Worship for Beginners

Lauren Williams | Staff Writer


In the context of studying on a Christian campus, worshipping in one way or another inevitably becomes a part of the experience.

Chanel Shuffler, a senior sociology major, views worship as something that goes beyond chapel and weekly church meetings.

“I’ve never been able to resonate well with chapel or church because I feel like it’s too routine,” said Shuffler.  “[When it’s done] you kind of just go on with your life.  For me, I try to worship in an everyday sense, whether it is one-on-one, getting to know someone or a people or a culture.”

Kari Post, a graduate student studying physical education, acknowledges that there are differences in worship styles and that’s not something that should be looked down upon.

“Worship is something that you have personally with God, and it’s kind of however you want to do it,” said Post. “No one’s here to judge you; that’s the place where you can really go and be who you really want to be.”

Nathan Hinke, a senior business major, does not come from a charismatic worship background and was a bit surprised when first witnessing worship at APU.

“I was like, ‘What are they doing?’” said Hinke.  “[It was] really strange, definitely. But that’s the way that they grew up, and that’s the way they were taught to worship.”

Dominic Martinoa, a graduate student studying marketing, sums up what he thinks worship should be.

“Worship is a combination of either an act of service or doing something,” said Martino.  “I don’t necessarily think it has to be simply songs and dancing. I think if you are helping out the homeless on the weekends or running a soccer camp or coaching a soccer team, that can be a form of worship because you’re using the gifts that God gave you to glorify Him and help other people out.”

If you are still feeling lost, check out my own guide to worship:

The lights dim, the band starts to play quietly at first and then picks up momentum and the people around you stop their conversations and focus on the music. A wave of panic rushes over you. You don’t know if you should close your eyes, raise your hands or sway back and forth.

Luckily for you, these easy steps will eliminate your pre-worship anxiety and allow you to focus on something else. Tim Hawkins, Christian comedian, songwriter and singer, has compiled a list of appropriate hand gestures complete with illustrations.

A good first step is to allow the music to get going for a little bit. During this time you can either have your hands clasped in front of you or in your pockets. As the music builds you can adjust your swaying to accommodate the tempo.

Once the song reaches the chorus, take your hands out of your pockets and hold them in front of you at a ninety-degree angle. The position “Holding the Baby” on the diagram is a good illustration of this position. However, don’t feel limited to the carrying of infants. If you feel comfortable, lift that baby as if it were Simba.

The most complicated step comes with the bridge of the song. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get this step right away; most people struggle with this one at first. The bridge lasts only a minute or so, meaning you must act quickly. But be sure not to get sloppy. Start off with a show of heartburn or possibly goal posts. To add a little bit of style, point your finger or be prepared to karate chop something if the moment calls for such action.

Throughout the worship process, maintain the sway that you started back in step one. Also, don’t think that you have to erect the pose and just sit there; you can move your hands and arms a bit, as shown in “Dueling Light Bulbs.”

The outlined steps may seem a bit intimidating a first. Don’t worry! After a little practice, you’ll be worshipping with the best of them.

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