Marva Dawn

Dawn on Worship for Postmodern Times

Today's Worship Quote is from the recent book by theologian Marva Dawn.

The postmodern world that surrounds us yearns for stability, morality, security, fidelity, faith, hope, and love. These deep needs can only be met through the One who meets our deepest needs for Truth. Let us make sure that the worship services we plan and conduct present that Truth in all its clarity and beauty and goodness.

- Marva J. Dawn, A Royal “Waste” of Time: The Splendor of Worshiping God and Being Church for the World, Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1999, 69.


The author says that she wants to purge our language of the phrase "going to church." We need to remind ourselves and our world that church is not somewhere we go; rather, something we are!

So, be the church!

Have a great week!

To learn more about Chip Stam and his Worship Quote of the Week, click below.

Dawn on God, the Infinite Center

I think our churches need to do much deeper thinking about what it means to worship God, what in means to nurture and to live the life of faith, what it means to be a Christian community that offers alternatives to the world, and how we can best reach out to our neighbors with the gospel and in service to them. In order to do all that we have to stop asking which style of music to use and ask instead what will help us keep God at the center.

God is the Subject of our worship, for he is the one who makes it possible for us to enter into his presence; God is the one who gives us himself in the Word, the water, the supper. How we conduct worship must teach all the participants that and enfold them in that reality.

- Marva J. Dawn, A ROYAL "WASTE" OF TIME: THE SPLENDOR OF WORSHIPING GOD AND BEING CHURCH FOR THE WORLD, Chapter 11, "Keeping God as the Infinite Center of Our Worship," Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1999, p. 152.


Where is your attention when you are with God's people in corporate worship? Are you focused on your needs or feelings or desires, or are you able to "tune your heart" to the mighty and loving God of creation? 

Have a great week.

(Originally posted on 6/20/2000)

To find out more about Chip Stam and his Worship Quote of the Week, click below. 

Dawn on How Worship & Evangelism are Linked

Worship and evangelism are inextricably intertwined, but the first is the goal and the second is the means. The work of worshiping God will form us to be bearers of God’s love to our neighbors. We will become the kind of friends who will give witness to the world. I am convinced that if our churches would really “Be Church,” our lives as individuals and our common life as a congregation would kindle in our neighbors a desire for such a relationship with God. In addition, if any nonbelievers came to our worship services (though they couldn’t technically “worship” since they wouldn’t know God’s worthiness) and if they observed how joyfully and attentively we praise God and listen His Word, they would probably be stirred and would want to learn more about this God and life. Our thankfulness, lament, confession, petitions and intercessions, and adoration could be quite convincing.

Furthermore, genuine corporate worship inevitably spreads out into giving witness to our neighbors. Psalm 96:2b-3 underscores that expansion by describing our testimony with several parallel phrases. It is essential to remind us (since this isn’t evident in our English translations) that all the verbs are plural. We all—all the believers—are commanded to sing, bless, proclaim, and tell. Evangelism is not the work of the pastor, nor of the worship service. It is the task of every single Christian.

It is not an onerous burden, for it is not difficult to “proclaim” if the subject our proclamation is “good tidings.”

—Marva J. Dawn, HOW SHALL WE WORSHIP?: BIBLICAL GUIDELINES FOR THE WORSHIP WARS, Chapter 4, “What Will Be the Result of Genuine Worship?” [Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, 2003], p. 41. ISBN 0-8423-5636-3.


In today’s WORSHIP QUOTE, theologian Marva Dawn shows how worship, although it is distinct from evangelism, is strongly linked to the church’s call to evangelism.  Dawn develops this theme more fully in an earlier book on worship, A ROYAL “WASTE” OF TIME. If you are interested, take a look at it.  

To find out more about Chip Stam and his Worship Quote of the Week, click below.