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What is a True Worshipper

By May 4, 2023May 17th, 2023No Comments

I grew up in, what is classically called, a high church worship environment. Meaning a church with a strong liturgical, antiphonal, and traditional hymn singing service. I grew up Lutheran. I thought that’s what every church did on Sunday.

In university and afterwards, I attended all types of churches with every imaginable style of worship—antiphonal reading, rock and roll, contemporary, and hymnal churches. It was interesting to say the least.

Because of my eclectic background, I’ve shied away from being overly critical of any style. Though I have folks in my church who do critique our worship, especially sound levels, I am quite satisfied with hearing their arguments and agreeing with them on many points.

Worship is not about Singing

You may not know this, but worship is actually not exclusively about singing songs. I know that because Jesus never even mentions it in his discussion about the topic.  Worship is an attitude of the heart. In one of the only clear passages in the New Testament exclusively dealing with worship, Jesus says to a Samaritan woman, “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24).

How dare Jesus to not even mention music styles.

Jesus says He’s searching for true worshippers, then He explains quite clearly what that means. Worship, according to Jesus, involves two things: Spirit and truth. It seems that Jesus is more concerned about the direction of one’s heart than the volume of one’s voice.

Spirit to spirit 

In my understanding of this passage, Jesus is saying that worship is a Spirit-to-spirit connection with God. Jesus wants us to relate to Him, through our spirit being in contact with His Spirit. It’s a spiritual intimacy of heart to heart and Spirit to spirit. It’s a love relationship. It’s more than a cognitive connection.

Worship is about intimacy with God. I have come to believe that a love relationship with God through the Holy Spirit is where true intimacy lies. True intimacy with God is worship. Until we learn this truth, we will only have a surface relationship with Jesus.  This is where music comes in. One could argue that music, intimate music, opens our heart. Music can be the heart’s means for deep love to be expressed. Thus, the type of music one worships with is different for each person. But the goal is heart to heart connection, music is only the means.


Jesus also instructs us that worship involves truth. Believing and acting on truth is the other side of the equation. Relating to God through the truth of Scripture is massively important in worship. When I’m reading and believing the truth of the Bible, I’m worshipping Jesus. When I’m living truth with my lifestyle, I’m worshipping Jesus.

This is why lyrics matter in our songs. Deep biblically sound, theologically robust songs are what connects our spirit to truth. Worshipping Spirit to spirit, in truth, is true worship.

Thus, true worshippers worship with their heart and their mind. I want to always be a man who loves God with his heart and his mind. Only singing songs is not enough.  Only studying the Bible is not enough. True worshippers, the kind Jesus is searching for, worship in spirit and truth.

The question for all of us to grapple with is, “Am I a true worshipper?”

Pastor Steve