But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you. (1 Corinthians 14:24–25)
It happens pretty much every Sunday. You get up, get dressed, get in the car, and, before you know it, you’ve arrived at church.
Once at church, though, something is meant to happen. And for it to happen, you must understand why it is you’re there.
God’s desire for you, and for LifePoint as a whole, is that we would be fully present with the church to participate in gathered worship in order that transformation would take place among the church.
To be clear, our actions by themselves don’t transform people—God alone transforms. But one of the ways God brings about transformation is through His gathered people.
Our presence and participation in church can serve to make others more alert to the presence and power of God.
This is precisely what Paul told the church at Corinth. In their gatherings, they couldn’t seem to get things under control. People were running wild with the practice of certain spiritual gifts and it created chaos and confusion among the church. So when outsiders visited their gatherings, they were perplexed, wondering “Who is this Jesus guy? And why on earth is He making everyone so crazy?” Outsiders wanted nothing to do with this group of lunatics (1 Cor. 14:23). What the Corinthians did in their gatherings obscured the reality of God’s presence in their midst.
In our contemporary, hyper-religious culture, we too are in danger of obscuring His presence in our midst, but in a different way.
Our greatest struggle on Sunday morning is that we are tempted to walk into church as passive consumers rather than as hungry participants.
Our temptation, culturally speaking, is to show up and loiter at the back of the room, yawning our way through the service, checking our phones, staring off into space, never being fully present. In other words, we are unlikely to trend toward Corinthian-like chaos, but instead toward a lack of real engagement, the absence of meaningful participation.
When coming to church, each of us has a responsibility to put conscious effort into fighting against passivity and spectatorship.
Presence and participation will not happen by accident. Therefore as you prepare for gathered worship, give consideration to how you will engage:
- What expression will you wear on your face? What will your body language demonstrate? (Remember, 93% of all communication is non-verbal!)
- Will you be ready to sing, clap, and lift your hands?
- Where will you sit? Will you hide at the back of the room, or will you sit toward the front so you can demonstrate meaningful participation for others?
- Will you make an effort to reach out and meet someone new?
Giving earnest consideration to such things matters a great deal, because, as Paul said, our participation can be one way the Holy Spirit causes someone to cry out from a transformed heart, “God’s presence is really here!”
So this Sunday, don’t merely get up, get dressed, and drive to church. Instead, as you do those things, prepare yourself in such a way that your presence and participation can make a real impact on others. Come to church to make a difference in the lives of the people around you. God will transform you in the process.
PRAYER & REFLECTION
- Take some time to pray for our gatherings this weekend. Ask God to move in people’s hearts and lives as His praises are sung and His Word is proclaimed.
- Pray that LifePoint’s gathered worship would be compelling and alluring to all who experience it.
Set List for Sunday, August 18, 2019
- Welcome the Healer (B. Brown, S. Curran, J. Johnson, B. Younker)
- What A Beautiful Name (B. Fielding, B. Ligertwood)
- All Hail King Jesus (J. Riddle, P. Mattis, R. Jackson, S. Gretzinger)
- Another in the Fire (C. Davenport, J. Houston)
- Build My Life (P. Barrett, K. Kaple, K. Martin, M. Redman, B. Younker)