When we hear the word ‘worship,’ we often think of singing. This is because worship literally means “to ascribe worth.” Therefore, as we sing praises to God, we are ascribing worth to Him. While the believer’s entire life should be characterized by worship (Matt 22:37-38), there are particular times we set aside each week to ascribe worth to God.
We call it a worship service, because the entire service is an act of worship, not just the singing. We worship through singing, scripture reading and proclamation, through prayer, through participating in the ordinances, and through giving. While Sunday School provides an invaluable time of studying the scriptures, it is not a replacement for the worship service because it lacks several of these elements of genuine worship.
Jesus intructed the Samaritan woman that God is seeking those who will worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:23); this is the heart of authentic worship. Therefore our worship service involves truth through the preaching of the Word and through song. It is the responsibility of the individual member to come in a spirit of worship, singing from the heart and giving cheerfully from the heart, seeking to please no one but God.
But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. – John 4:23 (ESV)
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. – Matthew 22:37-38 (ESV)