FLINT—Pastors will see the intimacy and earnestness increase in their churches when they cast a theological vision for worship and reject anything that would threaten to turn it into entertainment, pastor and hymnwriter Matt Boswell said Tuesday.
Boswell spoke to a standing-room-only crowd during “The Church & Worship” panel held Tuesday during the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention annual meeting at Flint Baptist Church. Boswell is the founding pastor of The Trails Church in Prosper and a hymnwriter whose works include “His Mercy is More,” which gets regular airplay on Christian radio.
The panel was held in conjunction with SBTC’s Young Pastors Network and emceed by Spencer Plumlee, pastor of First Baptist Church of Mansfield.
While being careful to note that each congregation must carefully work within the confines of its unique context, Boswell said one of the biggest threats to the church today is worship becoming a form of entertainment. He said there’s a tendency for churches to drift away from the core biblical foundations for worship and gathering as a body.
“Sometimes it’s like the reason we gather is that we feel like we need to announce certain things so our church doesn’t miss it, or the most important thing this Sunday is to remind people to give,” Boswell said. “I just think those things break the heart of the Lord. We have a great reason to gather. So I think whenever the glory of God is not the center of the target anymore, and we make secondary things the primary thing, I think that’s the greatest threat we have.”
Boswell urged pastors to not give in to the temptation to withdraw from participation in the worship process, even if he does not have experience in that field of ministry. Though he has shifted into the role of lead pastor, Boswell said he still works in close contact with his worship team.
So how can a pastor strengthen his ties to the worship leader and team and, in doing so, strengthen the quality of worship in the church?
“What you do there is cast a theological vision for corporate worship and show the musicians how integral they are to that,” he said. “Tell them what their goal is – clearly defined – and tell them when they accomplish that.
“Care deeply about the worship of your church,” he added. “Don’t relegate it to someone else. … Worship is the culmination of your life together as a church.”
The greatest challenge, however, comes not from what is happening corporately but personally – at least as it pertains to spiritual matters, he said. When asked by Plumlee what has been most challenging about “moving from the second chair to the first” – from worship pastor to lead pastor – Boswell said, “It’s me. It’s shepherding, caring for my own soul and maintaining spiritual disciplines and practicing my own communion with Christ.”