Psalm 22:3 (KJV)
But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.
Every preacher, worship leader, musician, and/or singer has felt it before: a church that has collectively checked out of a service. Those in platform ministry can exhaust themselves, raise their voices, sing until their vocal cords can’t take it anymore, and yet nothing works — every member of the congregation seems content to follows the pattern:
- Walks in 1-5 minutes before/after service starts.
- Claps their hands lethargically during worship.
- Refuses to alter their expression.
- Sits through the preaching with an invisible force field surrounding.
- Stands when the preacher says stand.
- Offers obligatory 3-minute prayer at altar call.
- Rushes to a local eatery.
The Word of God asks us to not “forsake the assembling of ourselves together,” but merely attending church is not the point. We are to worship together, to learn together, to pray together, and grow together. How can this be accomplished if, through their body language and actions, much of the membership shows itself to be bored with church itself?
As Pastor Dean has often stated: WE DO NOT TAKE CHURCH SERVICES OFF!
Attend service with this understanding: in all likelihood, someone is experiencing your church for the very first time. I know at POBC, we have first-time guests each Sunday morning. Are we letting them down? Do they walk in expecting an apostolic, power-packed environment, but leaving feeling underwhelmed?
If we believe God’s Word, and that He “inhabits the praises of His people,” then our WORSHIP and INVOLVEMENT during a church service is crucial to creating an atmosphere in which God’s presence can work at maximum effectiveness.
Is God dependent upon us to move? No.
Are the emotions and desires of man affected by his environment? Yes!
If it was your sibling, your parent, your friend, or your co-worker who was attending church as your guest for the first time, would you worship differently? Would you hope that everyone else worships, investing their whole heart into THAT particular service? Would you do everything within your power to create fertile ground for the seed of God’s Word and Spirit? Would you walk to the altar with purpose, or would you linger back, just hoping that the service comes to an end in time to beat the other churches to your favorite restaurant?
Each service is just that opportunity for someone. Each song is a chance for the church to lift up holy hands in adoration of God. Each sermon could be the Word that someone’s guest needs desperately to hear. And each altar call could be the defining moment where someone finds God and is filled with the baptism of the Holy Ghost.
I understand that worshipping God isn’t a scheme to trick anyone into following Him, and I know that even pop artists can send chills up your spine and bring tears to your eyes with a powerful song. But imagine we worship God with absolute sincerity, He inhabits our praises, His Spirit covers the room, and suddenly the atmosphere goes from “just another Sunday” to the Sunday that no one will ever forget. That’s what is at stake each and every week.
So my question is this:
DURING YOUR CHURCH’S LAST SERVICE, DID YOU WORSHIP LIKE SOMEONE’S SOUL DEPENDED ON IT?
Revelation 3:14-16 (ESV)
And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”