Idolatry in Corporate Worship

You will have perhaps seen the new banner on the front page of our website.  We are finally going public with our vision for church planting in the new housing developments near Trumpington, Cambridge.  It’s an exciting time for us as a church.

Part of the process of considering the church plant involves, for us at least, weighing up the impact such a project will have back at base.  Who might we send?  Where will the gaps in our various ministries be?  Can we cope with such a sacrifice and will God provide for our needs?

God has always proved faithful to us in our previous church planting endeavours.  We thank God for His provision for us and our sister congregations – Grace Church in the north of the city, and Hope Community Church in Teversham, south of the city.  Yet still, we want to carefully and prayerfully consider the costs for this new adventure.

One important area of church life that has been impacted by each church plant, and may well be again, is our corporate worship.  When we gather as a church on Sunday mornings and evenings, we aspire to preach, pray, sing, and do all things as well as we can for the glory of God.  We want the Bible to shape all we do; we want to honour God by being orderly in all we do; we want to ‘fix our eyes on Jesus Christ’ in all we do.  Yet to do these things in practice, we are dependent on good folks participating, good folks some of whom may be sent with a church plant.

It is into this mindset – the above seems to dominate my thoughts and prayers at the moment as perhaps they should – that I came across this great article by Bob Kauflin, Director of Sovereign Grace Music.  Reading it helped me see afresh where those idols in my heart are with regard to our corporate worship at Rock, and helped me fix again on what really matters to God.

“Little children, keep yourselves from idols,” John ends his first letter. In other words, don’t see anything but God’s glory in Christ as the source of your greatest joy, deepest satisfaction, and highest authority.

Idolatry can be active in my heart even when I’m gathered with the church. Whenever I think I can’t meet with God unless “X” is present, I’m making a profound statement. If “X” is anything other than Jesus Christ, and his Holy Spirit, I’ve moved into idolatrous territory.

We move forward in considering church planting trusting that God will provide, and prayerful too that God will impress upon us afresh just what really matters in church life and corporate worship.  Soli Deo Gloria, as the old Latin-loving saints used to say.