What is your definition of worship? Our church has just started an alternative worship service (in addition to our usual one) with contemporary music and all that, but I have a hard time thinking of it as worship. Am I just out of date? — Mrs. J.W.W.
When we truly are worshipping God, our whole attention is on Him—who He is, how great He is, what He has done for us, how much He loves us. Worship, in other words, takes place when we focus our hearts and minds completely on God.
Only then can we praise Him as we should, and only then can we grow closer to Him. Our goal should be the same as that of the psalmist: "Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name" (Psalm 103:1). Whenever our hearts are focused on God, then we can worship Him—whether we are walking in the woods He created, or reading our Bibles to discover His truth or joining together with other believers in church.
If a certain style of worship helps you focus on God, then thank Him for it and ask Him to help you know His presence in a deeper way. If another style distracts you because you aren't used to it, however, don't automatically condemn it or say it must be wrong. God may use it to draw others closer to Himself—and you should rejoice in that.
We sometimes hear about "worship wars" in churches today—and that is unfortunate. Let your pastor know you are grateful for the traditional service that helps you draw nearer to Christ—but be grateful too that your church is seeking in other ways to reach others with the message of Christ.