I want to address some misunderstandings that are represented in three terms we often hear in church circles.
First, there is a misconception concerning the word “worship.” Many believe the word “worship” to refer to singing that takes place in a church service. You may hear someone say, “I really enjoyed the worship today,” or they may say, “The worship was really upbeat today.” First, worship is not singing; praise is singing. Worship is the human response to the Gospel message demonstrated in the life we live surrendered to Christ’s authority. It is demonstrated daily in our words, thoughts and deeds. It is not something done in a church building once a week but is accomplished wherever we are, assuming we are surrendering our wills to that of Christ.
Secondly, some will use the word church to refer to the building in which we gather on Sundays to worship and offer praise. The church is not a building but the sum total of all believers past, present and future who have believed or will believe in the name of Jesus Christ. It is the living representation of Christ to a world that needs to experience His love. The church has been given the charge to make disciples of all nations (the great commission) and to love everyone (the great commandment). In doing this, we fulfill the mission and ministry of Christ.
Thirdly, some people want to draw a differentiation between the songs offered in the worship service. They are often broken down into two categories, hymns and contemporary Christian songs. Many believe hymns are old-fashioned songs sung from a special book in which those songs are collected; however, a hymn, as defined by Webster’s dictionary, is “a song of praise to God.” As people of faith gather all over the world in the name of Jesus, they sing songs (hymns) of praise in response to the miracle of forgiveness offered to mankind. Some of those hymns are traditional (having been written many years ago) while others are contemporary, having been written in recent years. The one thing they have in common is they offer praise to God, which by definition, makes them all hymns.
I hope this helps to clarify some of the terms we use today to describe various terminology heard in Christian circles today. I admit I still have to be diligent to ensure I don’t misspeak occasionally concerning these terms.