Ask anyone you meet at work or on the street, “What or who do we worship?” and the answers most certainly would be varied. Severn Run attendees would mostly say “God”. But if you continued to look beyond the church walls, and observe what or who people worship...
We’ve talked about why it’s important to serve (see Serving Part 1 here), and hopefully by now you’ve decided that either you need to start serving, or you just need to serve more. Most of us are in one of these two boats. There are a few people who serve a lot of their...
Worship. How many of us have used that term without really knowing what it means? Is it singing songs to God? Is it what I do Sunday mornings at church? Can I do it with my family during the week or on my own in quiet moments? What does it mean to worship? At a basic level, the word worship...
They emerge from beneath the water to party music and the roaring approval of the crowd. If there’s a celebration in the Worship Center, you can be sure there’s an even bigger celebration in heaven. Baptism. A public way of showing that you have asked Jesus to be in charge of your...
The Worship Tribe is excited to announce their new CD, which engages listeners with an eclectic blend of genres that collectively draws us into the presence of Jesus. Set to release in February, the album has been more than a year in the making. Ben Kennedy, Severn Run’s Worship Pastor...
In Matthew 18:20, Jesus said, "For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst." If you want to grow spiritually, prioritize your personal relationship with Jesus. Only a small percentage of us meet weekly. Most of us are every other week or every third week...
Ask anyone you meet at work or on the street, “What or who do we worship?” and the answers most certainly would be varied. Severn Run attendees would mostly say “God”.
But if you continued to look beyond the church walls, and observe what or who people worship you’d see a much more broad scope of practices. Many of which we may not even realize how much we worship them. You’d see Hollywood, royalty, the rich and famous, money, possessions, good looks, food, children, and maybe even spouses. You would most certainly see self.
And if you ask the same Severn Runners is service worship? With a head nod they would likely say “Yes”! Then ask how is it that so? You might then get that “deer in the headlights” look.
Why would that be? Maybe because service seems on the outside to be about the receiver. He/She who is served is the receiver, right? They do of course benefit, yet we must ask is there more or is that it? Fortunately, there is more, much more.
William J. Stewart noted on the “Looking unto Jesus” website, “Every aspect of a Christian’s life is to be service to God, but not all service is worship. However, let us also be careful not to limit our worship to 3 or 4 hours of assembly time with the Lord’s people per week. We ought to habitually set time aside to worship the Lord privately. (Matthew 6:6)” (1)
If we are wanting to worship God, just how do we do that through service? To understand the tie between service and worship, we must first understand how worship is defined in the Bible.
In John 4:24 Jesus lays it out for us this way, “God is spirit. And his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” So then, is all service worship? Yes, no, or maybe as some would argue the following points:
- If the service is rendered to God it is worship.
- With the right heart, all service in all situations is worship.
- If the service isn’t sinful, it is worship.
- Service is worship if it follows the Bible’s definition of worship.
All these points have various compelling arguments but the final option seems to be supported in knowing we are then following the teaching of God’s word.
After Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the wilderness, Satan tempted Jesus with food. He suggested Jesus test the angels who were to protect him. He offered Jesus dominion over the kingdoms of the world. After all this, Jesus had enough and Matthew 4:10 tells us how Jesus finally responded to Satan, “Get out of here, Satan.” Jesus told him. “For the scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’”
What does this mean for us today? Jesus is clearly saying that we are to serve God only. We therefore must be careful our service is not tied to things of this world such as status, self-sacrifice, admiration of others, personal recognition or anything else we might potentially worship. These things and more can seep into our service lives.
Although worship and service are closely related, they are not the same thing. As noted on the “Trusting God America” website, if they were the same there would be no reason for Jesus to address them separately.
There are at least three things to consider for service to be an act of worship:
- Proper Attitude with Correct Authority: Our mindset and perspective need to be God focused and in the Spirit for our service to be worshipful. (John 4:23-24)
- Intentional: Worship, thus service, is to support Biblical worship and have specific action that we intent to be worship.
- Truth Regulated: To worship in truth is the approved action for service. Our service must support truth which is found only in God’s word. (John 17:17)
In summary we serve to worship God and this service is an outcome of our love for God and others.
According to one blog on worship versus service, “The Divine ideal is that our worship of the Lord will inspire us to serve, and that our service for Him will flow naturally from worship.” (2) Another wrote, “We find that worship is outwardly manifested by service.” (3)
When out of worship of God, we can then chose to serve God by taking action:
- Go to Severnrunner.info
- Click on “Be the Difference”
- Complete the Level 1, 2, & 3 challenges
- Get your stickers
- Fill your card
Get started or take the next step today!
