If the benediction were worded based on the looks on some worshipers faces in some of the congregations I have seen, we might end up with a closing liturgical statement like, “Ready – set – Go!” Final words in Sunday worship are often accompanied by the sounds of coat zippers, the bustling sound of gathering up Bibles, Sunday School papers, and children. Perhaps a richer understanding of the powerful meaning in Acts of Dismissal, underscored by singing appropriate hymns and worship songs, might renew our grasp of the fourth fold of worship in the fourfold pattern of Gathering, Word, Table (response), and Sending (dismissal).

Not only do the acts of dismissal bring closure to public worship, but they send us into the world to live out our worship in the moments of our days. As a member of a state missionary staff for the Southern Baptist denomination I know how central missions and evangelism are within our structure and emphasis. As do most evangelicals, we hold a conviction that sharing faith, exercising justice, and responding to human needs in the world are the responsibility of every Christian. Sadly, many more Christians know this responsibility in head than in heart. More of us would likely give verbal confirmation that we believe we need to share Jesus with the world in action and word than would engage a neighbor in a conversation about faith in Christ, or would serve a homeless shelter for a weekend. The struggle to match our Christian words with Christian deeds is an ongoing reality of our day.

Our dismissal into the world to live out our acts of faith might be strengthened and encouraged by allowing sufficient time in worship for a more focused time of sending. Consider that this time of prayer and singing can bring clarity of application to all that has occurred in the day’s worship.  For me the default reminders in this part of worship should include our hope for we live and serve in light of the returning King, our assurance of the omnipresence of our Lord Who is with us, and the urgency of the need that confronts us as the children of light.

The surrounding context of the Great Commission should remind us that worship fuels and empowers mission.  In fact the commission was given in an atmosphere of worship:

And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.  (Matt 28:17-20)

It would seem this portion of worship is a powerful time for the songs of mission, the songs of servanthood, songs of encouragement.  Here is opportunity for the church to be sent into the world with a song in her heart.

Some of the sending songs I have found useful are below.  What are some songs that you would choose for Sending?

Send the Light – Charles Gabriel

Shine, Jesus, Shine – Graham Kendrick

Across the Lands – Keith Getty & Stuart Townend

Shout to the North – Martin Smith

As We Go – Jeremy Johnson

Let It Be Said of Us – Steve Fry

Explore posts in the same categories: Choir Ministry, Church Music, Congregational Singing, Leading Worship, Music Ministry, Singing Worship, Spiritual formation through singing, Worship Leaders, Worship Pastors, Worship Reminders, Worship theology, Worship thoughts, Youth Worship

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