Assembly Line Worship

GodReflection: God Breaks In Monday

garyguarujaSeveral years ago, I read the story of Henry Ford’s dream to place America on wheels as related in the best seller Built to Last by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras.

Ford dreamed of a car that all Americans could afford. Key to the goal was his invention of the assembly line. As the idea grew, he made the crazy move to hire hundreds of workers at the unheard of exorbitant price of $5.00 a day. That was more than twice the competitive wage for workers. That action placed purchase power in the hands of working families.

assembly1With assembly lines cranking out the affordable Model T, he continued to adjust the price lower until he reached a 58 percent reduction—so that more people might afford his dream. Ford told the people they could have any color they wanted as long as it was black. Fifteen million families purchased the black “people’s car.”

What Henry Ford started in the new 20th century, Franklin Roosevelt took to new heights in the 1940’s. The President’s response to World War II preparation engraved the assembly line into the subconscious of the world.

assembly6In the buildup for World War II, assembly lines changed the world forever. Women across America fueled the industrial age and the assembly line ruled. The lines produced mind-boggling numbers of ships, aircraft, submarines, rifles, ammunition, armored vehicles, trucks, jeeps, and cotton textiles.

My 20th century church tribe took note. I’ll bet yours did too.

For the next fifty years we had worship down to a science. All churches in our tribe followed the worship assembly line of announcements, opening prayer, three songs, prayer, a fourth song, Lord’s Supper, offering, sermon, invitation song, more announcement, and closing prayer.

It didn’t seem to occur to us that Jesus Design Church Worship without an assembly line in mind. There were times when we gave more attention to the assembly line than to worship.

In the 254 uses of the word worship in my Bible, I am impressed with the lack of specificity in the details. God detailed rules for Tabernacle and Temple along with their sacrifices. Yet, there is little detail about the how of worship adoration.

However, by the time Jesus enters his walk on earth, religious leaders held dearly to their worship playbook.

assembly2God was about to break in through the Jesus event to destroy the playbook of tradition and give worship back to the individual. It was to be worship based on relationship rather than an assembly line of rules.

He declared their religious assembly line as vain worship and declared, “their teachings are merely human rules.”

Temple no longer mattered. A mountain in Samaria lost its importance. Form and pattern fell from the page.

Jesus announced to a woman in Samaria, “a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

Repeatedly, as people in the Gospels encountered the Son they responded in worship to Jesus the Truth and to God the Father.

Through Jesus’ actions, I learn worship is a sacrificial gift as he watches a poor widow give from her poverty. I see disciple who witness Jesus calm a storm respond with worship from the pews of a boat. Jesus still calms storms.

I read of an eighty-four year old widow who lives in the presence of God as she worships “night and day, fasting and praying.”

In contrast to a man listing his assembly line creations before God, Jesus paints the picture of a wretched guy who could not even lift his head as his heart cried to God for mercy.  I read Jesus’ punch line, “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” 

Worship is thanksgiving, reverence, awe, petitions, prayers, and intercession. Worship is praise. Worship is living the Beatitudes.

I hear from Jesus that worship is ill advised until correction efforts for offence and offended take place between Christ followers.

To follow Jesus’ example I want my worship to flow from  love for God,  with all my  heart, with all my understanding and with all my strength, as I  love my neighbor as myself.

I want to worship God not my creation of a worship assembly line.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells – A GodReflection on God Breaks Into Worship.



2 thoughts on “Assembly Line Worship

  1. Gary, Awesome thoughts strung together like diamonds on platinum cords, not just pearls on ordinary strings.  Thank you, one of your very best, good bro. Grace, Peace,Lynn


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