Why Do We Sing for 30 Minutes at Bridgeway?2
What is worship? Here is my definition:
Worship begins in the mind with deep, biblical thoughts about God, robust and expansive truths about who he is, his greatness and glory. This in turn inflames the heart and awakens passionate affections for God such as joy, gladness, delight, reverence, gratitude, admiration, love, fear, zeal, and deep satisfaction in all that God is for us in Jesus. These in turn find expression in all of life, whether in singing or speaking or serving or sacrificing or acting or dancing or kneeling, as well as in the decisions we make or the way we live life in general.
Thus, worship happens when the mind is gripped with the revelation of great truths about God and the heart and affections are set on fire with joy and satisfaction and gratitude and gladness and admiration and the mouth explodes in songs of praise and proclamations of the incomparable greatness of God.
This understanding of worship is the rationale behind our devoting at least 30 minutes every Sunday morning to the transforming spiritual power of sustained, uninterrupted singing. Our approach to this issue comes not only from our understanding of how the Spirit works but also from Scripture and our own personal experience, as well as the testimonies of others who’ve spoken to us over the years of what happens during worship.
Our desire is that people be exposed to what the Spirit does when we linger in his presence. Often times, people who have had little experience with the Spirit will find themselves initially resistant to what they feel is happening in their hearts, only to discover that as they become gradually more at ease and open and vulnerable to what the Spirit is doing, they encounter God in truly life-transforming ways. If I may be allowed to use an old and well-worn charismatic term, the opportunity to “soak” in the Spirit during extended times of singing can bring the increased possibility that genuinely life-changing experiences with God occur.
Our goal is that we might give the Spirit opportunity to awaken the hearts and minds and affections of everyone to his presence and power. The opportunity for at least 30 minutes of concentrated and focused praise for people who likely have never encountered it before is an experience we long for and trust that God will use to radically impact individual lives.
Our prayer is that in our corporate gatherings we will facilitate sessions in which the affections of men and women, affections of love, joy, peace, hope, white-hot zeal, deep gratitude, awe, reverential fear, sorrow for sin, and delight in the reality of forgiveness will be awakened in their hearts by means of the biblical truth that we sing.
Our hope is that all who attend Bridgeway will be overwhelmed with the greatness and beauty and power and love of our great Triune God. Joyful, jubilant, spiritually energetic, vertically-oriented worship is key to what we believe God wants to do for us anytime we gather to worship.
We pray that people will be physically healed and emotionally restored during our time of extended singing. In fact, we want to be open to the spontaneous direction of the Spirit during our singing that may involve the giving of prophetic words or special times of prayer.
So we encourage our people and all guests to come on Sundays with biblically-informed thoughts about God, high expectations for what he might do, and hearts that are overwhelmed with Christ-exalting, sin-killing, soul-satisfying joy for all that God is for is in Jesus.