Below you will find the study questions for the Purposed Heart DVD series. The questions are framed as discussion questions for a group. If you are doing this study as an individual, simply answer the questions from your point of view. If you or your group would like a direct interaction with Doctor Gilbert, he is available by FaceTime, Google Hangout, Skype, or other method of your choice. Send a request with possible dates and times to firstname.lastname@example.org.
DVD 1 Session 1–Why Congregational Worship?
1.1 Congregational Worship
1. Have each member of the group answer the question, “Why congregational worship?” in their own words and experience.
2. The video gives a definition of worship. What does your group believe are the qualities, characteristics and actions of worship.
3. Can your group name other scriptures that deal with worship besides those presented in the video?
4. What would you say to someone who says they can be “spiritual” without being in community with others in congregational worship?
5. If the purpose of worship is to tell God’s story through our actions in worship, how does your service meet that definition?
1.2 The Role of Worship for Christians
1. Look at the actions in your worship service and try to determine which relationship is being focused on: With God, with others, or both.
2. How can we encourage ourselves and others to focus on God first in our worship services?
3. According to Colossians we are to teach and admonish each other as we worship. How does that happen in your worship services? Is this only for the sermon?
4. In todays’ culture, weekly attendance is almost considered as optional. Can this be changed in our worship context?
5. Share with your group a brief story of how God reached you through worship and prepared you to face something down the road.
1.3 The Role of Worship for Non Christians
1. How is worship in your church accessible for non believers?
2. Do the non Christians in your church hear the story of God, or do they only hear about the issues and judgements of the church?
3. If evangelism is not prominently featured in your church worship, where does your church make provision for conversion opportunities?
4. If a non Christian came to your worship service to learn to be Christian worshipers, what example is your church communicating? How can you make it better?
1.4 Personal versus Congregational Worship
1. Have your group give examples of these two different worship environment’s and focus.
2. Looking at the actions of your worship, especially the lyrics of the songs you sing, is the focus of your worship congregational or personal?
3. Have members of your group give examples of how your worship could reveal to your congregation the importance of gathering and worshiping together.
1.5 How do we know worship works?
1. What does your church use as an evaluation metric for your worship?
2. Have your group share where they see the “fruits” of worship. Is the fruit you see enough, or do you believe your congregation is capable of more?
3. When people in your church either complain or compliment your worship, what are they really talking about? Is that really the point of worship(and it may or may not be)?
4. Does your church have a method for recognizing changed lives in worship?
DVD 1 Session 2–How Does Congregational Worship Meet Its Purpose?
2.1 What is the focus of the congregational worship structure?
Answer the questions included in the video and then discuss your answers at the conclusion of this section.
1. When does congregational worship begin?
2. What, historically, has been the centerpiece of worship?
3. What is the longest part of the worship service?
After your discussion, answer this question:
4. What is the focal point of worship in your church?
2.2 How is a worship service built and why?
1. What are the four basic parts of a worship service?
2. On the video Dr. Gilbert relates the story of the Road to Emmaus as it applies to congregational worship. Are there other Bible stories that you can think of that reflect this pattern?
3. Look at your own worship service structure. How does it compare to this model for worship structure?
4. Could your worship service be reordered to more closely match the 4 fold pattern?
5. What are you looking for when you come to worship?
6. Talk through your worship service the way Dr. Gilbert talks through the example service and think about how it is actually perceived versus how you think God wants it to be perceived. Are there changes that need to be made if the proper understanding of worship is to be communicated?
2.3 What is the role of leadership in congregational worship?
1. If the role of leaders is to make the word of God accessible, where can you see that happening in the worship at your church?
2. What aspects of your worship might be confusing to some of the people in your room each week? Are there ways to make that better?
2.4 What is the role of the congregation?
1. How can we know if your congregation is functioning as “co-leaders?”
2. Are there ways you could make your congregation aware that they are to bring something to the service?
3. Does your congregation see attendance as an important part of their role in worship? How can you increase this awareness and commitment?
2.5 What is the role of the Holy Spirit in congregational worship?
1. If we believe that the Holy Spirit enables us to worship beyond ourselves, is there a way to observe the Spirit in action in your worship?
2. How do you believe the Spirit is working in your congregations worship?
3. Do you believe that your congregation worships as if they believe that God is actually in the room, hearing and responding to your praises? Would worship be different if you did?
DVD 2 Session 3: How Does a Worshiping Congregation Look and Act?
3.1 The Children of Israel in the Desert
- What are some areas that have been changed in the worship in your church that has caused concern/complaints in the congregation?
