Everything is at Stake

Brad M. Griffin | Apr 19, 2010

Everything is at stake in worship. The urgent, indeed troubling, message of Scripture is that everything that matters is at stake in worship. ((Mark Labberton, The Dangerous Act of Worship: Living God’s Call to Justice (Downers Grove: IVP, 2007), 13.)) In his compelling book The Dangerous Act of Worship: Living God’s Call to Justice, Fuller professor Mark Labberton shares his journey as a pastor who discovered in the worshiping life of his congregationand across the pages of scripturewhy this statement is true. Ive written about worship and justice in the context of youth ministry in the past, and was thankful to finally read this book for more insights.

Labberton argues that in church cultureespecially American Protestant church culture, and even more especially White American Protestant church culturetheres no apparent connection between worship and justice at all.

In contrast, Worship turns out to be the dangerous act of waking up to God and to the purposes of God in the world, and then living lives that actually show it (p 13). Especially as we embody the heart of God toward the poor and marginalized of the world. Living Gods call to justice is, in fact, the dangerous result of worship.

Sadly, weve largely missed the point in our worship and our arguments about worship (which are really mostly about ourselves), and have fallen asleep to the needs of the world around usthe very needs that worship is supposed to stir us to rise up and meet. In fact, Labberton urges, Biblical worship that finds God will also find our neighbor (p 21). Rather than false worship, which speaks in Gods name but fails to show Gods life to the world, true worship reorders our reality to see that justice and worship cannot be separated. Tomorrow Ill share more from Labberton about what we can do with that reality.

Brad M. Griffin

Brad M. Griffin is the Senior Director of Content for the Fuller Youth Institute, where he develops research-based training for youth workers and parents. A speaker, writer, and volunteer youth pastor, Brad is the coauthor of over a dozen books, including 3 Big Questions That Change Every Teenager, Faith in an Anxious World, Growing Young, several Sticky Faith books, Every Parent’s Guide to Navigating Our Digital World, and Can I Ask That? Brad and his family live in Southern California, where he serves as Pastor of Youth and Family Ministries at Mountainside Communion.


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