Frequently Asked Questions:

(if your question is not answered here, please send us an email or give us a call)

How do I get to Vineyard?

7602 Stewart Road, Newark, Ohio 43055
Get Google directions: Click here >>

  1. Take OH Rt.16 to the 4th Street Hudson Avenue Exit.
  2. Follow State Route 13 (North) to Mt. Vernon Road.
  3. Stay on Rt.13 (Mt. Vernon Road) for approximately 2 miles.
  4. Turn right on Water Works Road and proceed less than a mile to Horn’s Hill Road.
  5. Turn left on Horn’s Hill Road and follow for approximately 2 miles.
  6. Turn right on Stewart Road. Our ministry campus is 4th driveway on the right.

What is your mission statement?

Our Mission Statement:

The purpose of Alive Vineyard is seeking to become Committed Believers, Engaged Disciples, and Humble Servants of Jesus Christ.”
Alive Vineyard will seek to fulfill the Great Commission in the spirit of the Great Commandment by balancing the five purposes of the church (worship, evangelism, fellowship, discipleship, and ministry).

Alive Vineyard will make disciples of Jesus Christ as we:

Proclaim the gospel, seek, welcome and gather persons into the Body of Christ;

Lead persons to commit their lives to God through Jesus Christ;

Nurture person in Christian living through worship, baptism, communion, Bible and other studies, prayer, and other means of grace;

Send person’s into the world to live lovingly and justly as servants of Christ by healing the sick, feeding the hungry, caring for the stranger, freeing the oppressed and;

Continue the mission of seeking, welcoming and gathering persons into the community of the body of Christ.

What activities do you offer for children and nursery?

Our children’s ministry is called “Seekers in Sneakers.” It is coordinated by Carole Osborne, who has an incredible love for children and a strong team supporting all age groups! We offer programs for kids aged 0 to 6th grade at both worship celebrations. Our nursery provides a safe and clean environment for babies. From children’s camp in the summer to musicals, making crafts, and learning the stories of the Bible every week — you’ll find your children LOVE JUNIOR CHURCH! Parents of children aged newborn to two must register their children when they drop their child off so they may be reached if their child needs their attention. Junior Church begins at the end of our singing portion of our worship celebration in order for our children to learn the joy of adult worship as well.

Our children have the opportunity to experience numerous other activities throughout the year as well. In the past we’ve had a summer day camp experience, 1-5 day camps, July 4th celebration, zoo outings, Christmas caroling, musicals, and many other activities! For more information about our children’s department, contact Carole at the Vineyard office. 740-364-1750.
We also sponsor Kid’s Club for children on Tuesday evenings at 6:00PM during the school year. This is a great place for kids to meet new friends and learn about Jesus. During the Fall they Kid’s Club practice for the children’s Christmas musical which is presented in December on a Sunday during our worship time. The ending time varies depending on practices but is generally 7:30PM.

What activities do you offer for youth?

Our primary meeting takes place from 6:30 – 8:30PM on Wednesdays at the church for youth in grades
6th through 8th, and 9th through 12th.
Our typical Wednesday schedule:
  • 6:30-7:15 PM Open gym and Fellowship: Fellowship is vital to the success of any youth program. This is where relationships and trust are built between the youth and the leadership.
  • 7:15-8:00 PM Full Group Bible Study and Related Activities: This time is geared towards youth of all ages and spiritual maturity levels. Subjects vary from week to week, but teach the youth to make Christianity relevant and their relationship with Jesus real. The studies are interactive and allow time for discussion and questions.
  • 8:00-8:30 PM Small Group Ministry, Discussion, and Prayer

Other Opportunities:

  • Acquire the Fire – Concerts – Retreats – Cornerstone
  • Ski Trips – King’s Island – Overtime – Road Trips
  • Lunches – Worship Team – Drama – Mentoring
  • Conferences – Missions – Vineyard Events

“There’s always something to do!”

What can I expect during a Sunday worship service?

Upon arrival, you will receive a program explaining what you can expect during the celebration. One of the first things you’ll notice is the River of Life Cafe’ located immediately to your right as you enter. There is always free coffee or you can order a cup of cappuccino (also free for 1st guests — be sure to use your coupon found in the visitor’s packet) or purchase a roll, bagel or donut. You are welcome to bring a cup into the auditorium.

