FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Questions often come up about worship, as should be expected. After all, the experience of being part of a community like La Sierra University is very unique. A place where study and worship are so intertwined as for both to be required. The experience can sometimes be stretching and sometimes troubling. Here are some questions we often answer:
1. Doesn't a worship requirement violate my freedom to choose, and render worship inauthentic?
We believe this question is based on two misconceptions. The first is that
choice equals freedom; the more choices, the more freedom. But the fact is, this idea has much more to do with consumerism than Biblical truth. We believe Biblical freedom is not freedom to do whatever you want, but to do what is right – and to want to do what is right. At La Sierra University we believe a communal worship time together is the right thing to do.
The second misconception is that choice is acting on the mood of a moment.
I am free only if I can do what I feel like doing right now. The truth is, the best choices, and the most freeing, are not about the mood of a moment, but the commitments of a lifetime (i.e. a college career). Marriage is that kind of choice because in marriage we promise to choose to behave in a certain way for a lifetime, regardless of moods and moments. God is this way. He makes promises and covenants to behave in certain ways for thousands of generations.
To come to La Sierra University, is to RSVP to an invitation to a banquet of sorts. The menu is nourishing, and will feed your soul. It is to choose over time, in multiple situations and moods, to engage your mind in vigorous disciplines of learning, to embrace a community and its standards, and to worship God with that community.
One is no more forced to worship at La Sierra University than one is "forced" to accept the invitation.
2. How can I worship God when I don't like the style of worship or the speaker?
We believe worship is not about us. It's about God. God is the audience in worship and those who get up front to speak or sing are the prompters for the rest of us. The question we should ask ourselves after every worship event is not, "Was I pleased with this worship?" But, "Was God pleased?”
3. My faith is strictly a private matter between God and me - nobody's business but my own. Doesn't the worship attendance requirement violate my personal integrity?
If you are a Christian: to be a Christian is to become a member of the Body of Christ. One can no more practice the faith apart from the Body of Christ than a hand can be a hand apart from the body. Jesus did not found a religion, but a church (Mt 16:18). Christian faith is personal, but never private. Faith is lived out in the community of God's people.
If you are not a Christian: we believe that when you enrolled at La Sierra University, you enrolled in more than just classes, you asked that we teach you everything that is important to us. Jesus and his teachings are at the heart of our mission. This University exists because we want to teach you about Him. Worshipping Him together is very important to us and something we want you to experience while here. While we respect your private convictions, we do ask that you respect our communal, institutional and academic values.
4. I like attending, but sometimes I have so much work to do that I have to do it during worship. What can I do?
Here are some suggestions:
- Use one of your Worship/Assembly misses to study. Besides, worship is a bad place to study anyway. We promise we will do a good job of competing for your attention!!
- Learn to manage your time in such a way that you won't have to study during worship. Obvious, we know, but we have to say it.
- Recognize the naked rudeness of doing school work in a gathering, the purpose of which is to give honor to God. At the very least, those who want to worship God are distracted.
- Consider accepting this challenge: Jesus said to seek first the Kingdom of God and our everyday human concerns will be met (Matthew 6:33). We feel very strongly about this. Try it, we guarantee it will work.