Thursday, March 5, 2009

Steve Pruitt: Living Your Worship

Author, worship leader, and pastor, Steve Pruitt has been ministering in congregational, small group and conference settings since 1982. His three books are available for download on his co-founded website: Just Worship. To learn more about Steve’s ministry, please visit his personal website.

JENN: You’ve written a book called, “The Ingredients of Worship”. What is unique about your view of worship?

PRUITT: Well, I don’t know how unique my view is, but my goal for the book was to use some personal experiences as well as a good biblical foundation to convey the message that worship is much more than what takes place on Sunday morning, Wednesday evening or whenever believers choose to gather.

Activity does not constitute worship. On the other hand, worship is expressed through activity. The activities of church become worship only when one’s life has been totally consecrated to God. We exist for God. No amount of outward expression – be it singing, clapping, shouting, preaching, feeding the hungry or cleaning the sanctuary – can add up to a demonstration of worship if our lives are more consumed with us than with him. He must be our one true passion.

My view of worship is that it begins before the music starts or the preacher preaches. It begins with a daily intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. He must be the first love of our life and doing his will must the priority of our life. Love is the fuel of true worship and obedience is the gauge by which love is measured.

JENN: You’ve said that worship is a way of life, not just an emotional experience. Most people seem to consider worship mainly as an emotional experience. What is the Biblical support for your definition of worship?

PRUITT: First, let me say that the root of worship is grounded in emotion; love. You cannot read through the scriptures, especially the Psalms, and draw the conclusion that worship is emotionless. Emotions are part of our make-up as created beings. However, mere emotional expressions do not constitute true worship.

Paul wrote in Romans 12:1; "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service." (NKJV) So, our reasonable act of service (which can be translated worship) is to present our bodies to God, one, a living sacrifice, two, holy and three, acceptable. Paul went on to say, "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." (Romans 12:2)

True worshipers desire to be conformed into the image of Christ and to see the fruit of the Holy Spirit produced in their life. Apart from this desire a person can express a wide range of emotions or have a deep emotional experience without having worshipped.

JENN: You’ve said the Holy Spirit is the one who directs us in worship. Can you explain this?

PRUITT: I believe the Holy Spirit directs us in worship in two ways; inwardly and outwardly. First, he produces the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. As we allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives by convicting us of sin and leading us into all truth, we mature as believers and become Christ-like. The Holy Spirit helps us to understand the will of God and gives us the necessary unction to be obedient to his word. Outward expressions of worship are validated by our willingness to submit to the inward work of the Holy Spirit.

Secondly, I believe that much of what takes place during worship services on Sunday mornings is geared more toward man than toward God. More often than not our programs get in the way of what God really wants to do among us. We are guilty of not allowing the Holy Spirit opportunity to express the heart of the Father.

The Holy Spirit knows the heart of the Father and how the Father desires to be worshiped. We should always be willing to lay aside our agendas in lieu of the Father’s. The Holy Spirit can help us to do that.


This interview was originally published in the February 2008 issue of TIYLmagazine ©.