This topic is adapted from the PursueGOD Worship YouTube channel.
Romans 12 is important in shaping our view of what it means to worship God. Even though it was written in the first century, the practical advice that Paul gives on how to worship is still applicable to Christians today. While every Christian should pay attention to the advice that is given in Romans 12, those participating on worship teams should be especially attentive, because worship leading impacts the entire church family. How you treat one another and behave has a profound impact on everyone who walks through the doors of your church for a worship service. Let’s look at four main principles from Romans 12 that will help you create a healthy worship environment in your church.
Verses 1-2: Worship Is a Whole-Life Response
If you want to genuinely worship God while you are at church, you have to worship Him when you aren’t at church. If you are not worshiping God with your whole life, how will you truly be able to worship Him while at church? True worship is not something that you turn on and off like a light. William Temple sums what it means to “be a living sacrifice to God” in this statement:
“Worship is the submission of all of our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness, nourishment of mind by His truth, purifying of imagination by His beauty, opening of the heart to His love, and submission of will to His purpose. And all this gathered up in adoration is the greatest of human expressions of which we are capable.”
Read your Bible to get to know God better and pray that He would help you think and act in a way that is pleasing to Him. Pray that He would use you for His purposes and not your own; both at church and outside of church. If you do this, your full-life worship will spill over into your ministry and bless everyone you interact with.
Verses 3-5: Humility Fosters Unity
Each person has a uniquely important job within your worship ministry and each of those jobs should be consistently appreciated, along with your own. But be careful, because you can run into trouble when you start to think that your job is more important than the jobs of those around you. Arrogance is an ugly trait in the sight of God. It is for this reason that you should strive to have a heart of humility in how you view yourself.
James 4:6 …God opposes the proud but favors the humble.
Value others’ gifts and abilities just as much as your own. This means that you may not get your way, and that is okay! Ultimately you have to understand that it is about Jesus not us. Just as Jesus came humbly to the earth to serve, you should do the same. If you do this, you will have more unity with those around you; and unity in Christ will make or break a ministry. Remember that we are all one body working together, so seek to be united in purpose and put other people above yourself.
Verses 6-8: Use Your Gifts Well and Work Hard
Everyone has been gifted in a certain way. You may be a great singer, a great guitarist, a great sound person, or a number of other things. Regardless of what you have been gifted with, you need to understand that these gifts were given to you in grace, which means you didn’t deserve them! But because God loves you, He gives you things that you can do well. Also realize that your gifts were given by God to strengthen those around you. So, in a way, your gift is actually for someone else’s benefit. Use your gifts to benefit those around you, and at the same time work hard at refining your gifts. Never feel like you have “arrived” to where you need to be, but continue to ask God, as well as those around you, how you can grow in your abilities.
Verses 9-21: Love Others
The last and most emphasized point Paul ends on is the command to love one another. Don’t just say that you love someone, but demonstrate that you really love them. The way to do this really comes down to what Jesus says in Matthew 7.
Matthew 7:12 So in everything, do unto others as you would have them do unto you, for this sums up the law and the prophets.
Everyone in your ministry will make mistakes at one time or another, so you need to make sure you are reacting the way you would want others to act towards you. So, before you get angry at someone for doing something wrong, think through how you would want them to address you if you made a mistake, and then treat them that way. If you treat others well, chances are they will treat you well in return. However, even if people don’t treat you well in return, you should still continue to treat them well.
Romans 12:17-18 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.
So make it a goal to actively pray for each other, honor each other, be patient with each other, serve each other, and help each other any chance that you get. Doing these things will help create a culture of true worship to God and bring about unity in your ministry.
- Invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is your initial reaction to this article? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
- Based on reading through this chapter, what do you think it means to be a “living sacrifice to God”?
- Do you feel like you worship God while you aren’t at church? Explain. Name some ways that you do/can worship God in your everyday life.
- What is your role in the worship ministry? Explain why your role is important.
- What would it look like if everyone in your worship ministry thought their role was more important than everyone else’s? How can you keep from letting that happen?
- Describe what it would look like if your ministry was perfectly united. What are some steps that you can take to accomplish this unity?
- Read Romans 6-8. Referring to the gifts you have been given, Paul brings about the idea that you are to use them “well” and “gladly”, as well as take them “seriously”. Do you feel like you are using your gifts to the best of your ability? Explain.
- What does it look like for you to work hard and serve in the Lord enthusiastically within the context of your worship ministry?
- Read Romans 9-18. Based on these verses, define what it means to truly love someone else.
- Recall a time/situation where someone made a mistake that directly affected you. How did you handle the situation?
- On a scale of 1-10, how unified is your worship ministry? Explain.
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.