Worship is an innate principle that belongs to God’s rational creatures. It is expressed by attributing worthiness to their object of worship, the triune God.  The first principle of God-centered worship is that it must be offered to God through the Mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, the worship of an unbeliever will not be acceptable to God.   I have visited dozens of worship services in a variety of denominations located in the eastern half of the United States over the past thirty years.  The evidence indicates that church leadership formulates worship principles based on pragmatism rather than the Word of God.  The first error is inviting people to church.  About twenty years ago I was talking to a friend who was a professor at a well known seminary.  I told my friend he ought to tell his students to “stop going to church!”  Pastors ought to stop inviting people to church and start insisting that professing Christians attend public collective worship. The second error is planning a worship service that will please the audience.  The worship service ought to follow the teaching of Scripture.  The Puritans called it the regulative principle of worship.  It would be far better to do the task of evangelism outside of the worship service and then invite converts to worship.

Since all individual believers constitute the church, it is impossible for the church to go to church.  The church may gather or assemble for a variety of reasons including Bible study, fellowship, prayer, or worship.  Christians do not and cannot go to church.  The church can and should go to worship.

Liberal Arts Christian colleges, Bible colleges, and seminaries inculcate the idea to their students that Christians "go to church."  After 50 years of observation and 25 years of research, I conclude the reason for that is they do not understand the biblical purpose of the church.  It is to worship God.  Christian leaders focus their attention on evangelism, therapy for alleged mental aberrations, and other important disciplines for the church.  However, these are often treated as if they are the purpose of the church.  Not so!  Worship is the purpose of the church.  The mission of the church is to make disciples and teach holiness.  The ministry of the church is to follow the biblical prescription that will fulfill the purpose and mission.

Framework Productions published Pastor James Vickery’s book, His Presence in Worship, so that layman may rediscover the biblical meaning and practice of worship.  It is available on Amazon