(1) http://lookinguntojesus.net/a-difference-between-service-and-worship/ by William J. Stewart
We’ve talked about why it’s important to serve (see Serving Part 1 here), and hopefully by now you’ve decided that either you need to start serving, or you just need to serve more. Most of us are in one of these two boats.
There are a few people who serve a lot of their time, and that’s great, but we need to understand that they can’t carry this burden alone. And don’t get me wrong, most of the regular volunteers that we have at the Church of Severn Run are all very generous with their time, and they love serving! I bet if you asked any one of them how much they got out of it, they’d tell you it was a lot more than they put in.
Let’s take a little bit to look at just a couple serving areas in the church specifically where a few dedicated people are running most of the show and who could use some help.
One of the biggest areas we have, with the largest requirement of volunteers, is the kids’ ministry. We have rooms for babies all the way up through high school.
Let’s start with the little kids, because that’s our biggest group. Here’s some numbers to put our need for volunteers into perspective:
- For every 4 kids 2 years old and younger, we need one volunteer per service.
- For every 8 kids 3 years old or older, we need one volunteer per service.
Typically, we’re looking at having 2 adult workers per classroom for each service, equaling 12 volunteers per service, and 36 volunteers on a Sunday if everyone only worked one service. These kinds of numbers are what we’d need to be covered and not have anyone working overtime or more than they’d like to.
Preferably, we’d like to have around 40-50 volunteers a week so that in the case of cancellations, or extra kids, we’re covered. Generally, two adults per classroom is good, but sometimes we have more kids and need more help. Recently we talked with Kristin Wood, our Preschool Director, and we only had 28 volunteers on this particular Sunday. Granted, this is the summer time, and we’re constantly dealing with people being out for vacations and family things, but it’s pretty typical for us to see less-than-ideal volunteer numbers, even though Kristin noted that she was happy to have 28 this particular week.
We think that we can do better, don’t you?
Many of our kids’ volunteers work more than one Sunday service, sometimes even all three. While they love to do it, this can be tiring. If we had enough volunteers back there for each person to work one service once or twice a month, that would be the best-case scenario. Some volunteers would still work more than that, because that just what they like to do. But, we recognize that not everyone can do that, and having more volunteers would help make it so that everyone could work as much as they wanted to, and not be asked to, or feel like, they had to work more than they wanted to.
So, if your passion is young kids, or even if it’s just serving where God has called you to, please contact Kristin Wood for more information on how you can plug in and start helping with the little kiddos. It’s a real treat to be able to invest in these kids’ lives, and to give parents the ease of mind to go and pour Jesus into their lives on Sundays, so that they can pour into their kids for the next week.
If serving with the little kids isn’t your thing, there’s also the grade school, middle-school, and high school kids ministries.
The grade school kids are upstairs, and you can contact our family life pastor Steve Stolarek-Houston to work with those kids. We’ve got some really great workers up there with them, but they can always use more help. If you’re more interested in working with the older kids, contact the Student Pastor Chris Martin.
The middle school and high school kids also meet during the week, and they do lots of fun stuff, so this can be a really fun and rewarding way to give back. At these ages, kids are being influenced in lots of different ways, and the world is trying to confuse them from what they’ve learned as a kid. There’s a big opportunity here to literally change these kids’ lives and be Jesus to them.
Ok, so enough about the kids. Hopefully if you’re not a “kids person,” you’re still with me.
I’d like to take another minute to discuss a different area of the church that could use some help when it comes to volunteers. Of course, all areas and ministries are open to new faces, but this one in particular has caught my attention as being a little short-handed.
The area I’m talking about is the technical booth in the back of the service.
Everyone is familiar with the faces of the singers and musicians on stage who perform week after week, and whom we get to praise God with, but not many people pay much attention to the guys and gals behind the scenes. We have people who work the lights, the sounds, and the screens, among other things. While this generally only requires one person per job, we don’t have very many volunteers who work back there on a weekly basis. It’s typically the same 1 or 2 people who work week after week, usually all 3 services, for each need. Needless to say, this can be draining.
