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Watch Matt Boswell, Shane Barnard, and me discuss the implications and applications of worship that is shaped by the gospel.

If you’re interested more in this subject, I have also authored a resource published by The Gospel Coalition in conjunction with The Good Book Company called Gospel Shaped Worship, designed for group and class study in your church or small group.

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3 thoughts on “What Is Gospel-Shaped Worship?”

  1. Collin says:

    I appreciate that the conversation pushes us to understand how the gospel informs our worship, but would you agree that that phraseology only gets us so far? From church to church in evangelicalism – even “solid” churches – there’s going to be a wide understanding of what exactly the gospel is. For instance, let’s say a church wants to affirm that Christ’s second coming is a vital part of the gospel message. Should that simply inform the content of some of the songs? Or, since it’s the “end” of the gospel story, should some act that reminds us of or mimics the second coming come at the end of the service? Or, since worship in itself affirms Christ’s reign, should we simply assume our observance of his return simply by coming to worship? I think the discussion is more concrete and helpful when we turn to things like the rule of worship, or the regulative principle. But to have a conversation about the what’s and how’s of worship without mentioning them seems like a major oversight, particularly as Protestants. The phrasing of gospel-shaped worship (I think) is meant to help us do worship without making it about us, still leaves the door pretty wide open for the kinds of innovations that, in my experience, inevitably shift the worship away from God. My background is in churches that tended toward innovation and elaboration in worship practices, and the burden that that laid on my conscience as a growing believer was intolerable. The rule of worship/regulative principle is precisely for that reason, so that wearied saints are guarded from practices (whether in content or in form) that are unbiblical and freed to received God’s promised grace each week. Again, much of the video’s conversation is helpful, and it’s clearly important to talk about specifics like calls to worship, etc. But I think returning to wise, old worship principles like the rule of worship not only makes the discussion more concrete, but also challenges us to see if we’re really committed to sola Scriptura in our faith AND practice.

    One other question: if our understanding that the WHOLE service is worship (not just the music portions) comes from the view that all of life is worship, and that understanding is distilled down to Sunday, how do we talk about corporate worship without making it sound like it’s just like the rest of the week, only more intense?

  2. Jill says:

    I was hoping to hear something specific in this talk but it was all very general and broad. … a tent talk …. covers everything but touches nothing. I’m concerned about the direction of worship in church these last 20 years, the casting away of what has been enduring for decades and centuries in favor of entertainment, simply to be appealing to a certain segment of people. I don’t believe that is Biblical. I was hoping that would be addressed in your talk.

    1. Jared C. Wilson says:

      Jill, very sorry. It was only meant to be an introductory-type conversation, something short and point-raising that could be shared easily online and watched by people scrolling through social media feeds, not a full sermon or treatise. You could check out my book mentioned in the post for a more in-depth look.

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Jared C. Wilson

Jared C. Wilson is the Director of Content Strategy for Midwestern Seminary, managing editor of For The Church, director of The Pastoral Training Center at Liberty Baptist Church, and author of more than ten books, including Gospel Wakefulness, The Pastor’s Justification, and The Prodigal Church. You can follow him on Twitter.

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