Judson Castro Perez
District Pastor in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Have you ever thought about this question? What kind of meeting is there in your church? How would you classify the different meetings of your congregation? You may even be thinking, What difference does it make? After all, your last words before leaving church are usually, “In our next program we will have something very special.” What’s wrong with this? Everything!

Let me first explain that I have nothing against a special worship service. I believe that as a spiritual leader, you are interested in improving the quality of the meetings in your church. As a pastor for 20 years, I have promoted spiritual events in a variety of structures, and I still believe that this is valid. But it took me a long time to discover that before I do anything in church, I need to answer the question: Will it be a worship service or a program? If the answer is a worship service, go ahead! If it is a program, give up!

“When human beings sing with the Spirit and the understanding, heavenly musicians take up the strain, and join in the song of thanksgiving.”

A worship service is not a program

If you think of church meetings as programs, it’s time to reevaluate your concepts, because a worship service is definitely not a program. Until this concept is completely accepted by the leadership and understood by church members, nothing will satisfy the basic needs of your congregation.

This article will attempt to show some of the characteristics of the true worship service in the biblical-Christian context. Among these, three are fundamental in adoration: (1) The worship service is an answer to God’s revelation; (2) the worship service, as an answer to God’s revelation, is a gift from God; and (3) the worship service is a corporate activity.

The worship service is an answer to God’s revelation

In a program, the focus is on people. After all, people are your target audience. Everything is done for their benefit and satisfaction. In a worship service, it’s different. In the service of adoration, the focus is on God. He is the target of our praise and everything is done for His satisfaction.

To plan a worship service around people may cause fatal consequences, because everything we can produce is imperfect and offensive to God. The fact that God refused Cain’s offering teaches us that worship has a theological meaning (Gen. 4:3-5). It is not what human beings like, but what God wants. The worship service should be in harmony with a theology of divine practices. That way, it becomes an answer to God’s revelation.

The challenge of adoration lies in replacing what God has indicated by what men want.1 When this is avoided, everything changes. The Word of God is converted into a source of research. It becomes easier to offer an acceptable worship service.

Thus, the purpose of adoration is not to take any kind of personal advantage, but to worship God. “The main purpose of adoration is to give glory to God and not to men; God must come first, otherwise only men will be exalted.”2 Men’s exaltation comes as a result of incorrect worship.

The worship service, as an answer to God’s revelation, is a gift from God

As you plan a program, people’s ideas are fundamental. In the worship service, it’s different. Human ideas are subsidiary; God’s orientations are a priority. We depend completely on Him in planning an appropriate worship service.

This concept is based on the fact that God is the Creator, and we are the created. We were created in His image and called to worship Him (Gen. 1:27, 31). Our complete happiness can only be found in the adoration of our Creator. This need for the divine is a gift. Someone rightly said that “men build churches, go to churches, and share formal acts of adoration because there is a thirst for the divine that moves them and does not let them be.”3

Adoration is imperative. It is more than an isolated act during the week; it should be a lifestyle. It is the continual reminder that God is the Creator and we are His creation. Thus, a life of adoration is the wisest choice a person can make.

The worship service is a corporate activity

In a conventional program, people become the center of attention. People are key to the success of the program. The unexpected absence of one person could be catastrophic. The worship service is different. The worship service is essentially a corporate activity, not an act of isolated individuals, but of the entire church (Ps. 22:25).

Just as a priest existed to offer a sacrifice, churches exist to provide a place for corporate adoration. The priesthood of believers is also exercised during the worship service (1 Peter 2:5-9).

The Christian’s private adoration is based upon his union with Christ. “To be in Christ” means to be incorporated in “His body,” which is “His church” that adores Him and is obedient to Him. Therefore, private adoration is based on corporate worship.

Ellen White enlarged on this concept when she affirmed, “When human beings sing with the Spirit and the understanding, heavenly musicians take up the strain, and join in the song of thanksgiving.”4


There is a big difference between programs and worship services. One has nothing to do with the other. While in one the human element is valued, in the other only God is exalted.

When someone offers a worship service to God, they should consider at least three aspects: (1) the Christian worship service is an answer to a personal revelation of God, an answer to what God has done; (2) the Christian worship service, as an answer, is a gift from God; this is why we were created; and (3) the Christian worship service is a corporate event. In God’s eyes all believers are equally important and all are priests.

When planning a church service and considering these aspects, our concept of adoration changes. Each part of the service is considered sacred in God’s temple and deserves attention and care.5 If the church service is prepared with this spirit, there will be no need to promote the preacher, the musician, or the special guests because the elements of the service itself will be attractive enough.

True adoration pleases God. Next time you go to church, remember that it doesn’t matter if the service makes you only happy; if it makes you more like Jesus, people will know you were with Him.6

1. Héctor E. Ramal Quispe “The Theology and Practice of Adoration” from classnotes.
2. D. E. W. Harrison, Ways of Worship, page 33.
3. Willard L. Sperry, Reality in Worship, page 60.
4. E. G. White, Evangelism, page 504.
5. Quispe, Ibid.
6. Harrison, Ibid.

Judson Castro Perez
District Pastor in Sao Paulo, Brazil