Why Worship Jesus in Public?

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That’s a great question and one we get asked regularly! Since starting Worship On The Streets in 2014, we have come to see tha there are three main reasons for worshipping God in public. They are….

1. WORSHIP – because it’s more than just Sundays!

In Heaven Jesus is continually being worshipped (Revelation 4:8). This reality should both excite us and challenge us to see worship being lifted up to Jesus in more than just Sunday gatherings and mid-week meetings. There is always an opportunity to join in with the worship in Heaven and invite others to do so as well. When Jesus taught His disciples to pray that it would be “on earth as it is in Heaven,” He was directing them (and us) to pursue the same activity on earth that exists in Heaven. Street worship plays an important role in helping that prayer become a reality by creating opportunities for us and passers by to engage in worship throughout the week in times outside of our usual worship traditions.

It’s God’s desire that there is worship in every place and setting (Malachi 1:11). In Heaven there is no place where Jesus isn’t worshipped. Why then restrict worship to church buildings and people’s homes? Let’s seek to reflect the reality in Heaven, and fill our streets, shops, shopping centres, pubs, football stadiums, hospitals, offices — every place — with the sound of worship!

2. WITNESS – because worship a gift for everyone!

King David wrote, “He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.” (Psalm 40:3) I believe David was writing about both the prophetic songs that God gives to His people (the “new song”) and also the songs which are crafted for the corporate setting (the “hymns of praise”). David expected these songs to be sung in a context where people who didn’t yet know the Lord would put their trust in Him.

I remember the first time I went out onto the streets to worship. I was feeling afraid, unsure of what would happen and also where to go. After walking around for a long time looking for a place to worship, I settled on an nearly empty street with no shops and few people walking by! I heard God say, “You need to go where the people are!” Busted! Of course I did! Paul once wrote, “How can they believe in Him if they have never heard of about Him?” (Romans 10:14). The songs that we sing are one way God is using His Church to draw people to Jesus.

3. WARFARE – because worship is a weapon!

Paul wrote “our fight is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities and against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12) He opens our eyes to the reality that there is a battle going on in the unseen world and that we are being invited to fight by standing firm in who we are in Jesus. Throughout Scripture we see the unique role that worship can play in this battle, but perhaps most notably in 2 Chronicles 20.

In this story, Israel was being surrounded by several armies and King Jehoshaphat sought the counsel of a prophet. After having his victory confirmed the story continues…

“The king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising him for his holy splendour. This is what they sang: “Give thanks to the Lord; His faithful love endures forever!”

At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the Lord caused the Jehoshaphat enemies to start fighting among themselves and turn on their allies. When the army of Judah arrived all they saw were dead bodies as far as they could see. Not one enemy had escaped.

Here the impact of worship is so clearly displayed and one of God’s strategies for dealing with our enemy is revealed. Of course this is an Old Testament story and we’re living in the New Covenant, but if we’re to believe that every story in the Old Testament is written to teach us something (Romans 15:4), then perhaps this story about the power of worship during a conflict in the physical “seen” world is can teach us about the power of worship in the spiritual “unseen” world.

Psalm 8:2 also highlights this principle when it says, “Through the praises of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies and silenced the foe and the avenger,” and clearly reveals the power of worship as a weapon that God uses to overcome the enemy. With that in mind, when we’re worshipping on the streets, we can be confident that God is using our worship to displace spiritual strongholds in that region and overcome the power of the enemy.

Worship is always about God – who He is and what He’s done and will do. But we’re discovering there is also more that He wants to do through worship. Will you join us in being a part of that discovery?