Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God. (Ex. 19:17)

Modern presidents seldom attend worship services in Washington, DC for security reasons, but years ago the practice was somewhat more common. Some of the churches near the White House even have pews marked with plaques identifying their historic occupants. The pastor of one such church once took a call from someone who wanted to know whether the president would be there the following Sunday. “We really don’t know,” he replied, “but we expect God to be here, and that should be reason enough to attend!”

Christians have seen a lot of changes in worship styles across the years. The rise in contemporary worship is not only the latest but probably the greatest example, perhaps since the Reformation. Three-fourths of all churches in the United States and Canada now offer either contemporary worship or a blended service that mixes traditional and contemporary elements.

But one thing must never change. Whatever style our worship takes, the purpose of worship is to meet with God. High-tech production values cannot be allowed to take center stage, nor can acoustic simplicity or old-fashioned gospel songfests or highly publicized celebrity testimonies. God and God alone is worthy of center stage.

What some have called “the wow factor” in worship is no substitute for wonder—the wonder that fills the soul when we meet the Lord.

In worship, prepare for an encounter with the living God.

Bob Black is professor emeritus of religion at Southern Wesleyan University, where he served for thirty-two years. Along with Keith Drury, he co-authored the denominational history, The Story of The Wesleyan Church.

© 2020 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.

Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.