Sandy Hill is committed to Worship as a Ministry and Lifestyle.  The following are four Foundational, Biblical principles concerning this commitment.  The following Philosophy of Worship Ministry describes Four Foundational Principles meant to guide and form Worship at SHCC.

 

1) Worship is about drawing closer to God through Jesus Christ

  • This means that our chief goal is to better know God so that we can better love Him, better praise Him, and better obey Him (Eph. 1:15-23)
  • This means that we are not the object of our worship.  (Hebrews 3:1)  The object of our worship must be of supreme value.  Therefore, we Worship God through Jesus Christ...the only one worthy of worship. (Rev.5:9-14)
  • This means that worship is not meant to serve our preferences, prejudices, or pleasures (Eph. 4:1-5)

2) Worship is about bringing glory and pleasure to God

The Bible teaches that one reason we were created was for worship.  (Eph. 1:4,12; Rev. 4:11; )  Every thought, every word, every action should be taken captive so to testifying to the Grace, Gospel, and Glory of the Lord.

  • We bring glory to God in Worship by exulting His character: Holiness, Righteousness, Power, Love, Grace, Infiniteness, Willingness to Save
  • We bring pleasure to God in Worship by Focusing On Him: (Psalm 34:1) Praise, Obedience, Prayer, Meditation upon Scripture, Adoration, Love 

3) Worship is both an Attitude of the Heart and a Work of the Holy Spirit

  • An Attitude of Surrender- Worshippers offer their lives in Submission to Christ (Romans 12:1-2) and Confess their sins (Romans 10:9) 
  • An Attitude of Gratitude- Worshippers see the incredible Goodness that God has shown to Provide and the infinite Restraint shown to Forgive (Psalm 139:17-18)
  • An Attitude of Humility- Worshippers know that they are sinners saved by grace (Eph. 2:8-9) and sustained only by God's hand (Psalm 144:3)
  • The Spirit helps Worshippers to Pray (Romans 8:26)
  • The Spirit convicts Worshippers of Sin (John 16:8-9)
  • The Spirit directs Worshippers thoughts to God (Gal. 5:16, 18, 25)

4) True Worship arises both out of a life Transformed by Christ and a life Conformed to Christ

A person who has been Transformed by a personal, saving relationship with Jesus Christ will worship God because they have been: 

  • Regenerated- The Restoration of the Image of God has taken place in them, wiping the slate clean and making them like Christ (Romans 6:5-11)
  • Redeemed- The Restoration of freedom from sin has taken place in them, and their debt of sin paid by the blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:13-19)
  • Reconciled- The Restoration of right relationship with God has taken place in them, uniting them through the Spirit of Christ (2 Cor. 5:17-21)

A person Conformed to the will and image of Christ will Worship God because:

  • They know their identity as a sinner saved by grace (Eph. 2:8-9)
  • They have the humble attitude of a servant like Christ (Phil. 2:5-11)
  • They have become "living sacrifices" dedicated to God (Romans 12:1-2) 

 

I offer Eight Worship Values dedicated to honoring the Four Foundational Principles and the Leadership Core Value of Extravagant Worship.

 

Worship at Sandy Hill should be:

God-Centered- Worship is not about us. (2 Kings 17:36; Mt. 22:37-38) 

  • Because Jesus is the only one worthy of worship, we focus our minds for praise, devotion, and adoration of Him (2 Cor.10:5; Mt. 28:18-20)     
  • People-Driven Preferences/Prejudices, Social Trends, and Personal Expectations cannot define Worship at Sandy Hill.  As Pete Sanchez has said, "We don't define Worship; Worship defines us."   

