Vibrant worship services, argues creative and provocative author Graham Standish, are those in which the congregation obviously asks questions such as: Does our worship help people experience God? Does our worship open people to the presence of Christ? Does our worship encourage people to become available to the Holy Spirit?
Unfortunately, he observes, too many worship services are perfunctory, suggesting that most churches don't think much about how to connect people with God. In God's Presence makes his case that congregations must restore intentionality and authenticity to worship in a way that will open people to the Holy. Intentionality, he says, reflects a deep understanding of what tradition has attempted to do, what contemporary people are hungry for, what is going on in our culture, and how to connect the three.
Standish advocates what he calls an "integrated" approach to worship, one that maintains the distinctiveness of each element of worship as a counterpoint to other elements. He first explores the problem of worship in the current church. Then he looks at ways to reconceive worship with an emphasis on restoring the Holy to worship. Finally, he looks at ways to lead a congregation to consider new ways of worshiping. This book is about how to open people to an encounter with the Holy in worship, how to follow God in this pursuit, and how to lead those who have no interest in the Holy.