You’ll also see that most everyone is dressed casually. We begin our celebrations with about 25 minutes of worship. Rather than an organ or choir we have a live band. Most of our music has a pop/rock feel. One way or another, you should have some catchy tunes to hum all week long. After worship, there will be a few announcements. Following the announcements, our children are dismissed for Junior Church as everyone else prepares for the weekend message. The talk lasts somewhere between 30 and 45 minutes and often includes video clips from movies, stories from people’s lives, or dramas.

Afterwards, you’ll have the opportunity to receive prayer from our prayer team, if you’d like. We do NOT take up offerings, but rather provide offering boxes at the entry doors. We do not expect or request money from our visitors!

We will try not to spotlight or embarrass our visitors in any manner while, at the same time, seek to make you feel comfortable and at home.

Our celebrations run about an hour and a half. We get a lot of encouraging feedback about how relevant and practical people typically find the talks to be. Our goal is to be a church where everyone can feel comfortable and relate to God. After the celebration, many people visit with friends and often develop into groups and go out for a meal. You also might want to wander through our Winepress Vineyard book store. We hope you will return for another visit next Saturday or Sunday or sometime in the future.

Are there meetings besides Sunday mornings that I can attend?

We have a very active home fellowship ministry that meets throughout the week for opportunities to fellowship, to study the bible, and to use the gifts God gave us to minister to one another. “Cluster” is the name of our home fellowships where we gather together and grow closer to each other and to God. Our desire is that every member be a part of a Cluster to help develop his/her walk with the Lord. Stop by our Information Table on Sunday mornings, visit our Cluster page, or see our newsletter for details and directions. There are also men’s and women’s fellowships on Wednesday at 6:30pm. You are always welcome to contact the church office for more information about our small group ministry.

How can I get plugged-in to ministry?

We are always looking for committed people desiring to do ministry. The best way to get “plugged in” is simply to contact the leader or a particular ministry and ask if they have needs. The Vinelife, our newsletter is also a source of ministry information. We have something for everyone no matter how much or little you can serve.

If you want to serve but aren’t quite sure where you fit, we offer a class called “Discovering My Servant Profile” which is perfect for you! Watch the church calendar and sign up for our next class. Everyone is welcome to participate in ministry at Vineyard but to be in leadership, you must first attend the Newcomers class and be a member of our fellowship.

What do you believe?

In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, diversity; in all things, charity. St. Augustine

“It is important to keep three circles in mind: a small one that is vital; a larger one that is negotiable; a vast one that is worth chatting about over a cup of coffee.” Pastor Steve Sjogren

Three Circles of Values: Essentials, Traditions & Opinions.

What’s important & what’s not that important? As we see it, there are three circles of values.

The first circle is absolutely vital. We call this essentials. The essentials form a very small circle since there are just a few key things that we must believe to be authentic Christians. Without agreement on these matters, we actually aren’t even believers aligned with the Church and its’ past two thousand years of history.

Beyond the essentials are traditions. Traditions, or denominational “distinctives”, form a significantly larger circle and are what makes the body of Christ rich and interesting. These traditions make the church a diverse body instead of a single-cell ameba.

Finally, the largest circle by far is formed by our opinions. The longer we spend in the Christian life, the more we accumulate opinions.

Fighting between brothers and sisters in the Church is perpetuated when we forget the order of importance with the three circles of values. It happens when we make our ‘traditions’ into ‘essentials’ instead of allowing them to be negotiable. Or worse yet, it happens when we consider our ‘opinions’ about a topic to be an ‘essential’. These dyslexic episodes must grieve the heart of God. When He has vital work for the church to be about, we have sometimes been found arguing about absolutely non-vital matters. (concepts from ‘The Perfectly Imperfect Church’ by Steve Sjogren)


  1. Who is God?
    We BELIEVE that there is one God, eternally existing in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
  2. How does God speak?
    We BELIEVE that the Bible is God’s written revelation to man, and that it is verbally inspired, authoritative, and without error in the original manuscripts.
  3. Who is Jesus?
    We BELIEVE in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, His virgin birth, sinless life, miracles, death on the cross to provide for our redemption, bodily resurrection and ascension into heaven, present day ministry of intercession for us, and His second coming to earth in power and glory.
  4. Who is the Holy Spirit?
    We BELIEVE in the personality and deity of the Holy Spirit, that he performs the miracle of new birth in unbelievers, indwells believers, and equips and empowers the church to do all the works of the Kingdom of God.
  5. How does a person know they are going to heaven?
    We BELIEVE that all men & women are created in the image of God, the Father, but because of sin, are alienated from God. Only through faith, trusting in Jesus Christ alone for salvation, which was made possible by His atoning death on the Cross and His Resurrection, can true forgiveness of sin be found and that alienation from God be removed.