Biblical- The Bible will be the core of our Worship message, the compass directing our Worship planning, and the canon by which we evaluate our efforts:

  • The Bible is true (2 Tim. 2:16)
  • The Bible is our main source for knowing the person of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:3-4)
  • The Bible is full of the promises and prophesies God has kept.  It contains the story and plan of salvation through Jesus Christ (Heb. 1:1-2; Ps. 136)

Prayerful- A heart becomes prepared to Worship by being prayerfully prepared:

  • Continually Offering our Attitudes, Experiences, and Emotions to God
  • Continually Practicing the Manifest Presence of God -That is, the daily pursuit of encountering God, inviting Him to inhabit us, permitting Him to affect and transform us- (Psalm 89:15; 100:4; 105:4; John 15:1-17)
  • Being Continually Engaged, both Listening and Talking to God

(1 Thessalonians 5:17; Eph. 6:18)  

  • Being Continually Immersed in Prayers of Thanksgiving, Petition, and Intercession (Phil. 4:4-7) 

Evangelistic- Sandy Hill is committed to making Disciples for Jesus Christ.  So, there are three evangelistic elements we believe exist in Worship at Sandy Hill:

  • The Message- The Gospel of Jesus according to the Bible (1 Cor.15:3-8)
  • The Mission- Helping people become more like Jesus (Phil. 3:7-11) 
  • The Ministry- Expressing the Gospel in a manner that exults Jesus and points the way to Him (John 1:29-34; 3:30)

Joyful- The Psalms say over and over again, "Shout for joy to the Lord, all the Earth."  It is essential that our Worship be joyful and we seek to be filled with joy:

  • Because it is "Fruit of the Spirit" (Gal. 5:22)
  • Because believers in Jesus are free from sin and free to live for God
  • Because the Lord is good; He is light and in Him there is no darkness
  • Because people who don't know Jesus must see that He fills His people with joy.  The world must know that Christ-follows have reason to rejoice. 

Relevant- Relevance in Worship (especially corporate worship) is a way of saying that everything presented is done so in a language, method, and cultural setting that is Understandable, Meaningful, and Enjoyable to those whom we are both trying to reach for Christ and grow in Christ (Romans 10:14)

Relevance is also about Worship being Interactive so that many talents can be incorporated and broad participation is encouraged (1 Cor. 12:12-26):

  • Multiple Generations- For example, we do not want to leave out one generation in total deference to another (Psalm 145:4)
  • Multiple Cultures- For example, the community around Sandy Hill is diverse in its cultural backgrounds (educational, ethnic, economic).  So, Sandy Hill should be diverse in its Culture of Worship (music, language, sign, dance)   
  • Multiple Religious Backgrounds- For example, we seek to incorporate elements that appeal to both the Spiritually young and mature so that people at all points on the Spiritual continuum can grow and contribute

Creative- Creativity in Worship is an important element because:

  • God is a creative God, and when we create beautiful expressions for His honor and glory, we are acting in His image (Gen. 1-2)
  • Creativity requires deep thought, extensive time spent in Study, (Studying the living Word Jesus and the written Word the Bible), and gifted Artistry
  • Creativity is something that can be expressed through every gift   

Excellent- (Col. 3:16-17) Excellence in Worship does not mean expecting perfection and allowing only paid professionals to participate.  It does not mean that everything must be scripted, sterile, and removed from the active presence of the Holy Spirit.  It does not mean that the purpose is creating an entertaining show.  What Excellence in Worship does mean is that it is always:

  • Prayerfully Planned- When Services of Worship are a God-led endeavor, they will be humble, beautiful, meaningful, and Spiritually rich
  • Thoroughly Rehearsed- Rehearsal helps the leaders to focus on God and the message instead of technique and fundamentals.  It prevents embarrassing distractions from poor execution.  
  • Skillfully Presented- When people's gifts are used artistically and skillfully to praise God, it is a pleasing offering to God (1 Peter 2:5; Mt..22:37) and, the rest of the body will praise God as these offerings are made.

 

"We need...to welcome any worship that helps churches produce disciples of Jesus Christ.  We need to welcome the experimental creativity that is always searching out new ways and banish the fear that grips us when the familiar passes away.  For this kind of change is the mark of a living church- the church of a living God, who relentlessly ranges back and forth across the face of the earth seeking out any who would respond to His voice." (Michael Hamilton)