By Tim Branson
The 700 Club
CBN.com -Contemporary churches go to great lengths these days to create a meaningful worship experience. Reporter Tim Branson recently spoke with Senior Pastor Dale Walker of Heart For the World Church in Las Cruces, New Mexico, who believes it can be much more.
Tim Branson:This setting is like many modern-day churches. We’ve got drums, keyboards, the lights, we’re on the stage… all those things that the modern church does to create that worship experience. What are they looking for?
Dale Walker:Well, people are hungry for the presence of God. I mean, it’s something that they can’t get from entertainment or the world, anywhere else.
Tim: But you would say that they’re missing part of the equation.
Dale: Right. I just think that God has always meant for worship to be the complete experience, what I call is this worshipful compassion, Which is loving people as an act of worship, not just going into God’s presence in a worship service, but then taking God’s presence, the hands and feet of Jesus to others, and letting them experience the supernatural touch of God through us.
In his book, Kissing the Face of God, Worship That Changes the World, Dale says that many Christians don’t understand that worship and compassion go hand in hand.
Dale: Worship without compassion can become empty ritualism. On the other hand, compassion without worship can become burnout. And so the idea is one without the other loses its life giving essence.
Dale admits that in his early days as a pastor he didn’t get the connection either. Then he went to the Phillipines, where he met a two year old fatherless girl who lived in a cemetery.
Dale: I picked her up and I hugged her, I said, “Oh baby, you’re beautiful”. I started to try to put her down and she just like dug her nails into my neck, you know? And just had that sense of what -- God saying to me: ‘What would you do if one of your daughters lived their whole life in a cemetery and that’s the only life she knew and was hungry?” And I remember just saying, “I would do anything.” And that’s when the Lord said, “That’s exactly how I feel. And you came here for that purpose because one little girl needed to feel the Father’s love”.
Dale’s church soon opened a feeding center near the cemetery. But that was just the start of what is now called “Heart For the World Minsitries.” Like many churches and organizations, they help thousands in their community and abroad through relief efforts and aid. But Dale says that’s not always enough.
Tim: We often think in the church of helping the poor as meeting their physical needs, which obviously those needs are real, but you say we need to go a step further.
Dale: You know, I think that the idea of being friends with the poor is far more important, because what we find is that they have more to give to us than we have to give to them. And so it’s that sharing of life and especially to worship with them in these places to see their joy, to feel the overflow of them.
Tim: What can happen personally, and in the church as a whole when we embrace this idea of worship and compassion?
: I really believe it creates a revolution in hearts. It brings a reality to the church like, if we can involve our church in these activities, it creates a whole nother kind of community I really believe it’s transforming, and it changes us. It gives us a tenderness and gives us something bigger to live for.
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