“Worship” is a verb

The people of Mitchell Road Presbyterian Church in Greenville SC had this at the beginning of their bulletin one Sunday:

“Worship is a verb.”  So said Dr. Robert Webber.  How about some other biblical worship verbs?










—–Lift up




—–Bow down

Some folks only “attend” worship, as if it were something produced for their consumption.  We have come to act.  And these acts are necessarily corporate [that is, done in community] — like logs in a fire, we burn brighter when we get together.  If you came this morning merely to “attend,” why not ask God to draw you a little closer to the fire?  He will, if you ask.  Bring a thankful heart and let God see it in action.  Our thanksgiving brings great joy to the Father’s heart, and (not incidentally) to ours as well.

In his book about the Revelation of John entitled Reversed Thunder, Eugene Peterson also includes a list of verbs.  This one contains many of the things we do in preparation for and as a result of worship:












Eugene Peterson concludes his list with this:

But the centering act is worship.  Worship is the act of giving committed attention to the being and action of God.  The Christian life is posited on the faith that God is in action.  When we worship, it doesn’t look like we are doing much – and we aren’t.  We are looking at what God is doing and orienting our action to the compass points of creation and covenant, judgement and salvation. (pp. 140-141)

Remember some of these verbs as you think about worship, as you join others to worship, and as you respond to that worship.

Quite a few of the verbs in the first list come from
Psalm 95, a classic call to worship in the Hebrew Bible.
These quotes remind me of Kevin Harney who says in Seismic Shifts that “worship is not a spectator sport…”  I quote that

5 thoughts on ““Worship” is a verb

  1. Monica deRegt says:

    Thanks for this, it was a blessing to read and reflect while I am staying home from church this morning with a sick child…


  2. Curt Gesch says:

    Mitchell Road is the church attended by Betsey’s brother Bill and wife Linda (and her mother, now deceased). We’ve been there a number of times.


  3. SjG says:

    Thank you for comments, Monica and Curt!

    Monica: I appreciate the extended conversation we’ve had on the subject via Facebook. =)

    Curt: What a coincidence your connection with Mitchell Road Church! I found their bulletin with the Robert Webber quote by accident while Googling for something else worship-related. But I’m glad I found and kept it. Then, when I came across the list of verbs in _Reversed Thunder_ while preparing for Sunday’s 9:30 Revelation study, I knew I had to post both of them.



  4. Zac Hicks says:

    Thanks for this post. A friend shared it with me on Twitter. I appreciate its clarity!

    I’d love to potentially use this in our bulletin sometime here in Colorado. Would you be able to give me permission to do so (understanding some are quotes, which would be referenced)?



  5. SjG says:

    Hi Zac,

    By all means, please use/disseminate what I wrote and quoted (wroted and quoted? English is such a goofy language!) however it’ll be helpful in your context!

    Grace and peace to you, your immediate family, and your church family.


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