    At a Pastor’s Conference in September 1992, Vineyard founding pastor, John Wimber taught on ten areas of ministry that were essential to any Vineyard Church. John called these areas the Vineyard Genetic Code because they make up the common denominators that make us “Vineyard”.

  1. “The Main & The Plain” Clear, accurate & accessible biblically-based teaching.
  2. “Intimate Worship” Spirit-directed worship that touches the Heart of God.
  3. “Empowered Evangelicals” The power of the Spirit fused with a strong biblically-based foundation.
  4. “It’s All About Relationship” Life-producing, community-based small groups ministry.
  5. “The Least & The Lost” Mercy & compassion for the dis-enfranchised and the broken.
  6. “Doin’ Jesus’ Stuff” Empowered to continue Jesus’ transferable Kingdom Ministry.
  7. “Giving Away What God Has Given Us” A commitment to growing God’s Kingdom through church planting & world missions.
  8. “Loving Jesus’ Big Bride” Unity within the whole Body of Christ, with intentional relationships with other churches & ministries outside the Vineyard.
  9. “Extending the Kingdom of God” Obeying Jesus’ Great Commission through speaking Jesus’ words and doing His works.
  10. “Everybody Gets to Play” Equipping the saints for practical real-life discipleship; developing a lifestyle of prayer, worship, servant-hood & stewardship in every aspect of life.



Invite any of us out for a cup of coffee or Diet-Coke and we’ll have a bit of fun discussing our “pet opinions”.

Our Purpose:


“…If you abide in My Word then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the TRUTH and the TRUTH shall make you free.”
-John 8:31b-32


Telling others about Jesus;

Relating to others and Christ;

Understanding God’s Word;

Thirsting for the living waters of God’s presence;

Helping others experience God’s love through tangible ministry.

Alive Vineyard’s prime directives are to worship God in spirit and in truth and to tell the world about Jesus’ love. Providing fellowship opportunities help us to relate to each other and to Christ. We strive to develop disciples who can understand God’s Word, to quench the thirst for righteousness through praise and worship that brings one before the throne of God, and to share Jesus’ love for others in a tangible way through a ministry of helps.

Our Detailed Beliefs:

Alive Vineyard stands firmly in the center of orthodox Christian teaching. Out of loyalty to Christ and the gospel we have come to a number of convictions concerning the clear teaching of the Bible.

  • We are orthodox;
  • We are evangelical;
  • We are empowered evangelicals

In order to distinguish the truth from error, to proclaim our faith to the world and to build up God’s people in faith, the members of Alive Vineyard affirm the following statements of faith:


We affirm the Nicene and Apostle’s creeds. These are historic creeds which help preserve the integrity of the church’s witness and which proclaim the basic elements of the enduring Christian message.


We believe in the one living and true God revealed in the Bible, the creator, redeemer, and sovereign ruler of all creation. In the unity of this Godhead, these are three persons, of one substance, equal in power, glory, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.


We believe that Jesus Christ is truly God and truly man who was sent into the world to fulfill the prophetic promises of salvation. Jesus Christ is one Messiah, the only mediator between God and man. There is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved. We believe that Jesus came down from heaven, was conceived by the Holy Spirit and was born of the Virgin Mary. He lived a sinless life in perfect obedience to the Father and was crucified for our sins. He suffered, died, and was buried, and He rose bodily from the dead on the third day. As the God-man, Jesus Christ ascended into heaven and now sits at the right hand of God the Father interceding for His people. At His first coming, Jesus inaugurated the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God.


We believe in the Holy Spirit, who came forth from the Father and the Son to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. He also regenerates, sanctifies, and empowers for ministry every believer in Jesus Christ. We believe that we have been born again by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit and He is also our comforter. He is the abiding Helper, Teacher, and Guide. He graces us with Christ-like character, producing fruit in our lives, and He gifts His church for loving service. We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit and in the exercise of all Biblical gifts of the Spirit.


We believe in the divine inspiration, truthfulness, and authority of both the Old and New Testament Scriptures in their entirety, without error, in all they affirm. The Bible is the final, absolute authority of all doctrinal matters, the only infallible rule for our faith and practice.



We believe that all men and women are sinners by nature and choice and therefore are under condemnation and God’s just judgment. While we were yet sinners, Jesus Christ died for us. We are counted as righteous before God only by the merit of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, through faith alone in Him, and not by our own works of righteousness. For the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.