And let’s admit, the Worship Tribe and the tech people really do an amazing job helping us worship and connect with God every week. Many of the people who walk through our doors, especially if it’s only once, will only experience worship in the auditorium. We’ve had hundreds of new people visit our church during various holidays, and the tech people play an integral role in helping the church share Jesus with them. Even though the tech people in the back were probably not even noticed by these visitors, you can be sure that they showed Jesus to many who needed to see him. They were crucial in making worship relevant to people who desperately needed to see a version Jesus who wasn’t some all-powerful being sitting on a throne, casting down condemnation on them, but a Jesus who loved and lived and walked among them in a very real way. This is the kind of Jesus that the Worship Tribe shows people on a weekly basis, and they couldn’t do this without the support of their tech team in the back.
Whether you’re technically inclined or not, you can make a difference in people’s lives, just like the examples I provided above. It’s easy to learn, and the rewards are big, especially when you see the looks on people’s faces as a disco ball drops form the ceiling and the whole auditorium lights up like a thousand stars (yes, we actually did this once and it was awesome!). On the other hand, if you like to sing, or can play an instrument, the Worship Tribe is always open and welcoming of new talent. If you’re interested in either of these areas, please contact our Ministry Director, Gwen Hubbard, or our Communications Leader Bonni Mace.
So, what are you going to do now???
The ball is in your court. Do you hear God speaking to you?
Being realistic, I don’t expect hundreds of people to start volunteering for one of these areas of the church. I realize that these places may not be where you’re best-suited to serve, and that’s OK. But, hopefully in one way or another, you’ve heard God’s call in your life.
There are literally millions of ways that you can serve, and it doesn’t have to be here at the Church at Severn Run. But, it is our sincerest hope that you can find a place here where you can put your talents to use to help us share Jesus with the Baltimore area, and to advance his kingdom in your life and the lives of those around you. Follow this link to find out about more serving opportunities at Severn Run.
But beyond that, no matter where he’s calling you to serve, we hope and pray that you will realize all that God has planned for you in your life, and that you will do amazing things for his kingdom.
We pray that the world will be able to see something different in you, not just because of your talent or your service, but because you do it selflessly and with a smile on your face, showing Jesus to a world in need…
And always remember to Love Well, Live Jesus, and Believe Big!
Worship. How many of us have used that term without really knowing what it means? Is it singing songs to God? Is it what I do Sunday mornings at church? Can I do it with my family during the week or on my own in quiet moments? What does it mean to worship?
At a basic level, the word worship comes from the idea of ascribing worth to something or someone. The value that I place on any particular thing in my life shows the level of worth it has to me. Worshiping someone (or something) is a reflection of the value that you have given to that object in your life. When we worship God, we are ascribing worth to him, telling him that he is valuable to us.
So here is the reality about how God has made us: humans are created to worship. God has designed us in such a way that our hearts and our souls are ALWAYS worshiping. There is no ON/Off switch to this worship thing. It is always ON. We are always ascribing worth to things and people in our lives. So if I am always worshiping, the all-important question I have to ask myself is what is the object of my worship? What is it in my life that I place the most value towards?
Here are a couple of question that are helpful to think through when determining what you value most in your life.
- What makes you the most angry?
- What do you spend the majority of your free time thinking about?
- What is your life organized around (work, kids, TV Shows, sports)?
- What brings you the most happiness?
- What do you look to for your security?
- From where do you get your own sense of value or worth?
All of these questions help us evaluate what we value most. What your heart treasures most, you will find yourself worshiping.
God created us to be creatures of worship. He wants to be the center of our lives and the object of our worship. We have the opportunity to show God value and worth in our lives, to worship him, every minute of every day. The Apostle Paul offers a heartfelt encouragement to the church in Rome to worship God with their entire lives.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. (Romans 12:1).
Paul offers us an insightful picture. My body is to be presented to God as my worship. That means that everything I do is meant to be worship, meant to be pleasing to God. Everything that I do with my hands, everything I say with my mouth, everything I dwell on in my head, every desire that I kindle in my heart—all of it is meant to be worship toward my creator. It’s overwhelming when I really stop and think about it and the implications for my life. Every moment of my day is worship. Every conversation I have is worship. Every time I interact with my boss, my children, my spouse, other drivers on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, or even that neighbor who really gets on my nerves, I have a chance to honor God, to worship God.
Singing praise and worship songs at church or even on the radio in the car are certainly acts of worship. But hopefully, my worship of God will extend far beyond the 75 minutes I spend in the church building on Sunday or some songs that I sing along to in the car while I’m driving.
