If nothing else, the church hopper culture in our society manifests that many people feel as though they are not satisfied with their worship experience. This is understandable at times. We are all humans and fluctuate within our own Christian walk. Unfortunately, most do not react in a proper fashion to the feeling of spiritual stagnancy. It is easy to simply just “jump ship” or be overly critical. Instead of going that direction, let’s consider a few biblical principles that individuals and congregations should pursue to better experience Christ in worship.
1. Be thankful for what you got. Don’t idolize the internet gurus while ignoring the man that God has placed at your assembly. Remember that the church has been sustained for many generations by what you may consider mediocre preaching. Video clips shared on social media give us the false impression that every sermon must be some spectacular climax of English prose. Bluntly, many of those clips come from a single snap shot of a sermon and many of the points from those clips come from a team of writers or that preacher’s secret illustration resources. Stop trying to make your experience about the man and his eloquence. It is about the gospel, not the man. (1 Corinthians 1:12-18)
2. Pray and pray some more. Power in the pulpit often depends on prayer in the pew. When Sunday night approaches, go ahead and begin to start praying for your pastor and the next Lord’s day worship services. We have not because we ask not (James 4:2). Even the apostle Paul recognized the importance of prayer in his ministry (Colossians 4:2-4).
3. Make the effort to have Sunday rest a priority. We pursue our secular careers with such diligence. We show up early to work and leave late so that we may progress within our profession. Why do we expect a blessed worship experience by showing up late and leaving early? What about if we only came when it was convenient? Would our employers be pleased with the same kind of effort (Malachi 1:8)? Make worship your priority. Make it as precious to your soul as air is to your lungs. Begin showing up early and leave last. Rushed worship rarely nourishes the heart.
4. Sing like you mean it. Paul remind us that singing is often the conduit through which God fills us with his Spirit (Ephesians 5:18-19). Make the effort to sincerely, and lively praise God through song.
5. Focus on the preached word. The gospel is the power of God (Romans 1:16). The truth of God’s word alone brings life and immortality to light (2 Timothy 2:10). So pay attention. Write notes if it helps. Sunday morning is not the time to turn your brain off. We cannot expect to see God while neglecting means through which he communicates to us the assurance of salvation.
6. Feed yourself. You would probably feel very weak if you only ate on Sunday. Simply stated, you should not expect your pastor and church to make up for your own lack of study (2 Timothy 2:15). A congregation that reads during the week will be much happier, and interested than one that ignores the word.
7. Repent. Sometimes repentance is in order (Revelation 3:19). Maybe this dry season isn’t because of lukewarm worship, but because of a lukewarm individual.
8. Come to give, not take. We often come with the mentality that we are the audience. In one sense that may be true, but ultimately, God is the audience. We should come to give worship. This is not to say that we shouldn’t come expecting a blessing. We most certainly should come with an anticipating attitude, expecting to see Christ. Yet, God is who we have come to worship (Ephesians 3:21). Leave narcissism at the door. Remember that worship is about God.
9. Come hungry. A hungry person generally enjoys food regardless of what is on their plate. Likewise, a Christian can even enjoy services during a mediocre Sunday if they come hungry (Matthew 5:6)
Finally, we shouldn’t expect spiritual intimacy without effort. God alone establishes and keeps our relationship with him. He is the author and finisher of salvation. But like all relationships, fellowship takes effort. Consider Sunday both the beginning and end to your week. Make it the priority that Jesus Christ, your savior, deserves.
“Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” Hebrews 4:11
Article originally posted at PBPerspective.com, February 2018