Dr. Israel Kristilere, host of Just Worship (JW) has described the yearly night of pure worship as an atmosphere of experiencing God’s presence through worship. Dr. Kristilere, also Senior Pastor of Shepherd Hill Baptist Church Obanikoro, Lagos shares with Christian Benefits the vision, mandate and impact of the yearly event that gathers not less than 5,000 worshippers in one night to reverence God.
Please, share with us the vision of Just Worship (JW) annual gathering?
The vision of the gathering of believers for pure worship was birthed in 2008. The inspiration came when I was in Malaysia for a ministerial training. The vision was so clear that I could not denial that God spoke to me to put together a 7-hour night service where Christians of all denominations will gather to just worship him. That informed the tag Just Worship (JW) to define the vision.When did the event start, and how will you describe its impact since then?
To the glory of God the first edition of Just Worship took place on November 23, 2012 and it was wonderful. We have had several other editions of Just Worship.
What are the main features of this annual event?
Each of the editions has a specific theme. Gospel artistes who are gifted in the area of each theme are invited by the leading of the Holy Spirit to lead God’s people in worship so that we can achieve the purpose of the night of worship. Its main focus is worship. It is not like the usual praising. The worshippers at Just Worship come with the heart of gratitude to God, and high expectations of divine visitation. And God has constantly proven himself strong among his people.
How do you select the gospel singers that feature at the event annually?
The gospel singers at Just Worship are selected based on divine leadership. It is not every gospel artist that can sing at Just worship. Gospel artistes at Just Worship are proven worshippers ((not entertainers) who can bring down the presence of God because the key of the night is experiencing God’s presence through just worship. I actually call it pure soaking in the Holy Spirit where God’s presence will come down and everyone will know we are under God’s power.
Share with some of the testimonies that take place yearly at the programme
The testimonies have been tremendous. In the atmosphere of Just Worship healing, miracles and wonders happen, and people testify. Even without praying people have been healed and delivered from yokes. Deliverance takes place. Practically you see demonic forces manifesting, people falling under anointing; under the power of the Holy Ghost even in the moment of worship. I don’t preach sermon at the event. We just worship God. If you want the best from God worship him. The title Just worship came from Message version of Psalm 34:9, “Worship God if you want the best. Worship opens door to all His goodness. I agree Prayer and fasting too open door, but worship opens door to all of God’s goodness. We encounter God through worship and miracles happen beyond measure.
What exactly is worship, and how is it different from praise?
In the context of Just Worship, worship is that aspect of communicating or linking up with God directly from your heart; allowing your spirit, soul and body reaching out to the heavens to draw on the power of God, transforming your life and making a whole lot of difference in your circumstances and situations. Sincerely speaking there may be little difference between praise and worship. But in this context these are songs that are carefully chosen in such a way that they draw us. They are not songs of gymnasium. They are not songs you are jumping around. They are songs you sing and you may be on the same spot concentrating on the Almighty. Your intellect, mind and spirit are connecting to the Almighty so that you can receive from him. That is the difference between Just worship and music concerts.
What is the significance of worship in a church and in the lives of believers?
We are actually created to worship God. Worship connects us to God. Worship is what we give back to God. Prayer is to receive from God. If you are a worshipper the best things come your way because God is delighted when we worship him in spirit and in truth as is spoken in the scripture. Worship changes us. You can’t encounter God and remain the same. So, worship is an encounter with God that cleanse us, makes us better and give us strength to do the will of God. So, worship is a game changer in the church and in the life of every genuine believer.
Some may argue that worship has lost its place in most churches today.
It is true that some churches have become more of entertainment assemblies just to make people feel fine but not connected with God. The focus of worship is God. Churches must go back to the heart of worship. It is time to return to the heart of worship, focusing on God and not n entertaining ourselves. When we make God the focus of our worship he will take us to the highest level beyond our imagination. So, it is high time churches refocus on God. When we focus on God in our worship he will be glad to come among us and exalt himself among us.