20 Quotes | Corporate Worship

20 Quotes | Corporate Worship

Corporate Worship: How the Church Gathers as God’s People by Matt Merker. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Publishing, 2021.

Corporate Worship is a part of 9Marks Building Healthy Churches Series and is an excellent primer on the subject. Here are 20 Quotes that I found to be particularly helpful:

There’s a connection between how a congregation understands itself to be a church, and the way it worships as a church. (24)

Scripture teaches that there is a time “when you come together as a church” (1 Cor. 11:18). The whole gathering is “worship”, not just the singing and music. In the preaching, prayers, and everything in between, God ministers to and through the whole congregation for his own glory. (25)

Our corporate worship should demonstrate how we are distinct from the world… a church service is a gathering of “exiles” who belong to the same heavenly country (1 Peter 1:1)…a church is a preview of the coming new creation, a “time machine from the future.” If you want to see what the society of the redeemed will look like in the new heaven and new earth, you don’t need to look farther than any true church. (35-36)

Since the church is a foretaste of the new Jerusalem, our worship should exhibit our distinct nationality and the pleasant aroma of heaven. (38)

God gathers his people. If God has adopted you into his family, then he is the one who brings you to the family dinner table of corporate worship. (45)

A local church is an assembly. If a church never meets, it is no church at all…A meeting is, in part, what a church is. God has saved us as individuals to be a corporate assembly. (46)

Praise is the natural response of redeemed creatures…exaltation is the heartbeat of God’s gathered people. (62)

We become like what we worship…as a congregation beholds the true God through corporate worship characterized by gravity, gladness, and gratitude, it will become more and more like him. (64-65)

Church members should arrive in prayerful expectation that God intends to use them to bless someone else in need. (66-67)

Our gatherings should be evangelistic…We assemble with the expectation that God delights to give new life to the lost who attend our services through the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ… Exaltation and edification are not at odds with evangelism. They’re exactly what the Lord uses to convert unbelievers in our midst. (68, 71)

Even as we prioritize exaltation and edification, we should aim to make our services intelligible to unbelievers… Bryan Chapell’s approach is the right one: ‘We do not focus on seekers. We do not forget them, either.’ (74)

God, by his Word, governs what the church should do when it gathers…When planning the corporate gathering, we should take our cues not from culture, or from business manuals, or from so-called “successful” churches, but from God’s Word alone. (78, 91)

We should conceive of announcements not as an element of the worship gathering, but rather as a circumstance of meeting together. A natural part of gathering is informing the assembly about future meetings and other significant items of common interest. (88)

We should see the church’s worship service—the whole thing, not just the sermon, as a mass discipling activity. Mike Cosper says it well: “The gathering isn’t simply a single spiritual discipline; it’s a host of them. It’s a way of taking the experiences of prayer and worship, which we so often compartmentalize and individualize, and unifying them in the life of the congregation.” Since the gathering is such a powerful corporate discipling tool, we should treat the liturgy with care. (96)

God’s Word unites God’s people… The simple act of listening to God’s Word, with a shared commitment to believe and obey it, binds a church together. (117)

Singing is a part of each member’s ministry to the whole body. When you join a church, you join the choir. You become a steward [of your voice] for the spiritual vitality  of the body, a stewardship you fulfill in part by opening your mouth in song. (136)

Singing is a part of the ministry of God’s word… Because of this, I’d argue that a church’s elders should exercise oversight of song selection… Pastors must curate their church’s canon of songs with care, since songs are one of our most vital means of mutual Word ministry….sing only the best. (137, 141)

Prioritize the sound of the human voice…Church musicians aren’t performers; they’re servants. Their job is to accompany, elevate, and beautify the congregation’s ministry of song… If the volume and complexity of the accompaniment make it hard for people to hear themselves sing, the music ironically de-incentivizes hearty participation (141,142)

We should regularly consider if our church’s musical approach is keeping the good of the whole body in mind. Mike Cosper suggests that we view musical style through the lens of hospitality…there may be small adjustments we can make so that singing is more hospitable for a wide variety of members and visitors. (146)

The more mature a congregation, the better its corporate worship. (152)

Matt Merker (MDiv, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is director of creative resources and training for Getty Music and has contributed to several modern hymns, including “He Will Hold Me Fast.” Matt and his wife, Erica, live with their two children in Nashville, TN, where they are members of Edgefield Church.

Purchase a copy of Corporate Worship today (click here to see the item on Amazon).