments (Psalm 150:1-6), standing in awe (Psalm 22:3), or engaging in other biblical expressions of worship, we must always seek to express our heartfelt passion for God with confidence and sincerity.
It is also important to be aware and considerate of the setting in which we are praising the Lord. To become a hindrance or a distraction to others in our expressions of worship does not accomplish our purpose in gathering together for corporate worship. At Countryside we desire to cultivate authentic, uninhibited worship which takes into consideration the setting of corporate praise and avoids distraction from our God-centered purpose.
Excellent and Authentic
Just as God is worthy of worship that is nothing less than heartfelt and passionate, He is worthy of worship that is nothing less than excellent. We are instructed to “play skillfully” (Psalm 33:3) when we make music in worship of God. At Countryside we strive for excellence in music by encouraging those who participate in our music ministry to prepare well and to continue to grow in musical skill. We strive for authenticity that reflects a desire for excellence.
Reverent and Celebratory
There are many aspects of the worship that we express to God. He is holy, immortal, all-wise, all-powerful, worthy, the King of Kings. We must worship Him in reverence, as sinners who approach the splendorous one who dwells in inapproachable light and creator and judge of all mankind.
The Bible also commands us to exult, to shout for joy, and to be glad in our musical praise. We have been redeemed through the blood of Jesus Christ, and have entered into a Father-son relationship with God the Father. These different aspects of our worship are much like the facets of a precious stone, each contributing to the beauty of God’s design for Christian worship. Worship at Countryside seeks to demonstrate both of these attitudes in our gatherings.
Non-exclusive and Participatory
We live in a culture enamored with entertainment and saturated with performers. It would be easy to come to worship bringing with us this mentality. This approach makes worship an exclusive enterprise that promotes an “audience and performers” atmosphere. At Countryside we reject this approach and consider corporate worship to be in fact corporate, non-exclusive, and participatory. As God brings more people to Countryside, we will grow in members with musical giftedness. We view this as an incredible blessing and seek to provide opportunities to serve in the area of music alongside those providing leadership to our musical worship.
Unified within Diversity
When considering what style music is to be used for worship, unity is very important to us. We do not wish for music to become divisive or discouraging to any of God’s worshipers. Worshiping God through song can powerfully unite the hearts of worshipers together. Therefore our commitment is to develop a style of worship that best compliments the culture of our congregation, both young and old, and to teach these generations to work towards unity in the singing of God’s praise, regardless of personal preferences.
However, seeking to maintain unity by abstaining completely from one generation’s preferences in order to avoid contention is unacceptable. We are told to consider others to be more important than ourselves. If the spirit of preferring one another is mutually attained by the generational elements of a church, then the proper balance of musical preference can be attained as well.
Due to the nature of sin and selfishness, people tend to become resentful when their personal preferences are not accommodated. These personal preferences are not wrong, but when pitted against someone else’s personal preferences in a corporate setting, they can become alienating and divisive. God is not more impressed or pleased by music that sounds traditional than He is with music that sounds modern, nor vice versa. Since worship is about Him, preferences must be set aside to allow for the heartfelt expression of all who worship. There is as much spiritual benefit from newer, theologically accurate worship music as there is in older, theologically accurate worship music.
Musical styles come and go – God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The style in which we worship God in song will change with time – He, however, is constant and unchanging. While we are not interested in “keeping up” with every new and latest trend, we do worship God in a unique cultural setting. It is a beautiful thing for the music that we use to reflect how Christ steps into a culture and redeems for Himself a people who worship Him as they were created to do.