For faith to be embodied—to show others Christ by the way we act in faith—may only go so far. For others to gain a true knowledge of God, their taste of Christianity should be one of experiencing God himself—allowing the Holy Spirit to interact. This is perhaps the greatest of all apologetics.
Tim Morey, in “Embodying the Faith,” explains it this way:
“Something very powerful takes place when God’s people gather to worship…we come face to face with the mysterious reality that there is One greater in our midst….Here followers of Jesus are slowly but definitely shaped in their spiritual formation, and for those outside the faith the worship gathering can serve as a powerful experiential apologetic.”
Both Old and New Testaments indicate that through worship, the reality of God can be made known by both the saint and the sinner. For today’s churches, we need to remain focused on inviting God’s presence and inspiring the congregation to worship God. We must be careful not to cross the sometimes blurred line into musical entertainment. Morey writes that for some of the Baby Boom churches, creating an atmosphere of entertainment helped attract the prodigals back to church; to show them that Christianity could be ‘cool’ and ‘hip.’ Today, seekers want to go beyond this, to see if this God of ours is real.
Morey said that his congregation at Life Covenant Church in Torrance, Ca. has come to value simplicity in worship. “Our goal is simply to communicate God’s revelation as clearly as we can, and then provide space for people to respond.”
Elements Life Covenant Church incorporates into its worship services include prayer; music; teaching and preaching; communion; giving; story; reading and praying the Psalms; regularly incorporating ancient prayers, writings, creeds and classic hymns; times of meditation, solitude and silence; artistic expression; and an emphasis on a formal benediction which reminds the gathered that they are the church who are now being dispersed into the world. Life Covenant also encourages meals among its congregants as a way to draw closer to each other—which Morey considers itself an act of worship.
Morey only gives these as examples, and does not state that he insists all churches follow the exact same suit. But as Morey writes in the chapter’s conclusion, above all, our way of worship must be sincere. “In worship, we bring God the praise he deserves, and as we do so, believers are shaped into the image of Christ and inquirers experience the present reality of God in a unique way.”
It is no secret that an untrue worship experience–that is, worship without experiencing the very presence of God–and only treating Christianity from a legalistic standpoint can be harmful to those whom we are trying to witness, even to our ourselves and to our own family. Our worship experience and our relationship with God should be included as part of our apologetic. For one such person, legalism and strict memorization of apologetic material were the only forms of Christianity she experienced. This backfired. Read her story here.