Yesterday, as I was sitting in a seminar for 25 pastors from the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, the following question popped into my head:
is a church gathering for therapy or for doxology?
In other words, is the purpose of preaching and worship to help bring healing to the deepest wounds of the soul many people have? Almost like mass group therapy?
Or is the role of a Sunday gathering simply to give honor and praise to God’s name (that’s doxology) and whatever thereapeutic & spiritual benefits emerge from that are icing on the cake?
Should the flashpoint of a pastor’s sermon be a human need or struggle?
Or should it be the greatness and glory of God’s character?
Or . . . is it an either/or kind of question anyway? Perhaps by preaching doxology we accomplish divine therapy. And as we design worship experiences that bring healing we are also engaged in praising the God known in Hebrew as El Rophe — the Lord Heals.
What do you think?