We’ve done some thinking together on this blog about how spiritual formation and mission can work together in the life of the Christian community. Now I want to pose another question: How do worship and mission flow and work together?
As with the formation/mission issue, I’ve seen a dichotomy develop between worship and mission where churches will seem to "specialize" in one or the other thing, but I actually think a lot of churches are doing both pretty well. But I think even in churches where both are done well, there’s still a division between the two, so in our minds they really have nothing to do with one another, they just happen to be the two things the church is about. But I think it goes deeper than that. I am reading a couple books right now that deal with this subject in some depth. One is Liturgical Theology, by Simon Chan (a fairly thorough ecclesiology that looks at the church as a worshiping community), and A Royal "Waste" of Time, by Marva J. Dawn (a collection of essays on "worshiping God and being Church for the world"). I’ll be posting thoughts as I read.
So what I’m interested in is the theological and experiential interplay between worship and mission. Are they just the two elements of what a church does, and we just do them both side-by-side, or is there some kind of interplay between the two? I have a hunch they’re more organically linked than we oftentimes think. So what is that relational dynamic between worship and mission? How does one inform and form and flow into and out of the other? Have you had any experiences that illuminate this dynamic? Any ways in which, as Matt Redman sings, worship was fuel for mission’s flame?