In the first few years of the new millennia, Sylvania began to question why we worship the way we do. We began to ask, “How should we approach the worship of God when we gather together and why should we approach God together in that way?” Our search through the Scriptures resulted in us becoming convinced that our philosophy of worship and music should look like the philosophy of worship and music at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, MN. As result, we adopted their philosophy rather than writing our own. As you read, you will notice that while the form of our worship is addressed, the heart of our worship is the ultimate concern. We are convinced that the best form of worship and music is the one that most facilitates the deep treasuring of God in the heart.
Our Philosophy of Worship & Music.
1) God-centeredness. A high priority on the vertical focus of our Sunday morning service. The ultimate aim is to so experience God that He is glorified in our affections.
2) Expecting the powerful presence of God. We do not just direct ourselves toward Him. We earnestly seek His drawing near according to the promise of James 4:8. We believe that in worship God draws near to us in power and makes Himself known and felt for our good and for the salvation of unbelievers in our midst.
3) Bible based and Bible saturated. The content of our singing and praying and welcoming and preaching and poetry will always conform to the truth of Scripture. The content of God’s Word woven through all we do in worship and will be the ground of all our appeal to authority.
4) Head and heart. Worship aims at kindling and carrying deep, strong, real emotions toward God but does not manipulate people’s emotions by failing to appeal to clear thinking about spiritual things based on shareable evidences outside ourselves.
5) Earnestness and intensity. Avoid a trite, flippant, superficial, frivolous atmosphere but instead set an example of reverence and passion and wonder.
6) Authentic communication. Utterly renounce all sham and deceit and hypocrisy and pretense and affectation and posturing. Avoid the atmosphere of artistic or oratorical performance, but cultivate the atmosphere of a radically personal encounter with God and truth.
7) The manifestation of God and the common good. We expect and hope and pray (according to 1 Cor. 12: 7) that our focus on the manifesting of God is good for people and that therefore a spirit of love for one another is not incompatible with but necessary to authentic worship.
8) Undistracting excellence. We will try to sing and play and pray and preach in such a way that people’s attention will not be diverted from the substance by shoddy ministry nor by excessive finesse, elegance, or refinement. Natural, undistracting excellence will let the truth and beauty of God shine through.
9) The mingling of historic and contemporary music. And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old” (Matt. 13: 52).