Hopefully, as I set my gaze upon the Lord each morning, and open my heart to the Spirit’s leading in each moment, my heart will begin to treasure God more and more. As I preach the amazing grace of the Gospel of Jesus to myself everyday, and I consider how much Jesus loves me, I will treasure him more and more.
Because what I treasure, I will worship.
They emerge from beneath the water to party music and the roaring approval of the crowd. If there’s a celebration in the Worship Center, you can be sure there’s an even bigger celebration in heaven.
Baptism. A public way of showing that you have asked Jesus to be in charge of your life. There’s nothing special about the water. There’s nothing magical about the words that are spoken. There is however, something really cool about taking part in the very same act that Jesus demonstrated for us in the Jordan River. When we follow his example of baptism by submersion we show the world with our body what has happened within the confines of our soul.
Falco was raised in the Catholic church and was baptized as an infant. He started attending services at The Church at Severn Run in April of 2015. He was inspired by the church’s passion for Jesus instead of religion. Each baptism Sunday he watched as people walked down into the waters and came out again. He realized that he had no ownership in the act of baptism that was performed on him as an infant so long ago and felt the Spirit moving him to experience a believer’s baptism. He felt that baptism was an important part in the process of being a fully devoted follower of Christ.
Falco and his fiancé began to meet with Pastor John for premarital counseling. Pastor John asked about his faith journey and suggested that perhaps Falco should to baptized as a first step to entering into a Christ-centered marriage. It was as if Falco had been waiting for that very invitation. He said, “Absolutely!” and he couldn’t wait to dive right in (pun intended).
Kari’s relationship with Jesus began at a summertime VBS as a child. She felt an urgency to be baptized but wanted to make sure it was the right time for her. Fast forward a few years later to a Friday night at Collide (Severn Run Student Ministry). Pastor Chris approached Kari and asked her if she was getting baptized in August. Without thinking, she automatically said yes.
After responding in such haste, Kari began to think through what it means to be baptized and how such a seemingly simple act was going to impact her life. She realized she couldn’t wait to finally get baptized and start a new chapter in her relationship with Jesus. On Sunday, Kari experienced some anxiety about being on the stage in front of so many people. However, once she emerged from the waters she felt like a completely new person. Kari says, “I felt like I could walk on water, but unlike Peter, I can keep my eyes on Jesus.”
Baptism is a personal experience performed in public—not unlike a marriage. For some it may be uncomfortable to be the “center of attention” during a baptism (or a marriage ceremony), but what some may fail to realize is that the attention is on the Lord and HE is not uncomfortable. A baptism is a family celebration that one more brother or sister has been born into the Kingdom of God and it’s an honor and a privilege for us, as the audience, to join the believer in that celebration.
Kari says, “If you are reading this and wondering if you should get baptized, the answer is yes!”
The Worship Tribe is excited to announce their new CD, which engages listeners with an eclectic blend of genres that collectively draws us into the presence of Jesus.
Set to release in February, the album has been more than a year in the making. Ben Kennedy, Severn Run’s Worship Pastor, says, “With this CD, we’re putting the boat into the water. We’ll be on the river for a long time, but this album is a starting point. A way to show folks where we are right now and who we are as a church. Just as our fathers in the faith marked parts of their journeys with a monument or altar, we are marking this part of our journey in the life of The Church at Severn Run with the Worship Tribe CD”.
With 15-20 Severn Run Worship Tribe musicians contributing and involved in the making of music on the CD, it is truly a collaborative effort and a home grown product. The CD has not been altered by commercial or industry big shots and is a true reflection of the body of believers at Severn Run.
Featured on the CD are ballads, hymns, dance music, anthems, and even hip-hop. There’s something for everyone. “Not every song is an anthem, but every person needs to find their anthem”, shares Pastor Ben.
We love our uniquely diverse congregation and the album consists of songs that appeal to people across cultures and economics, to the young and old, those who are spiritually mature, or new believers. Through this music we are united as followers of Jesus.
The Worship Tribe hopes that the CD will be used as an evangelism tool. A Severn Runner, can simply use it as a conversation starter. Not every church’s worship team makes a CD, so the fact that ours has, is kind of cool. When you invite someone to church and they’re not sure what to expect, you can point them to the CD. In this way, they can get a feel of what worship on a Sunday morning will feel like: fun, uplifting, and Christ-focused.
Keep an eye out for the drop date for the CD. We are so proud of our Worship Tribe and the love they’ve poured into this project. We can’t wait to see how God uses the CD to further his kingdom!