Adapted from the blog post "A Theology of Worship" by Kevin DeYoung. The full article can be found here.
There is nothing more important in life than worship. We all worship something or someone. The only question is whether we will worship the right One in the right way. At Westwood Baptist Church we want all of life to be worship to God (Rom. 12:1-2; 1 Cor. 10:31). He is worthy to receive glory and honor and power (Rev. 4:11). In particular, we want our worship services on Sunday to be pleasing to Him. To gather with God’s people on the Lord’s Day to worship at God’s throne under the authority of God’s word is our solemn duty and joyful privilege.
It is with that supreme goal in mind that we hold to these values when it comes to our corporate worship:
Glory to God – Worship is ultimately for Him. He is the most important audience at every service.
Edifying to God’s people – Corporate worship must build up the body of Christ. Believers should be equipped, comforted, and exhorted.
Understandable – New words and concepts may be introduced, but the service should be intelligible to both Christians and non-Christians.
Biblical – The whole service teaches God’s people, so everything—the prayers, the songs, the preaching—must be biblical. We like the saying: in worship we read the Bible, preach the Bible, pray the Bible, sing the Bible, and see the Bible dramatized in the ordinances. Everything in our service, including our songs are unapologetically Word based.
Emphasizing the ordinary means of grace – God can work in many ways, but he has committed to being with us and transforming us through certain “means of grace.” He communes with us through prayer, through the word, and through the ordinances of the Lord’s Supper and Baptism. Our services emphasize these ordinary means whereby God promises to give us more grace.
Expositional preaching – The central act in the worship service is the preaching of God’s word. We believe this is best accomplished through the careful, Spirit-filled exposition of Scripture. Normally, this means we work systematically through a book of the Bible, verse by verse. Every sermon will flow from Scripture and proclaim the gospel of Christ’s death and resurrection.
Thoughtful – Every church has a liturgy (an order of service). Our service is typically based on a four-point outline of the gospel: God, Man, Christ, and Response.
Historical – The Church has been thinking about how to worship for centuries. We want to learn from our spiritual ancestors and build on their models. To that end, we regularly employ creeds, confessions, catechisms, responsive readings, and other forms that have been common in church history.
Mixing old and new – We believe there are new songs to be sung to Jesus. We also believe there is a great heritage of church music that we should embrace. You’ll find that our services use music from different genres and different centuries. It can be fast, loud, slow, or soft. We use a variety of instruments, everything from guitars and drums and violins. In all this, the most important sound is that of the congregation singing.
Prayerful – Our services include several different prayers. Often you will find a prayer of confession because we sin every week and need gospel mercy every week.