In Articles, Devotional, Posted from Singapore, Teachings

Someone once posed the question to me; “What is greater…Evangelism or Worship?”  They believed that worship was greater because through evangelism we minister to one another, but through worship we minister to God.  As a former worship pastor I have thought about this a lot.

Before Rebekah and I got married, we went down to a local department store and spent several hours meticulously going through it picking out exactly the things that we needed for our new life together.  When we sent out wedding invitations we were careful to include the web address where the gift registry (which listed the exact items) could be found.  But when the wedding was over and the presents were unwrapped we found amongst all of the very thoughtful and wonderful gifts almost nothing that we asked for.

I wonder if some people walked around Wal-Mart in circles for hours deliberating over which gift to buy before they finally settled on a the toilet brush or our 10th mismatched washcloth/towel set when all the while we had made it so easy for people to know exactly what we had wanted.

We all say that we love to worship God and we prove it by singing and dancing for Joy in church.  We bring “gifts” of beautiful music, singing and dancing with which we “bless” Him.  But He is surrounded by mighty choirs of angels singing songs that reverberate with harmonies so beautiful they are beyond anything we could imagine.  So what can you give someone who has everything?

I have often said that the true depth of Christian’s spirituality is not determined by how enthusiastically they dance during the worship service or how loudly they sing.  As much as I love modern music I must confess…pulsating rhythms, flashing lights and smoke machines are not worship (this applies to pipe organs, choirs and hymns as well).  All of these things are but tools we use in an attempt to provoke worship.  Unfortunately, often they are more of a distraction than anything and if you could escape their clatter for a moment and truly become intimate enough with God to draw near and lay your head on his chest and hear his heartbeat, this is what it would sound like: SAL-VA-TION, SAL-VA-TION, SAL-VA-TION.  God loves the world SO MUCH that He gave His only begotten Son.  Could there be a more ardent exclamation of God’s deepest desire?  There is no mystery here…God has told us exactly what He wants.

It is IMPOSSIBLE to be a true worshipper of God and not desire to please His heart…therefore I say it is also IMPOSSIBLE to be a true worshipper of God an not have a burden for souls.  Evangelism and worship cannot be separated from one another.  Evangelism IS a form of worship because through it we give to God that which He desires and has explicitly demanded and don’t forget that obedience is better than sacrifice (an act of worship).

John Leonard Dober was a potter and David Nitschman was a carpenter.  Both were powerful and articulate preachers and the first of Count Zinsendorf’s Moravian missionary movement.  They heard about a godless, wealthy, British landowner who had purchased an Island to which he transferred all of his slaves in order to keep them from being touched by any outside influence…most especially religion.  He had determined that even if an outsider were to arrive at his Island by accident, he would be sent away immediately.  These two young Men, determined to win the Island for Christ, sold themselves into slavery to this landowner and used the profit to pay for their transportation to the Island.

On October 8th 1732, friends and family members were gathered there at the seashore weeping and saying their final goodbyes and as the Island-bound sea vessel was pulling away from the docks.  The account says that the two young men raised their hands to Heaven and shouted the last words that were ever heard from them: “May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering!”  That became the rallying call of Moravian missions…and that my friend is WORSHIP!

Let me leave you with this question: if we know that God has asked for something which He passionately desires, yet in its place we bring something that WE WANT to bring…I ask you…who is really being worshipped?

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Showing 32 comments
  • Komal Erick

    i am very blessed buy your ministry.

  • Komal Erick

    i am very blessed buy your ministry.

  • Komal Erick

    i am very blessed bu your ministry.

  • John E Maddams

    Founded 1954

    In Britain many churches are nearly empty, and in the communities few gather to worship God, but then we can worship the Lord, any where, at any time but if evsngelism mesns taking the Good News of the love of God in Jesus our Lord, and His word, and the news of the shed blood and the risen healing son of God,and the power of the Holy Spirit, out into the communities there seems little evidence of it taking place, and the tiny congregations suggests that few are listening to God, or responding to Him.

    Few Christians seem concerned to prsy, witness, share Jesus with others or even mention his Name in public and particularly not on Facebook, etc.
    For several years I have been distributing New Life News house to house in Saffron Walden and for 2 years VIA Gospel Magazine to 19 villages in Uttlesford in East Anglia, about giving out gospels. I seldom come across anyone else doing it and wonder whether I should do so except that I belive that i have been called to do so.

