the baby and the bathwater

September 28, 2009, 7:24 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

The primary purpose of the church is to worship God. Not to make disciples. Not to run community projects. Not to run Alpha courses. Not to serve the poor. Not to heal the sick. Not to run conferences. Not to create leadership networks. Not to establish small groups. Not to engage with world mission. Not to evangelise the nations. It’s primary purpose is to worship.

Writing those words makes me feel uncomfortable.

You may even more so feel uncomfortable reading them.

But I recon they are true.

I feel uncomfortable with such words because they may make me look as though I am not missional, not servant hearted, not compassionate. And of course I want to be all those things. And, truth be known, I possibly even want to be recognised for being all those things. But I have to face up to it. My primary purpose as a follower of the King is to worship the King. Sing to Him. Adore Him. Lift my hands to Him.

You see, it is so easy to move very quickly on from saying

‘our primary purpose is to worship God’


‘and this also means serving the poor, healing the sick, evangelising the nations…’.

In fact it almost needs to happen in the same sentence to avert accusations of poor theology. In fact almost all standard worship teaching will do that. Otherwise it wouldn’t be sound would it?

But maybe we should all pause a little longer in that place – that place of adoration of God without any expressed intention to move on and out. That place where we stand before God and sing, and have no other purpose in that moment other than blessing His heart with the sound of our songs. Maybe we need to pause in that uncomfortable place, leaving ourselves open to accusations of extravagance, lavishness, inactivity, just a little bit longer than we are doing at the moment.

Because if the church looses sight of it’s primary function – to worship God – then it will start to die from the inside out. The disciples will start to disperse. The community projects will start to wind down. The Alpha course will close. The poor will increase. The sick will perish. The conference will fall into financial ruin. The leadership network will implode. The small group will cease to meet. And world mission will stop dead in it’s tracks.

Now that would be uncomfortable.


4 Comments so far
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[…] Bennetts calls us to remember our primary purpose, and to linger there a while before moving on to other […]

Pingback by wordandspirit » Some Links

Hey – I’d lost sight of you for a while there, so I’ve been doing some catch up reading…

Of course, Jesus kind of agrees with you.

Except he allows even less room between what we call worship and mission, and he just calls love. Don’t you think? I mean, when asked for the greatest commandment, (“Primary function” is so more 21st century, but it’s crisps and chips really) he clearly says “worship” as he quotes Moses:

Love God. Completely.

But he can’t leave it there. He’s asked for one commandemnt and has to give two, cos one by itself is – stunningly – incomplete. Love God –

And, like it, love people.

The longer I live, the more I get that it’s not the first bit that’s the worship, it’s the “all of it”. If I love God, I love the things he loves – us. If Jesus can’t put that into a different category, then…

Comment by Marcus Green

Hey Marcus – great to have you commenting.
Of course you are right. Anyone who has decided to love God just can’t leave it there. But…maybe if I put it another way…if we stop ‘loving god’ all else becomes almost impossible.

Comment by Neil Bennetts

Early Januray I had 2 dreams. First was of someone giving birth. Happy and good event! Next night was of a marriage. Another happy and good event. I woke and God said ‘They are the wrong way round’. We need to get the love relationship first and then bear the fruit!

Comment by Jan Mungeam

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