Many Evangelicals are struggling today to enhance worship on Sunday mornings. We think that effective worship is found in new and different instruments or more upbeat songs. Some believe that it is found only in the majestic well-worn hymns. I believe the primary culprit for lifeless worship is standing on the wrong foundation
Worship is really a natural expression of someone who is standing in the work of Christ. Worship is expressed when we are no longer consumed with our own work, weaknesses and emptiness- but with God and His goodness. It naturally flows when we know that anything good is a result of His action. Worship results when we are seeking Him for His work in our lives and we have no doubt who gets the credit when He acts. Standing firmly on the foundation of Christ we are overwhelmed by the grace that has come our way. (Interestingly enough this grace allows us to see more clearly the wretchedness of our own flesh. When we are secure in Him we can honestly look within.)
Sunday morning worship is a time to remind one another about this incredible giving, loving God of ours. It is a time to rejoice about the settled reconciliation we have with God through Christ. It is a time to be encouraged to turn from our striving and self-empowered ways and once again turn our eyes to our only Source of life. It is a time to tell Him of our gratefulness for His gift. Worship is to glory in His wisdom, in His power, in His control and in His love.
I appreciate a time during the Sunday morning service that our singing is directed personally to the Lord. Many Christian hymns and songs are reminders of important Christian doctrines, but are not written in a way that cause us to sing directly to God. This is not to minimize their use and importance, but I think some time should be dedicated for us to sing and to directly worship Him.
Ministry Outside the Church Walls
A continued desire of mine is to see the local church be more assertive about ministering to the community. Two books have stimulated this ministry desire. One is called the "Church Unleashed" written by Frank Tillapaugh and the other is "Liberating The Laity" by Paul Stevens. Churches tend to view ministry only within their own walls. They hope the community will come to them. Ministry is also viewed as primarily Christian teaching.
An example of this "outside" ministry might be to have a free once a week daycare for single parents to get a little time for themselves. This would meet a real need and provide opportunities for adult relationships to form between believers and unbelievers. Another example might be to have a handyman ministry. Basic home or auto repairs could be done for those who could not otherwise afford it. Relationships would be formed and ministry in spiritual ways may present itself.
It is important to note that these ministries would be created and formed by those whom God gives the desire to carry them out. The church, and especially the leaders, would help equip people to carry out these Spirit implanted ministries. We would need the freedom and courage to release people from traditional ministries when necessary.
It seems to me that the church spends an enormous amount of time in classroom training and rarely gets out to minister to unbelievers. While ministering with the Navigators there was a few phrases we often used- "More is caught than taught" and "Telling is not teaching and listening is not learning". There is nothing quite as effective as on-the-job training. Our fellowship with each other and the Lord changes dramatically when we are personally trying to minister to unbelievers. Our prayer requests change, our need to know the truth escalates and our joy in seeing the power of God changing lives deepens.
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