    My web site indicates some responses, but I know of few growing congregations and many close to empty

    There will be no thirst to worship God by people who do not know Him and how will they know unless people are sent, or people go and share the News.

    John Wesley whom God used in the 18th and early 19th century to bring thousands to Christ remarked ” It seems that God is limited by our prayer life – that He can do nothing for humanity until some one asks”

    Is not that the problem that so many Christian’s lives are filled with work, entertainment,sport, travel, Face Book, Twitter, going to big meetings with other Christians, going on expensive holidays, and tours of the Holy Land,much in – Church activity, but little desire or determination to prsy or to proclaim the Gospel and little expectation of any change likely from doing so.

    Satan seems to have us bemused. sidelined,under an illusion, deluded, silenced, complacent or despondant.

    Is it not time we woke up and went on the offensive
    or at least left the pews and went out into the streets, and delivered tracts and made Jesus known. and got our priorities right?

    If we don’t stand up for Jesus as soldiers of the Cross and lift his royal banner all will be lost. Likelihood is the Church will die out and our buildings become mosques and temples, and Britain slides back to the 2nd and 3rd centuries with about 41 Celtic churches scattered across the land mainly in the West.

    • Daniel Kolenda

      John…It is true that Europe and America are in desperate need of a spiritual awakening, but the good news is that God is on the move! He has given to His Church everything that we need to win our world. Let’s keep preaching the Gospel and working diligently while it is day. Thanks for you comment

  • satish spurgeon

    worship is enjoying jesus christ himself,evangelism is sharing jesus christ .so sharing is greater than..

  • giorgia testa assom

    Bringing the Gospel of God we honor His love
    for the losts … I believe it is the greatest expression of adoration for
    Him ^ _ ^. You can worship God even walking in the streets of the world,
    Our heart never strays from Him. If the worship makes us enter into
    mystical isolation, then feeds the flesh and not the spirit, because the
    Spirit wants to go to the ends of the world to preach the Gospel
    to every creature …. until there is time .. Blessings from a CfaN italian collaborator =)

  • Jonathan

    Both are important!

  • Wendy Yu

    What a great story about the Moravian missionaries sold themselves to the island for reaching the lost…
    “May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His Suffering!”
    Literally SOLD out for the spreading of Gospel…
    Thank you, Pastor, this really ministers to me!

    Wendy from Taiwan

  • Eli Birnbaum

    Amen. Well written.

  • fring-jedi

    I think it’s a mistake to even compare the two. That’s like asking is it more important to love my wife or more important to take care of my wife? Worship is our expression of the First half of the Great Commandment, to love God with our all in all. The Second half must flow from that. I can evangelize all I want but if I don’t have intimacy with Christ then I am dangerously close to becoming what the Pharisee’s and Sadducees of old were like. If all I do is worship and pray but do not love my brother than I have only walked in selfishness. However, it can take years of building intimacy with the Lord before we are overcome with enough love to be able to go out. I’d rather go out and evangelize as a ravished lovesick warrior.

    • Daniel Kolenda


      I think you might be missing the point here.

      If you read my article (and not just the title) you would see that I am asking the question: can you be a “ravished lovesick warrior” without catching the heart of God, which is ultimately not as much interested in songs and dances as in obedience (I Sam 15:22).

      God’s heart beats for the salvation of the lost and if a man says that he loves God but does not love that which which God loves, I question where his affection truly lies.

      I was a worship pastor for many years before I was an evangelist. I know the worship world very well and one of the greatest challenges in “worship ministry” is to maintain true worship of God rather than worshipping worship which is often what we do. I think it is healthy for us to continually re-evaluate our hearts and motives…that’s all. Im sure we can agree that this is needed.

      I wish that the Church could come to the place where we see that evangelism IS a form of worship, because through it we give God that which he explicitly desires and requires (Go into all the world and preach the Gospel)

      Blessings from Kiev,

  • Caleb Ho

    Wow… For most of my Secondary School days leading worship during Chapel Services, evangelism was the purpose of it all. That man would find salvation in Christ through even the ‘preaching’ in the lyrics and the presence of God during each Monday/Tuesday’s morning Chapel Services. But here you’ve outlined it clearly, that preaching the gospel and leading men and women to God through Christ is indeed our spiritual act of worship.

  • Ijiwade James

    This is what I want to do in my life. By God’s Grace

    How can I add a picture to my profile because I there is a column for photo but no place to add. Please help.

