“Worship is really, really important,” Mark Vroegop, lead pastor of College Park Church in Indianapolis, Indiana and this year’s keynote speaker, stated emphatically in his Wednesday evening session. Making his first contribution to this year’s discussion about worship, he proceeded to address its purpose with special attention on the corporate aspect.
“So why exactly do we gather?” he asked following his discussion of pastors’ and church members’ attitudes toward Sunday morning gatherings. “That’s the ironic reality of Sunday gatherings; they’re the best and the worst; you meet with God and you meet with wicked people.” His conclusion was that rather than allowing Sunday gatherings to devolve into a collection of people’s personal and petty preferences, Sunday mornings are meant for the gospel. “Sunday is supposed to be a day where we proclaim that Jesus saves sinners.” “As society crumbles more, Sunday becomes more essential.” He noted that this is because “Sunday mornings are meant to be a refuge to remind you of what you believe.”
To show the purpose of corporate worship from Scripture, Vroegop opened Hebrews 10:19–25, stating that corporate worship is designed with two purposes: to rehearse the gospel and to respond to the gospel.
In verses 19–21, the writer of Hebrews discussed the basis by which he then gives the commands that follow in verses 22–25. This basis, as Vroegop noted, is a rehearsal of the gospel. To rehearse the gospel means “that we rejoice that we couldn’t do it and Jesus did it.” He added, “part of the beauty of worship is reminding people over and over and over that the sacrifice came through Christ and that you couldn’t do it.” This rehearsal is essential for every believer because, as he stated so poignantly, “all week long we are fed another gospel.” “Sunday is designed to wage war on the false gospels.”
As believers continue to rehearse this gospel message there are several appropriate responses from Hebrews 10. In verses 22–25, the writer of Hebrews delivered three basic commands in response to the gospel: draw near, hold fast, and stir up one another. In delivering this portion of the passage, Vroegop showed that in gathering together for corporate worship, believers are able to strengthen their walk because it is in gathering that God provides His presence to which they can draw near, reminds of the truths which they have believed, and places individuals among them who will both encourage and foster opportunities for sanctification. “The gathering of God’s people is an opportunity to put the gospel into practice.”
The reality is that corporate worship is often difficult because it involves sinful people, but as Vroegop rightly stated, “your broken Sunday morning worship with broken people and a broken church is still a glorious bride walking down the aisle that Jesus loves and died for.” “That’s why worship matters.”