The following is an email I sent out through our church database, thought it might be helpful as my yearly blogpost.
Recently as I have been praying and talking with Ben about our worship time together there are a couple of things I would like you to consider. When we gather on Sunday it is a unique experience that we likely won’t have the rest of the week and, therefore, I believe worthy of preparation.
Here are a few suggestions to get the most our of our 70 minutes together on Sunday (please read these as a pastor seeking to love his church and not as one pointing a finger):
–Prioritize Attendance – We often preach through books or topical series that build on one another and regular attendance will help you grasp the truth and grow in your relationship with God. I know life is crazy, but let me challenge you to pray about the priority that worship attendance will play in your family.
-Plan Your Saturdays with Sunday in mind – This really applies to your Saturday nights. I think back on my life and wonder how many Sunday services I simply showed up and went through the motions instead of engaging because I lacked the energy to do so. Your ability to consider the words of the song rather than just sing them, or interact with the text apply it to your life rather than hope for a punchline are directly related to your sleep. I know Saturday nights might be the only time to catch up on your DVR or finish that Netflix season, but consider shutting it down a bit earlier so that you might be better prepared for Sunday morning.
-Begin worshiping before worshiping – This will look different for everyone, but maybe set your alarm five minutes earlier on Sunday morning and spend a few minutes before your feet touch the floor praying about worship. I know getting kids ready and dealing with conflict often makes our minds a battleground on Sunday morning, but do your best to worship before worship.
-Arrive Early – Coming in during the second song often means that you rushed to get in the door, rushed to get your kids checked in, and rushed to get into the worship area, allow margin on Sunday morning. Arriving early gives you a minute to sit in your chair and catch your breath, be encouraged by a conversation with a friend, or welcome someone who might be new.
– Participate in Worship – The band is not performing they are leading, consider following their lead. I know that people may not have sang in the church you grew up in or you believe the sound of your voice would drive others away, but participation in worship Jesus cannot be matched. You are singing to him and for him, consider the words and sing them out.
Another part of participation is the sermon, we believe that the Bible is living and powerful (Hebrews 4:12) and it is our prayer that through attentively engaging you can experience that.
– Take it With You – I try (sometimes more successfully than others) to challenge you to walk away with something when you leave, but you can take ownership in that process in various ways: 1.) commit to having a conversation with someone about it during the week 2.) commit to rereading the text for that week each day 3.) commit to memorize a specific text that challenged you. 4.) take notes and review them throughout the week.
It is my hope that this might be helpful to you as you and I seek to gain the most out of our Sunday morning time. When I plan my yearly calendar I am deeply burdened that we only have 52 Sunday together each year, lets do our best to make the most of them.
Hope to See you Sunday,