Be Brilliant: Why Worship?

Be Brilliant: Why Worship?

-A Factual Look at Why Worship Works

Have you every wondered why there is so much musical worship in a church service?

You might be that person that always feels awkward. You can’t carry a tune for your life. Singing is just painful. Maybe you’ve decide to just show up late and hit church for the message. Hey better something than nothin’, right?

Now to clarify worship is more than music. Louie Giglio defines worship this way, Worship is our response, both personal and corporate, to God for who He is, and what He has done; expressed in and by the things we say and the way we live. I love that definition.

But for our intents today, we are going to look at why God invites us to respond to Him in musical worship each and every week from a research-based, non-spiritual perspective.

I asked the question, “What are the benefits of music on our brains and bodies,” and did a little research. I found out that God is really smart. Obviously I wasn’t surprised, but His coolness continues to increase in my heart and mind. This is not the whole biblical perspective of musical worship but it has proven to be an intriguing angle to think about.

Boiled down here are the three take aways that might change the way you perceive and participate in worship.

  1. FOCUS
  2. FEELING
  3. FUNCTION

First off, FOCUS. Music stimulates and shifts our focus. Research out of Stanford cites that music moves the brain to pay attention. Another Finnish study shows that the entire brain lights up when listening to music. Bottom line, musical worship helps us fix our focus.

Second, FEELING. Music is proven to bridge the brain and the heart. It helps us feel emotion. Music makes us feel good. Stimulates creativity. Moves our bodies. CNN recently reported of a study in the Journal Trends of Cognitive Sciences. Patients who were about to undergo surgery where randomly selected to either take anti-anxiety drugs or listen to music. The results: The patients who listened to music had less anxiety and lower cortisol than people who took drugs.

(Hmm…Do you think God might desire to lower your anxiety by fixing your focus on Him through worship every 7 days? Sounds cheaper than a massage. Just sayin’. But don’t mention to my husband and I won’t mention to yours. We will keep this between us. 😉 )

Third, FUNCTION. Music unites people. Normally, one would not bang down the doors to be with 20,000 other strangers. But put them in an arena with Adele and you have a whole different scenario. In a study out of Standform University of Medicine, Levitin stated, “There’s this unifying force that comes from the music, and we don’t get that from other things.” Musical worship brings a group of people together as one.

Throughout all time and around the world, music has helped humanity focus, feel, and function. Now combine that impact with an All-powerful, Almighty, present, and persistent God. Who gave up His divinity to dwell with us. Who saw the weight of the cross and was still willing. Who underwhelmed death and overcame the grave. All to be present with you and I.

What do you think our expectation of our next musical worship experience should be?

I’d say, somewhere above where it is today, don’t you think?

Last Sunday I led the musical worship portion at our church. (Yes I am one of those people.) Truthfully, it is stressful for me leading up to the service. Leading the band, remembering the lyrics, knowing the music, yada yada. Rehearsal is often my least favorite. That is when it feels like work.

But this Sunday during our rehearsal, my three year old little girl was in the auditorium listening to us. She was standing at a distance for the longest time. But then I started to sing a song that I have been playing in our house, called King of My Heart. It has a line that goes, “You are good, good, oh…”

As I sang those words, she ran on stage, wrapped her arms around my legs, and gave me the biggest hug. Instantaneously, my mind was flooded with the memory of sitting by her in NICU after she was born. I couldn’t touch her but I could sing. And sing I did.

I broke down in tears with the realization that a prayer for her health from that NICU has become a praise to the faithfulness of the Lord. And I was overcome. It was a sacred moment. I felt God’s presence penetrate my heart. My focus shifted. My heart felt deeply. And let’s just say, the band and I bonded.

The beauty of corporate worship is that many hearts get to raise one prayer, one praise, up to the Father with one voice. It is power-filled. Hope-filling. Unifying and aligning.

This weekend, let us expect to encounter the Living God whether we sing or not. Oh how brilliant we will become when we experience His glory together.

But before you move on, spend a brief moment saying, singing, or pondering these beautiful words of brilliant worship.

Silent Night Holy Night

Son of God love’s pure light

Radiant beams from they Holy face

With the dawn of redeeming grace

Jesus Lord at thy birth

Jesus Lord at they birth

About Erin Nicole Thompson

Erin Nicole Thompson is a fun-loving and authentic momma to 4 littles, wife of a ruggedly handsome Pastor, and as she likes to think, the CEO of her home operations. She delights in worship, cooking with good music, the sweet faces of her sleeping children, adult conversations, and some quiet time at Starbucks. She loves to serve alongside, encourage, and equip young and seasoned women. Erin is grateful to be part of what God is doing at The Chapel, a multi-campus church in Northern Chicago-land where her husband, Dave, pastors the Lake Zurich Campus. Presently, she lives to dream and follow God as he writes her story.