We believe that the church is intended by God to be a worshipping community of believers, observing the ordinances of Christ, governed by His law, exercising the gifts, privileges, and discipline invested in the Church by His Word and His Holy Spirit, and seeking to extend the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the end of the earth. We believe it is the mission of the Church to fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) in the spirit of the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:36-40) by the power of the Holy Spirit.


A sacrament is a sacred moment: a moment when we choose to personalize the message of the Gospel. We believe that Jesus gave the Church ordinances to follow including water baptism and The Lord’s Supper. We believe that once believers accept Christ as their personal Savior, they should be baptized in obedience to the Lord’s command in Scripture. We believe that the Lord’s Supper is open to all believers and is a memorial to the price that Jesus Christ paid for our salvation. Through the working of the Holy Spirit, the Lord’s Supper nourishes our souls. It brings to our remembrance the sacrifice of Christ for our sins, our communion with Christ and the Church and our obligation to persevere in faith and holiness to the end of our lives.


We believe in the personal, visible, triumphant return of Christ to earth. His purpose will be to manifest His government on the earth. Christians are exhorted to be watchful and obedient until His appearing. We believe in the resurrection of the dead, in the final judgment, and in the eternal blessing of the righteous and endless suffering of the wicked.


We believe in world evangelism. We accept the commission of Jesus Christ, who is Lord, to make disciples of all nations, to baptize them, and teach them to observe His commandments. We join with all those believing in Him to accomplish this urgent task. We accept this as a personal commission as well as a commission of the entire Church.


We believe the church should be supported by the tithes and offerings of those committed to its mission. Further, we believe that when people serve God in willing obedience, there is financial abundance to accomplish God’s purpose.

“…being like-minded, having the same love, being one in Spirit and purpose.” Philippians 2:2

Our Core Values:

  • Every house is built upon a foundation. Alive Vineyard is built upon the foundation of our theology – how we think about God – and our values, the kinds of ideas and attitudes we feel are important.
  • At Alive Vineyard, we value:
  • CHRIST-CENTEREDNESS: We desire Jesus – His person, His love, His mercy and His power to shine through all we do.
  • BEING SPIRIT-LED: We believe that Jesus is our Head and the Holy Spirit is our Counselor. We seek to be responsive to the Holy Spirit in life and ministry.
  • PRAYER: We seek genuine intimacy with God the Father and growth in our communion with Him.
  • INTEGRITY: We seek completely truthful, consistent and open relationships with God, with others, and with ourselves.
  • EXCELLENCE: We desire to do all to the Glory of God which requires our very best.
  • SIMPLICITY: We want every expression of ours whether speech, music, architecture, or manner – to be natural and reality-based.
  • BEING CULTURALLY RELEVANT: We want to use music, terminology and outreach methods that are in touch with the needs of our community.
  • SERVANT LEADERSHIP: We approach leadership as a team effort with the Senior Pastor, operating as a visionary and goal-setter.
  • GENEROSITY: We are committed to freely give away all we have freely received from God.

Back to Top

The Vineyard is always talking about Kingdom Ministry. What’s that?

    Doing an ancient thing in a contemporary way. John Wimber
    Encourage you, as a follower-of-Jesus, to be comfortably confident to stand next to any person…hands–on, eyes & ears-open, praying out-loud for a Kingdom break-through.
  • “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18-19
  • Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the Kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. Matthew 9:35
  • When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples to ask Him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Matthew 11: 2-5
  • When Jesus had called the Twelve together, He gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and He sent them out to preach the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick…So they set out and went from village to village, preaching the gospel and healing people everywhere. Luke 9:1-2, 6
  • After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of Him to every town and place where He was about to go. He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field…Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The Kingdom of God is near you.’ Luke 10:1-2, 9


  • A Kingdom of God message. Luke 4: 18-19
  • Healing and deliverance prayer. Mark 16:17-18
  • Holy Spirit empowerment. Acts 1: 8

Six Healing Principles:

  1. God wants to heal today.
  2. God is looking for a corporate ministry of healing.
  3. Our trust in God is demonstrated by our actions.
  4. We must be empowered by and led by the Holy Spirit.
  5. Importance of loving relationships with our brothers & sisters.
  6. God wants to heal the whole person, not just a specific condition.

Four Healing Values:

  1. Provide a Healing Environment.
  2. Provide a Regularly Scheduled Ministry Time.
  3. Provide Training & Equipping of the Saints.
  4. Encourage a Life Style of Healing.

