One of the things I have been trying to understand is how the church exists week to week within the UK. Church in the UK continues to decline and in a small way I've been trying to figure out why that might be. I don't think there is one answer. I don't think there are simple answers. One thing I would say however is that maybe one of the reasons is because of where our understanding of worship is.
So often the church in the West organises itself around what happens on a Sunday. So everything is geared up around this time when everyone meets together to worship God together. Now meeting together is a good thing and something Scripture tells us we must continue in. But I wonder whether our understanding of what that worship consists of is one of the issues.
I do not believe worship is something that purely happens on Sunday morning, but that it is a way of life. Worship is what we should do with our whole being at all times in all situations.
I believe that mission is a means through which we worship God. It is not merely a fruit of worship, but a means through which we worship. It is an expression of our love for God and our love for others. Mission is a continuation in the ministry of Christ. 'As the Father sent me so I send you'. Mission is worship.
The church should be committed to preaching the Gospel as a way thorough which it declares its love for God. So when we meet together, our worship needs to reflect God's heart to see that 'none should perish.'
And surely Communion is at its very heart a meal of mission? 'For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.' As we share in this meal we are worshipping God and participating in Christ. And surely, if we are participating in Christ we are participating with him in his ministry to reconcile all things?
So much of the church in the West is more concerned with what happens in the four walls of our buildings rather than being concerned about the people outside of it. The Incarnation reveals to us a God who is deeply concerned about all that he has created and therefore became a part of that creation in order to redeem it. We therefore should have equal concern (if that were possible). As soon as mission comes of our radar and is merely something that we hope will happen as a result of worship then we're in trouble. But when mission is realised to be a part of our worship then I believe the church will be in a better place before God.