Baptists and Expression in Worship
First of all, let’s all be honest. At Harris Creek, we do a lot of things that aren’t typical for Baptists to do. We incorporate a lot of elements from different traditions outside of a typical Baptist liturgy, all while trying to be as ecumenical and orthodox as possible. However, when it comes to expression in worship—specifically hand raising or physical expression, we are as BAPTIST as they come. Occasionally, if the lights are low enough, people will extend a hand, or maybe both hands if they are crazy. Kneel down? Only if someone is sick to their stomach or looking for the chap-stick that fell out of their pocket.
I know in the past I’ve had the tendency to fall right in line here too. I remember in college specifically struggling with the idea that I am not worthy enough to raise my hands. I also felt that raising my hands should be saved for that moment when I really felt the Spirit of God wash over me.
I have come to the realization, however, that raising my hands is simply another way to show my devotion. Nothing magical about it, no formula for its prompting, just a simple expression. I think back to a church where I led worship in Little Rock, AR. This particular church had a group of girls from a local ministry that would be bussed into the services. These girls were part of a ministry that was specifically for young pregnant teens. Most of them came from terrible backgrounds and homes. It was so inspiring to see them in the worship services. They’d all sit up on the front two rows, and nearly all of them would engage in worship more freely than anyone else. They’d raise their hands, kneel and pray, and sing their hearts out.
Those girls didn’t know it, but they were teaching me a valuable lesson about my own expression of worship to the Father. There is nothing that is keeping me from experiencing Him in worship but ME. All I must do is offer up the expressions I can with a sincere heart. That’s all God desires of me. That’s all he desires of us. In Hebrews 10:22 it says, “Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.”
So, be encouraged to express yourself in way that you feel is motivated by adoration for God. There may even be times you don’t feel like raising your hands—which may the very times you should. In times of mourning and rejoicing: worship. On good days and bad days, whether the lights are up or down, whether the music is fast or slow: worship. Let’s get charismatic up in this place…just don’t dance, that may get me fired.