Interested in joining us in the Kingdom Ministry of Jesus?

The Great Commission (Matthew 28: 18-20) is for all followers of Jesus and here @ Alive Vineyard, we want to see people saved and delivered from earthly sins, empowered by God’s Holy Spirit, and stepping out in His authority & power to use our God-given gifts for His glory and honor. Discovering Your Servant Profile” classes are geared to help you make great strides in practical ways so that you can become a productive contributor to God’s advancing Kingdom right here in Licking County and beyond.

What can you tell me about the Vineyard movement?

The Association of Vineyard Churches is one of the fastest growing church-planting movements in the world. The Vineyard story is about ordinary people who worship and serve an extraordinary God. The Vineyard is simply one thread in the rich tapestry of the historic and global Church of Jesus Christ. But it is a thread of God’s weaving.

Our primary aim is to love and glorify God and expand His Kingdom in relevant ways in the time allotted us. As communities of the King, Vineyard churches should model what the Kingdom looks like when God has His way with a group of people. John Wimber

The Vineyard is a community of churches sharing the same values and vision. We want our Christianity to be simple, relevant, practical and supernatural…No hype…No manipulation. We want to say “yes” to Jesus while saying “no” to religion. The Association of Vineyard Churches is one of the fastest growing church-planting movements in the world. The Vineyard story is about ordinary people who worship and serve an extraordinary God. The Vineyard is simply one thread in the rich tapestry of the historic and global Church of Jesus Christ. But it is a thread of God’s weaving.

From the beginning, Vineyard pastors and leaders have sought to hold in tension the biblical doctrines of the Christian faith with an ardent pursuit of the present day work of the Spirit of God. Maintaining that balance is never easy in the midst of rapid growth and renewal.

John Wimber was a founding leader of the Vineyard. His influence profoundly shaped the theology and practice of Vineyard churches from their earliest days until his death in November 1997. When John was conscripted by God he was, in the words of Christianity Today, a “beer-guzzling, drug-abusing pop musician, who was converted at the age of 29 while chain-smoking his way through a Quaker-led Bible study” (Christianity Today, editorial, Feb. 9 1998).

In John’s first decade as a Christian he led hundreds of people to Christ. By 1970 he was leading 11 Bible studies that involved more than 500 people. Under God’s grace, John became so fruitful as an evangelical pastor he was asked to lead the Charles E. Fuller Institute of Evangelism and Church Growth. He also later became an adjunct instructor at Fuller Theological Seminary where his classes set attendance records. In 1977, John reentered pastoral ministry to plant Calvary Chapel of Yorba Linda.

Throughout this time, John’s conservative evangelical paradigm for understanding the ministry of the church began to grow. George Eldon Ladd’s theological writings on the Kingdom of God convinced John intellectually that the all the biblical gifts of the Holy Spirit should be active in the church. Encounters with Fuller missiologists Donald McGavaran and C. Peter Wagner and seasoned with missionaries and with international students gave him credible evidence for combining evangelism with healing and prophecy. As he became more convinced of God’s desire to be active in the world through all the biblical gifts of the Spirit, John began to teach and train his church to imitate Jesus’ full-orbed Kingdom ministry. He began to ‘do the stuff’ of the Bible that he had formerly only read about.

As John and his congregation sought God in intimate worship, they experienced empowerment by the Holy Spirit, significant renewal in the gifts and conversion growth. It became clear that the church’s emphasis on the experience of the Holy Spirit was not shared by some leaders in the Calvary Chapel movement. In 1982, John’s church left Calvary Chapel and joined a small group of Vineyard churches. Vineyard was a name chosen by Kenn Gulliksen, a prolific church planter affiliated with Calvary Chapel, for a church he planted in Los Angeles in 1974. Pastors and leaders from the handful of Vineyard churches began looking to John for direction. And the Vineyard movement was born.

In 1985, the various Vineyard churches formed a formal church association called the Association of Vineyard Churches. The churches are self-governing, but overseen and encouraged on a voluntary basis by mature pastors who serve as Regional Coordinators, and in each region, Area Pastoral Overseers. Until his death in November of 1997, John Wimber served as International Director of the Vineyard. Bert Waggoner presently serves as the National Vineyard Coordinator in the USA, while Bob Fulton serves as the International Vineyard Coordinator.

Today, there are 650 Vineyard churches in the USA (twelve in Iowa), and more than 1,200 Vineyard churches worldwide, an international church planting movement, a publishing house and a music production company. Vineyard worship songs have helped thousands of churches experience intimacy with God. Many churches have been equipped to continue Jesus’ ministry of proclaiming the Kingdom, healing the sick, casting out demons and training disciples.

