The Worship Quote of the Week for (08/26/2003):

How Did the Service Go?
Have you ever asked someone about a recent church service? "How did the service go?" you might have asked. What do we mean by such a question? How would we answer if someone asked us about a service we had just attended, or one we had just led? Today’s WORSHIP QUOTE makes me think about proper criteria of judging Christian worship.

When we gather in our meetings, we do not come to see how the speaker and other leaders do. We are not checking their performance. We come to encounter the Trinitarian presence and to hold them [the service leaders] up within it. This is our expectation. In Paul’s language, we are "determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified" (1 Corinthians 2:2). We expect to find Christ in others and that is ALL we are looking for. We don’t worship "worship" or a fine service or impeccable teaching or fine-looking people.

Far too often we approach our gathering together all prepared to major on minors. Our attitude is captured by the children’s rhyme:

Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been?
I’ve been to London, to see the great Queen.
Pussy cat, pussy cat, what saw you there?
I saw a wee mouse under her chair.

Why consider the wee mouse, when your eyes could be on the Queen, whom supposedly, you went to see anyway? Why look at some aspect of performance—some "vessel" matter, no doubt—when you could come to Jesus in the midst?

—Dallas Willard, RENOVATION OF THE HEART: PUTTING ON THE CHARACTER OF CHRIST (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2002), p. 247. ISBN 1-57683-296-1. Many of author’s writings in philosophy and religion are available from his web site:

[Visit the WQOTW author index at for several other great quotes on worship by Dallas Willard.]

Have a great week.

Chip Stam
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Music and Worship
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Louisville, Kentucky