The Best Way To End A Worship Set
Every week, countless worship leaders sit down and choose the songs their church will sing.
What truths will we declare?
What mighty acts of God will we celebrate?
What promises will we cling to?
We carefully order these songs in a way we hope will draw our church family toward Jesus.
Unfortunately, our times of singing often end before we've reached our final destination. We've stopped short of our final goal. We end without fulfilling the ultimate purpose of our gathering.
Our Final Goal
I strongly believe that every worship set should end with pure ascription. A time of vertical worship. A moment that celebrates and honors God simply for Who He is.
"Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength!
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His Name,
Bring an offering, and come into His courts!
Worship the Lord in the Splendor of holiness
tremble before him, all the earth!" - Psalm 96:7-9
Pastor James MacDonald describes vertical worship this way:
"Nothing about me, everything about God; nothing about God's actions on our behalf, only about His exalted splendor and surpassing beauty. No benefit to us other than the joy of being lost in Who we've found."
Songs of praise and worship come in many different forms.
1. Songs About God
Songs about God are not songs of Pure Ascription. When we worship vertically we sing directly to God. Singing from our heart to His. Singing as if He is in the room with us, because He is!
2. Song About Who We Are In Christ
Songs about our position are not songs of Pure Ascription. The end goal of our sung worship time is not to draw attention to who we are but to focus on Who God is.
3. Songs of Surrender and Confessions of Devotion
Songs of Surrender are not songs of Pure Ascription. The end goal of a sung worship time moves beyond placing ourselves in the story. We want to place God at the very center. Vertical Worship contains very few, if any, personal pronouns like "I", "me", or "my".
4. Songs About What God Has Done For Me
Songs about what we have gained are not songs of Pure Ascription. The end goal of a sung worship time is not ultimately to declare what God has done for us. Our end goal is to worship Him simply because He is worthy of our worship, aside from any personal benefit we receive from Him.
5. Songs of Encouragement Toward One Another
Songs of encouragement are not songs of Pure Ascription. The end goal of a sung worship time is not ultimately to encourage one another in Christ but rather to set our eyes directly on Christ. The ultimate source of our courage.
I enjoy and appreciate all of the songs I've listed above. I've lead many of them at my church. However, if we never get to a place of vertical worship, of pure ascription, we've missed something very important.
Songs of pure ascription are hard to come by. Almost every song contains at least a hint of ourselves or horizontal communication. Our vocabulary for total worship to God is limited.
Some songs that trend heavily toward vertical worship are:
We want to move beyond the horizontal into the vertical. Beyond singing to one another or signing about ourselves to lifting our eyes toward heaven. We want to arrive at a place of vertical worship. A place where God alone is honored and adored.
The next time you sit down to prepare a worship set don't stop short of your final destination.