- What actions has your congregation engaged in that may have challenged the leadership of the church?
- Can you name times when you have seen God work even as the church complains about God’s work (or lack of work) as represented by leadership?
- Is there some way you can recall the stories of God’s faithfulness to your congregation in the worship of the church so that all can remember that God does work even when we are personally challenged?
3.2 The Children of Israel in Jerusalem
- If you think about your current congregation as they come to worship, what are they seeking before the Word?
- Where in your worship services are your people active in their participation?
- Are there ways you can increase participation in the other areas?
- What can you do in worship to help people seek what it is that you have prepared instead of what they merely desire?
- How can you stress in worship the concept of “GO?
3.3 The Early Church in Jerusalem
- Once again the response to the Word is action. Is that reflected in your worship services? If not, is there something that you can do to help that focus?
- The strength of the early church was their unity in all things. How would you rate the unity of your congregation, particularly when it comes to worship?
- If unity in worship is not your strong suit, what can be adjusted to help facilitate that unity?
- How can you elevate the role of God in worship so that your church can understand how God works in worship?
3.4 The Church in Corinth
- Are you able to have an honest discussion about disunity in the worship of your church?
- So, if we are to not be divided, how do we justify the variety of worship services based on style or other delineations? (BTW, I am NOT against different worship styles in one church, but we MUST acknowledge and be aware of the divisive properties that can be raised.)
- Do the people in your worship services know how to worship in respect to others? If not, how can we shape worship to shape our people in relationship to each other?
- Make a lost of all of things in worship that divide your congregation. Now build a step by step program to address these issues in a biblical way (according to Paul) and no longer ignore the reality of division in the name of culture and personal preference.
- Are we sure that the worship of our church is not doing more harm than good? Can we work to diminish these differences?
- How can we help people in our services discover their special role/contribution to the worship of our church?
DVD 2 Session 4: How We Become a Worshiping Congregation?
- What is the difference between being religious and being a worshiper?
- What is holding you back from being the worshiper God is calling you to be?
- Is the Greatest Commandment being demonstrated in the worship of your church? Among the congregation? Where? How?
4.1 Heart: What’s for Dinner?
- Are you entering into worship as a giver or as a receiver?
- How is the attitude/expectation of a receiver (person headed to a restaurant) demonstrated in worship at your church?
- How is the attitude/expectation of a giver (person accepting an invitation to a dinner party) demonstrated in worship at your church?
- What are some ways you can help the worship in your church encourage your congregation to enter into worship with an expectation of bringing something before expecting to receive something?
- So on your own, being honest, what is your expectation paradigm for worship? Does it need to change? Can you ask God to help you with that?
4.2 Soul: As I went down to the river to pray. . .
- Do you and your congregation understand that everyone engages with the return of God’s love in worship differently?
- Does the worship in your church offer opportunities for all of the different ways people can engage with God in worship?
- How can you celebrate your diversity and encourage everyone to not just tolerate, but love all who would engage with God in the worship at your church?
- Is there a way you can teach people that worship does not belong to them, but is an expression of the voice of everyone in the room and God is the receiver of of the praise we give? Can you love others through those expressions of faith and love to God?
4.3 Mind: More than a spectator, I am a fan!
- What is your hobby? What do you have in your life that you are heavily invested in? How does your investment in worship compare?
- How much do you actually know about the worship in your church? Biblical basis? Historical roots? Theological foundations? Do you think you know enough?
- Do you come into worship seeking your chance to participate, or just to watch and critique?
- What can you do to increase your understanding of worship?
- Is the worship of your church teaching your congregation about worship, or are they on their own to understand what is going on?
4.4 Strength: What’s on your schedule?
- So, how much does it take to knock attending worship off of your schedule?
- Can you see that saying no to attending worship is saying no to God’s invitation to be in God’s presence?
- How can the worship of your church help people to understand not only their role in worship, but importance of attending worship? Can you help them understand that what they bring to worship effects others? Something that God is counting on you to bring is missing.
4.5 Neighbor: What is mine is. . .ours!
- How do you think God views personal possessiveness in worship?
- Is the worship in your church encouraging inclusiveness in the actions of worship? If not, are there ways that this can be encouraged/taught?
- We laugh at the stereotypes (this is my seat), but are you doing anything in worship to change these attitudes and actions?
Can you envision worship services where everyone who walks in is looking for God’s presence, God’s work, and experiencing God by bringing and offering their best, first, before receiving anything? What can you do in worship to make that kind of church possible?