Earlier today, Mary Ann forwarded this to me. It’s from Shane Pruitt, a pastor, author and speaker who lives in Rockwall, Texas.
Want to change your worship experience at church?
Pray before you get there. Ask God to speak to you.
Listen to worship music on the way.
Take a Bible with you instead of relying on the screens.
Don’t run late.
Sing loudly, like you mean it.
Expect God to move.
I shared with you last week about Greg Atkinson, the man who has made a career out of being a “secret shopper” for churches. He helps church leaders understand how to make the Sunday morning experience more positive, especially for first time visitors. As I told you, his focus is often on how friendly and welcoming a church is with first timers.
Shane Pruitt’s list has a different focus. He’s talking to those of us who may find ourselves critiquing the Sunday service, wondering why we’re not “getting more out of it,” without ever stopping to ask ourselves if it’s the job of the church to stir our spiritual passions, or if we have a part to play in the experience of corporate worship.
Shane’s list is a good starting point for us as we think about how we can profit the most from our time together with God’s people. But I think it’s good for us to take a step back from the list for a minute and rethink what a church service is supposed to be in the first place.
For most of us, the closest parallel we have to a Sunday morning worship service is going to the theater, a concert or a movie. We show up, take our seats, watch, listen, maybe sing along, and then file out when the service is over. We have been spectators and not participants.
I try to be careful when I talk about some of the elements of our Sunday worship time. I call the room where we gather the worship center instead of calling it the auditorium. The people who are gathering are the congregation or the worshippers, not the audience. The place where our pulpit is placed is the platform, not the stage. The point is not to become picky about our language, but to acknowledge that the words we use matter. Being on a stage and speaking to an audience is different than being on a platforming and preaching God’s word to a congregation that has come to worship.
And in the end, that’s what you should be coming to do. While I hope you will grow in your understanding of God’s word at church, be moved deeply as we sing songs of praise together, be provoking one another to love and good deeds, and be encouraged and equipped to live out your faith, at the center of it all should be this – coming together as the people of God to corporately worship Father, Son and Spirit with heart, soul, mind and strength.
It’s not wrong to ask “what did you get out of the service this morning.” I hope we can all leave having received desperately needed grace from God. But beyond that, let’s be asking ourselves this question: Were we able as we gathered to find a way to join with our brothers and sisters in Christ to give God the praise and honor he so richly deserves?
Psalm 29 gives us a charge to come together as God’s people and join with the angels and the saints who have gone before us and do on earth what is being done continually in heaven:
Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness.
As you come to church this Sunday, come ready to life high the name of Jesus. Come ready to participate, not simply to attend.
And while you’re at it, why not plan to arrive 15 minutes ahead of time. I promise you, it will make the whole experience a better one for you and your family.
MEN’S BREAKFAST TIME | SAT, NOV 19
Okay guys, last call to sign up. This Saturday is our Men’s Breakfast. It’s time to buy the groceries. So click this link right now or use the QR code above and let us know you’re planning to be there.
FALL WOMEN’S RETREAT
|For those of you who weren’t able to be at the women’s retreat this past weekend, I can tell you on good authority that you missed an amazing time of rejoicing, singing, teaching, sharing, laughing, eating, sleeping (some😉), painting, and resting!|
Here’s a look at some of the fun.
Thanks to Jen Gurney and the many other women who helped make the retreat so special!
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC CHRISTMAS!
|This Sunday is your last opportunity to select a name (or names) from the Christmas tree in our church foyer and provide a new Bible along with some Christmas gifts for students at the Arbor Christian Academy in the Dominican Republic. |
|If you haven’t selected an ornament yet, pick one or more up on Sunday. We have about 25 left. And make sure you write a note on a Christmas card for the student or students you’ve selected.|
If you’ve already selected an ornament, make sure you provide us with the $40 per child to cover the cost of the gifts. You can write a check (put DR Christmas in the memo line) or you can click here to make your payment online.
The last day to turn in your Christmas cards for the students is a week from this Sunday. Make sure you bring them with you to church.
the four emotions of christmas
And have you come up yet with a list of neighbors, friends, family members or co-workers with whom you can share the gospel this Christmas? People you can be praying for right now? Don’t forget to pick up as many copies of the book The Four Emotions of Christmas as you need, along with a corresponding number of invitations to our Christmas Eve Carols and Candlelight service.
FIRST TUESDAY MEN’S GATHERING
Guys, let’s plan to huddle up on Tuesday night, December 6th for our men’s First Tuesday event. Former NFL quarterback Jeff Kemp will join us live and in person to talk about why it’s so vital for men like us to have a huddle.
FIRST FRIDAY GAME NIGHT – DEC 2
|I remember hearing a story about a family that had invited the pastor and his wife to dinner on Sunday after church. The mother had been working hard in the kitchen for a good 45 minutes before the meal was finally ready. When everyone gathered around the table and it came time to pray, the slightly frazzled mother thought it would be nice for her 10 year old son to say the prayer.|
He protested. “I don’t know what to say!”
She smiled and said “Sweetheart, just pray something you’ve heard mommy pray before.”
At which point the boy said “Okay.” They all bowed their heads to hear the young man say “O Lord, why did I have to invite the pastor and his wife to come to lunch today!”
We’ll continue our study of the great prayer Jesus prayed on the night before His crucifixion as we gather for worship this Sunday.
See you in church.
Soli Deo Gloria!