  • Peter Vandever

    I think of this quote from my time at Brownsville,

    “Jesus told the demon to go and they went. Jesus told us to go and we sing worship songs.” Dr. Brown.

    To come to Jesus singing I shall not be moved is hypocrisy.

    In the words of AA Allen, you are either a soulwinnner or a hyprocrit!

  • phil barthelette

    I believe that both are dear to God, but He set a pattern for us. The high priest was to minister to God first and then the people. You could smell it on him when he left the presence of God. It should be like that with us. We should never be too busy doing one and leaving out the other.

  • Dave Hallmark

    Imagine being a knight in the Middle Ages. When the king sends you on a mission, He does so with specific directions: where to go, what to do, who to deal with, and what to accomplish…implying where NOT to go, what NOT to do, whom to AVOID…clear directions. Disobedience would be considered treason, a capital offense. The Lord said to Saul through Samuel, “I desire obedience above sacrifice.” Jesus gave His church a clear mission just before His ascension. “Go…and preach…” Evangelism IS worship because it is obedience!

  • Paul Maurer

    When God wants to be worshipped a certain way he will speak to a worship leader… give him a song to write… and then we worship God the way he wants to be worshipped. It’s kind of like prayer… how we tell God what he wants to hear… and then he acts on our prayers. Evangelism is a form of worship, but its probably the area thats least practiced. Wasn’t it Bill Bright that said that 98% of Christians do not normally evangelize?

  • Danny

    God wants us to worship Him in spirit and in truth and also He said Go into all the world and preach the gospil. We need to worship God and draw so close to him that we realise just how much He loves lost souls and that through the Holy Spirit He wants to use us through evangelism to reach them. Which is better, Evangelism or Worship? They’re both vital!

  • Christina

    Amen, obedience is better than sacrifice (an act of worship). Thank Daniel ! May God bless your family and your ministries!

  • Chris Mikkelson

    Wow! Well said! I often think of how bold and filled up with the Spirit of God I feel after worshiping and spending time in His presence. I feel as though I could save my entire city. Yet I can’t help but think about how many other people feel the same way but never take that holy boldness out to the streets. We must worship and draw near to the heart of God so we can capture God’s heart for the lost and take it out to the streets.

  • Paul Landry

    VERY WELL SAID . . . in fact . . . it was fun to find myself chuckling over your wedding present illusttation . . . knowing that we were about to be shown such a clear and sobering truth about TRUE WORSHIP. It’s NOT ABOUT ME and what I WANT or WHAT I LIKE. WAY TO GO, DANIEL. Well said!!

  • Nick Barta

    That is perfect mate, many many thanks, Nick

  • Evangeline Vandenberg

    Evangelism is the invitation to a relationship with God – worship is the demonstration of a relationship with God. Flying with only one wing is impossible…

    • Daniel Kolenda

      YES! Excellent way of putting it. (I hope you don’t mind if I use that sometime:)

    • Evangeline Vandenberg

      Sure 🙂 Actually it was something the Holy Spirit woke me up with when teaching a worship seminar for at a Fire Conference in Argentina.

    • Brad Braland


      Your words are always well chosen! Worship comes out of relationship, relationship comes from spending time with someone, but there must be a beginning for both and that comes when we bow our knee to Him.

      Salvation Salvation Salvation…

      Thanks Dan for the words of wisdom!

  • Mark Oakes


    Love this… Glad I sparked your thinking off when I told you my experience of worship and evangelism going together hand-in-hand!

    Yes – the greatest act of worship is surely to lead another person to Christ…

    • Daniel Kolenda

      Perhaps you have infiltrated my subconscious mind Mark:-)

  • pia Bonefeld

    Hey Daniel… sorry my bad english ;)))) I think that TRUE WORSHIP is not that kind of Worship in Church!!! Singing, dancing and praising before the Lord….I truly believe it is in our hearts! In every cicumstance to give praise & LOVE back to our Father God! Because in those situations we TRULY NEED HIM…nothing else will do… Maybe its the wrong understanding ???I dont know!!!But this I know I AM A WORSHIPPER 🙂 GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY DANIEL…MUCH LOVE, Pia

  • Ijiwade James

    This is a true saying; most people worship without winning souls for God. They worship while millions are going deep down into hell.

    Thanks brother.

    • Deb

      Wow-excellent point! Let’s wake up the churches to be burdened for souls-which follows having a holy relationship with the Lord. Absolutely nothing less will do.

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