To learn about the Vineyard church movement, we invite you to visit the national website which has information about beliefs, our history, our future, and national events. The website is

The turning point came one night in Detroit when the Lord clearly spoke to me, “John, I’ve seen YOUR ministry (in a ‘and I’m not too impressed’ tone of voice) and now I would like to show you MINE!” John Wimber

John Wimber (1934-1997) was the founding pastor of the Anaheim Vineyard and leader of the Vineyard movement, which now numbers nearly 1,200 churches worldwide. He authored several books, including Power Evangelism and Power Healing. An average Christian man pursuing his faith – “just a fat man going to heaven,” – he would say, when God called him to a much larger task: to lead the Church into dynamic renewal. He learned – and taught us – to touch God in worship, to move in the power of the Holy Spirit, and to see God’s Kingdom break out everywhere. Before his death in November of 1997, this ordinary man of faith had been raised up as an international speaker, a best-selling author, pastor of the Vineyard Christian Fellowship in Anaheim, California, and founder of the Vineyard Movement worldwide.

What’s Vineyard believe about worship?

Worship, the act of freely giving love to God, forms and informs every activity of the Christian’s life. John Wimber

Worship: Intimacy with God by John Wimber

Many people who visit Vineyard Christian Fellowships remark on the depth and richness of our worship. This has not come about by chance: we have a well-thought-out philosophy that guides why and how we worship God. To understand how we worship God, it is helpful to learn about our fellowship’s history, which goes back to 1977. At that time my wife, Carol, was leading a small group of people in a home meeting that evolved into the Anaheim Vineyard. I’ll let her describe what happened during that time.

‘We began worship with nothing but a sense of calling from the Lord to a deeper relationship with Him. Before we started meeting in a small home church setting in 1977, the Holy Spirit had been working in my heart, creating a tremendous hunger for God. One day as I was praying, the word “worship” appeared in my mind like a newspaper headline. I had never thought much about that word before. As an evangelical Christian I had always assumed the entire Sunday morning gathering was “worship” – and, in a sense, I was correct. But in a different sense there were particular elements of the service that were especially devoted to worship and not to teaching, announcements, musical presentations, and all the other activities that are part of a typical Sunday morning gathering. I had to admit that I wasn’t sure which part of the service was supposed to be worship.

‘After we started to meet in our home gathering, I noticed times during the meeting – usually when we sang – in which I experienced God deeply. We sang many songs, but mostly songs about worship or testimonies from one Christian to another. But occasionally we sang a song personally and intimately to Jesus, with lyrics like “Jesus I love you”. Those types of songs both stirred and fed the hunger for God within me. About this time I began asking our music leader why some songs seemed to spark something in us and others didn’t. As we talked about worship, we realized that often we would sing about worship yet we never actually worshipped – except when we accidentally stumbled onto intimate songs like “I Love You Lord”, and “I Lift My Voice”. Thus we began to see a difference between songs about Jesus and songs to Jesus.

‘Now, during this time when we were stumbling around corporately in worship, many of us were also worshipping at home alone. During these solitary times we were not necessarily singing, but we were bowing down, kneeling, lifting hands, and praying spontaneously in the Spirit – sometimes with spoken prayers, sometimes with non-verbalized prayers, and even prayers without words at all. We noticed that as our individual worship life deepened, when we came together there was a greater hunger toward God. So we learned that what happens when we are alone with the Lord determines how intimate and deep the worship will be when we come together.

‘About that time we realized our worship blessed God, that it was for God alone and not just a vehicle of preparation for the pastor’s sermon. This was an exciting revelation. After learning about the central place of worship in our meetings, there were many instances in which all we did was worship God for an hour or two. At this time we also discovered that singing was not the only way to worship God. Because the word “worship” means literally to bow down, it is important that our bodies are involved in what our spirits are saying. In Scripture this is accomplished through bowing heads, lifting hands, kneeling, and even lying prostrate before God.

‘A result of our worshipping and blessing God is being blessed by Him. We don’t worship God in order to get blessed, but we are blessed as we worship Him. He visits His people with manifestations of the Holy Spirit. Thus worship has a two-fold aspect: communication with God through the basic means of singing and praying, and communication from God through teaching and preaching the Word, prophecy, exhortation, etc. We lift him up and exalt Him, and as a result are drawn into His presence where He speaks to us.’